A “dirty trick” is how 2014 Arkansas gubernatorial candidate Mike Ross referenced recent comments suggesting his vote helped pave the way for the Affordable Care Act to come into place.
Sitting down with 5NEWS Managing Editor Larry Henry Sunday, Ross said, “Asa Hutchinson is out there, lying about me, lying about my record, telling folks that I’m responsible for Obamacare because of some kind of committee vote.”
Ross said the recent attacks on his campaign linking him to Obamacare are actually in reference to a vote that occurred eight months before the Affordable Care act became law.
Then a congressional representative, Ross said he held 84 town hall meetings before announcing in September 2009 that he would not be voting to support the bill. To defend this point, he challenged Arkansas voters to Google search the HR3590 roll call to see he was one of few Democrats to vote "no."
Ross said he was also one of three Democrats to vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
However, Ross did support the private option for Medicaid expansion in Arkansas, recently signed into law by Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe. The expansion allows federal funds to be used for 250,000 low-income Arkansans to buy into health-care programs created under a provision of the Affordable Care Act. The option was an alternative to expanding Medicaid enrollment.
Speaking to 5NEWS, Ross called the bill a “bipartisan” agreement reached by Beebe and a GOP-controlled state Legislature. He went on to say it’s an issue he and Republican candidate Asa Hutchinson differ greatly on, and said if he were governor at the time he would’ve pushed for the bill and ultimately signed it into law.
Ross also addressed the recent abortion bans passed in Arkansas saying he supports Beebe’s decision to veto the bills, adding while he is personally opposed to abortion, the issue with those bills is constitutionality.
Perhaps one of the biggest social issues expected if Hutchinson wins the GOP Gubernatorial nomination will be school safety. Hutchinson serves as director for the National Rifle Association School Shield Program which called for schools to appoint at least one armed guard in every school campus in the nation.
Ross discussed the issue of arming school staff saying, “Teachers go to school to learn how to teach – in the same way that state troopers go to law enforcement training academies to learn how to be law enforcement officers. I don’t think it would be fair to ask a state trooper to come in and teach a science lab, and I don’t think it’s fair to ask teachers to have a distraction from the classroom in terms of having a gun and providing security.”
Potential GOP gubernatorial candidate Asa Hutchinson issued similar comments about whether teachers should be armed back in August.
Ross’s interview with 5NEWS wrapped up with a discussion of medicinal marijuana use in Arkansas. Ross said if a proposed ballot measure is approved he would want to ensure it is safeguarded to ensure no one abuses the drug. If medicinal marijuana makes it to the 2014 ballot Ross said he will read the wording before making a decision.
Ross finished by saying there are huge differences between him and Hutchinson. “I’m a conservative, pro-business democrat that values public education, that believes we do not need to tear down everything Governor Beebe has spent eight years building up.”
Ross said he is proud to have Beebe’s endorsement and would like to build on the foundation he’s laid on the areas of education and job creation if elected.
The 2014 Arkansas gubernatorial election will be held Nov. 4, 2014. Ross is running unopposed after Bill Halter and Dustin McDaniel dropped out of the race.
Republicans Curtis Coleman, Debra Hobbs and Asa Hutchinson are currently seeking the GOP nomination for the 2014 race.