The race for the state Senate District 27 seat pits Democratic candidate Bobby Pierce against Republican candidate Henry Frisby in the Nov. 6 general election.
District 27 encompasses southern sections of Jefferson County, eastern Grant County, western Cleveland County, northeastern Ouachita County and all of Calhoun and Union counties.
Bobby Pierce of Sheridan has served in the Arkansas House since 2007 and wants to continue representing the interests of his fellow Arkansans in the Arkansas Senate.
“I will represent the district from one end to the other,” Pierce said. “I’ve got experience and have been in the state legislature going on six years. I served as Speaker Pro Tem during the last legislative session. I have been a small businessman for 33 years and own a utility contracting business and a hardware store.”
Pierce believes that the best way to energize the state’s economy is to encourage the creation of small businesses.
“We’ve got to find more jobs and get people back to work,” Pierce said. “We need to look at businesses that employ two, three or four people. We’re not going to get companies that employ multi-thousands of employees. We need to adjust our expectations and make sure that businesses already here are welcomed.”
Pierce said that Frisby is campaigning for state political office using arguments more fitting for a national-level position.
“He says we are in debt but the state of Arkansas is not in debt,” Pierce said. “The state budget is doing well. Local auto sales have been fantastic. My opponent can’t decide if he is for raising revenue by taxation or against it. He signed the no tax pledge but I’m not going to give away my vote to a bunch of out of state people.”
Pierce said that in the time that he has been in the Arkansas Legislature, a total of $784 million in tax cuts have been made.
“As Pro Tem you have to work across both aisles to get things passed,” Pierce said. “You’ve got to be able to work with people.”
Pierce is a strong advocate for vocational-technical programs in Arkansas.
“I want to continue to work for the technical training of young people and for education in general,” Pierce said. “I worked with two year colleges to get them the money that they need, including an increase in lottery scholarships for two year students from $2,500 up to $4,500, which is what four year college students receive. People don’t like to hear it but not everybody is college material. We are going to graduate all of these people but where are they going to work? We need to train those kids to be able to have the skills they need to get hired.”
Pierce said that he was instrumental in finding a way to get state employees of the Forestry Commission returned to work paid after an incident of misappropriation of funds that occurred late last year resulted in the layoffs of 15 firefighters.
Pierce and House Speaker Robert Moore approached Gov. Mike Beebe about redirecting $550,00 from the Arkansas Agriculture Commission to the Forestry Commission to make up for a budget shortfall there. The governor agreed to redirect the funds.
Henry Frisby is a businessman from El Dorado who wants to be the District 27 state senator to push back against what he says are efforts by Democrats in the state to implement the Obama agenda.
“I don’t support the Obama agenda and members of the Democrat party in Arkansas do and they want to further it in the state,” Frisby said. “I signed the no tax pledge and people can say that Henry Frisby is paid for by out of state interests, but 97 percent of the people in Arkansas are against new taxes.”
Frisby said that it is not so much the idea of taxing that bothers him but instead the way in which taxes are enacted for a vague purpose and with no set time limit on the existence of the tax.
“The thing about taxes is that they make the world go around but there are taxes on the books in Arkansas that we need to look at,” Frisby said. “If a tax is going to be created, I don’t want to be the one legislating it. A half cent tax is on the ballot this year and will be voted on by the people. This means that it is not me and the other legislators that are legislating a tax.”
Frisby said that if a new tax is enacted then the state needs to look at other taxes that can be lowered.
“Look at whether a tax is going to be there forever,” Frisby said. “We need taxes that are for a clear purpose and that have a sunset clause built in that will tell people when the tax will expire.”
“I grew up in south Arkansas and I understand the concerns of our area,” Frisby said. “I own two small businesses and I know all aspects of a lot of businesses in south Arkansas. My family has been in forestry since before I was born.”
Frisby pointed to his ‘AQ’ rating from the National Rifle Organization compared to the ‘C’ rating given to Pierce.
“I don’t see how a politician from here in Arkansas can get a ‘C’ when it comes to gun rights,” Frisby said.
The NRA awards letter grades to legislators at the state and national levels based upon their voting record on issues important to the gun rights organization.
Frisby, who has no legislative record, was awarded an ‘A’ for his answers to a questionnaire mailed to him by the NRA.
“I also filled out the Family Council survey that shows voters I’m conservative,” Frisby said.
Frisby weighed in on the Patient Affordable Care Act popularly known as Obamacare.
“I don’t believe in more government spending,” Frisby said. “I don’t believe in expanding Obamacare into Arkansas at this time. There are so many questions about how it will be paid for. I would like for everybody to have health care and there are aspects to Obamacare that are good such as allowing parents to leave their kids on the family insurance plan until age 26. I think when Governor Romney is elected president next week he is going to repeal Obamacare and that he will take the good things from it and make it part of his plan.”
Frisby believes that the production of photo identification by those wishing to cast their ballot should be a legal requirement.