Pine Bluff Mayor Debe Hollingsworth was the featured speaker among a slate that also included the Speaker of the Arkansas House and two gubernatorial contenders for the annual Jefferson County Republican Committee Lincoln-Reagan Dinner at the Pine Bluff Country Club Thursday night.
The GOP $100 per person reception/dinner attracted several hundred people to the PBCC ballroom.
“I am Pine Bluff proud,” Hollingsworth said. “I am so excited for our city. To say we’ve come a long way baby, we really have. We have a new Pine Bluff School Board and a new chancellor at UAPB. I’ll debate anybody in the state that we’ve got the best city right here. Abraham Lincoln said that a house divided against itself cannot stand. Our city has been divided but the people of Pine Bluff have said we are coming together. Pine Bluff will be known as an inclusive, unified and healthy city. We want to be known as a healthy, first-class community.”
Hollingsworth said that she is focused on being open to the community and will push to make sure that the city gets behind programs that provide recreational and educational opportunities for young people in Pine Bluff.
“As elected officials we must reflect on the purpose that brought us to where we are and the drive that we have to achieve goals,” Hollingsworth said. “When we are focused on individualism we become weak but when we focus on togetherness we grown stronger as a community. As Ronald Reagan once stated there are no easy answers but there are simple ones.”
Arkansas Republican Party Chairman Doyle Webb reflected upon recent GOP gains in the state.
“We now have four Republican Congressmen and 25 percent of all elected positions in the state are held by Republicans which is a doubling since 2008,” Webb said. “In 2014 we will elected a Republican governor and a Republican in each of the state’s constitutional offices.”
Speaker of the Arkansas House of Representatives Davy Carter, a Republican from Cabot, also talked of GOP accomplishments in the State House.
“We’ve got a 51 member majority in the Arkansas House,” Carter said. “This is the best group of legislators I have seen at the state capitol in my tenure. We’re at a crossroads in our state in that we can either continue funneling money into our current system or we can create a new system that creates growth in the state.”
Carter said that the House majority is working on a tax relief plan for Arkansans that will total more than $100 million.
GOP candidate for Arkansas governor Curtis Coleman burnished his conservative credentials.
“I got a Tweet tonight that said surely you know that the heartbeat law is unconstitutional and my response was surely I know it’s not,” Coleman said in reference to the 12-week abortion ban law vetoed by Governor Mike Beebe but overridden by the state House and Senate. “Arkansas is now in the front of the line, the head of the class when it comes to protecting unborn life.”
Former U.S. Representative and current candidate for governor Asa Hutchinson said that he and his wife were looking forward to touring the state as part of the campaign.
Texarkana native and current North Little Rock attorney David Sterling said that his desire to be attorney general is fueled by an interest in defending Arkansas against the excesses of an encroaching federal government.