Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Letter by Arkansas RPA Chair On HB 1855; HB 2017

Dole Webb, Chairman, Republican Party of Arkansas: Dear Republican Representatives: As your Chairman I have not before today asked you to vote a certain way on a bill, but there is an issue that will directly affect the future of the Republican Party in Arkansas pending in the Arkansas House.

Two bills have been filed by our fellow Republicans to make elected positions nonpartisan. These bills are HB1855 concerning Prosecuting Attorneys and HB2017 concerning Sheriffs.

Whether we like to admit it or not we all have partisan positions on issues that involve the establishment, implementation or even the enforcement of public policy. To think that simply making these positions nonpartisan will remove hidden partisan held beliefs is inconceivable. Under present law a candidate can choose to run as a Democrat, Republican or Independent. They may associate with a particular party or not. Their district in the case of Prosecuting Attorneys or their county in the case of Sheriffs can elect a candidate associated with a party or not. Those choices should be left to the people and not mandated by the State.

Party affiliation says a lot about a candidate and their beliefs. It is an important indicator of who a particular candidate is and what they believe and hold dear. It is an indicator to the voter who has limited time or the ability to know everything about a candidate.

Someone said that the Party opposes these changes because it will lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in filing fees. Nothing could be further from the truth. This issue is about good government, an informed voting public and the right of association by candidate!

We have received many phone calls and emails concerning this issue. I would ask that you vote no on both HB1855 and HB2017.

If you would like to discuss this issue further, I would be glad to do so.

My Best, Doyle Webb
Sponsor HB2017: Representative Nate Bell (R Dist 20 - Mena); no-co-sponsors identified. Sponsors HB1855: Representative Matthew J. Shepherd (R Dist 6 - El Dorado) and Senator Missy Irvin (R - Dist 18) and Co-sponsor: Representative Nate Steel (D Dist 19 - Nashville).

Tags: Proposed bills, non-partisan elections, HB 1855, Prosecuting Attorneys, HB 2017, Sheriffs, letter to representatives, Dole Webb

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