Arkansas governor visits Jonesboro, discusses tariffs, campaign ads

Arkansas governor visits Jonesboro

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) -Gov. Asa Hutchinson was in Jonesboro Friday, speaking to the NEA Political Animals Club at the Jonesboro Regional Chamber of Commerce.

He addressed the concerns of voters about the future of Arkansas' economy during the talk.

One of the concerns he addressed was on the current trade wars, and how tariffs can impact Arkansas farmers.

“The President needs to call an end to this trade war and skirmishing that’s hurting our farmers, but also our consumers in Arkansas,” Hutchinson said. “He needs to declare victory and move on.”

Hutchinson said he’s been talking to Vice President Mike Pence about getting President Donald Trump to change his views on the issue.

However, Hutchinson said the administration did give a temporary tariff relief package to farmers, but he’s hoping that something long term can be implemented.

Hutchinson’s Democratic opponent, Jared Henderson, said farmers have taken a hit on the soybean issue and that weather and tariffs have hurt.

“Over the past few months, soybean prices have plummeted and the cost of a bushel hit record lows. Initially, the tariffs alone were expected to be a $339 million hit to our state’s economy. On top of that, abnormal weather has caused even greater troubles for our farmers. Both have been incredibly damaging to the livelihood of farmers in our state,” Henderson said.

Henderson also said agriculture plays a huge role in the state’s economy.

“I think first and foremost, we need a governor who is firmly speaking out against trade policies that could damage agriculture in Arkansas, no matter party lines or whether it’s politically convenient. Our farmers not only provide for our state, but they provide for communities across the world. When they are caught in the mix of national politics, this is damaging to their families and their livelihoods,” Henderson said.

Hutchinson also addressed the controversial ad by the Black Americans for the President’s Agenda PAC in support of Arkansas Congressman French Hill.

“The Republican Party, under my direction, has filed a complaint against it, asked for its being taken down,” Hutchinson said. “It has no place in American dialogue and I’m very disappointed in it."

The complaint was filed Friday. It alleges that the PAC hasn’t registered to campaign in Arkansas, and the ads are being run illegally.

Officials with Black Americans for the President’s Agenda say they will not pull the ads despite this and the condemnation of Rep. Hill.

Henderson also condemned the ad, saying he believes the ad is an example of what is wrong with the system.

“These radio commercials in support of French Hill are politics at its worst. They are racist, false and should be called on to be removed immediately. They minimize public confidence in the ability to hear from candidates and seek out different viewpoints,” Henderson said in a statement to Region 8 News. “Our leaders have got to stand up to these dark money advertisements pouring into our elections that we are seeing more and more. Our voters should know they’re making decisions based on Arkansas values, not the opinions of out-of-state organizations.”

Henderson also said the ad places a negative light on the state of Arkansas.

“This ad is explicitly racist and degrading towards women. That should never be tolerated in Arkansas politics, no matter which side of the aisle you’re on. Our state is better than that,” Henderson said.

Hutchinson will face Henderson and Libertarian candidate Mark West next month.

Election Day is Nov. 6, with early voting starting Oct. 22.

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