Arkansas congressman targets challenger’s legislative record
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A central Arkansas congressman who Democrats believe they have a chance to unseat this fall criticized his challenger’s legislative record on Monday, accusing him of not taking a stance on several controversial bills in the state House.
Republican U.S. Rep. French Hill targeted Clarke Tucker, a Democratic state representative, after appearing at a news conference with several of Tucker’s colleagues who cited legislation where the state legislator didn’t vote or voted “present.” Hill represents the 2nd District, which covers Little Rock and seven central Arkansas counties.
“I don’t know any constituent that asks me to do my homework, work hard, learn the issues, get to understand the complexity of federal policy and then turn around and vote present,” Hill told reporters. “In my view, there seems to be a pattern on tough topics where no decision is taken and Mr. Tucker votes present, which obviously is a ‘no’ vote.”
The votes cited by the GOP lawmakers included several abortion restrictions, including a 2015 law that required facilities administering the abortion pills must hold a contract with a physician with admitting privileges at a hospital who agrees to handle any complications. That law has been blocked by a federal judge. Another measure mentioned allows concealed handgun licensees to keep their guns in their car in their employer’s parking lot. Tucker voted present on that bill, which was signed into law last year.
Tucker called Hill’s criticism silly, saying he’s cast thousands of votes since joining the Legislature in 2015 and that voting present is a normal practice in the Legislature.
“If we were to spend the next 10 weeks talking only about my record in the Legislature, I know we’ll win this race,” Tucker said. “I just have a record of standing up for hardworking Arkansas families, whether that’s protecting health care, getting more of our young kids a quality education or cutting taxes for middle income earners and veterans.”
Tucker also renewed his call for Hill to participate in at least three debates. The two are scheduled to appear in a debate on October 8 on the Arkansas Educational Television Network, but Hill has not agreed to any others.
Republicans have held the 2nd District seat since 2011. Hill was first elected to the seat in 2014. Arkansas is solidly Republican, with the GOP holding all four U.S. House districts and both its seats in the U.S. Senate. Democrats have said they believe Hill is vulnerable because of his opposition to the federal health overhaul, which has expanded coverage to thousands in the state.
This story has been corrected to show that the television network is the Arkansas Educational Television Network, not the Arkansas Education Television Network.
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