Sen. Lincoln Visits with Constituents in Region 8

July 2, 2004 -- Posted 2:00 p.m. CDT

Jonesboro, AR -- U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln is back in the Natural State for the Independence weekend.

On Friday, the senior Senator from Arkansas spent the afternoon with the Craighead County Farm Bureau, which is a key voting block.

Lincoln calls herself an advocate for rural America, having grown up on a farm herself. During her first term in office, Lincoln worked to establish the Delta Regional Authority, which helps bring economic development to the Delta region. And she also serves on the Senate Agriculture Committee, among many others.

So just how much does Lincoln's re-election campaign rely on the farm vote?

"We are a grass-roots organization," said Farm Bureau V.P. Randy Veach. "We start with our policy development on the county levels so we feel like we really represent rural Arkansas."

"This is a good group," said Senator Lincoln. "I enjoy working with them, they understand me, and I understand their issues."

"When we were trying to get a new farm bill passed, she worked hard to try and get that farm bill passed, and it was one of the best farm bills and farm legislation that we have had in a long time," said Veach.

In the Democratic Primary, Lincoln swept the state with 83% of the vote. Likewise, she won Northeast Arkansas, a predominately rural area.

"I think my record speaks for itself, I've worked very hard both on the issues economically that are important to them like agricultural issues, and also the historical issues that are very important to farm families and those are family issues," said Lincoln.

Lincoln faces 2 challengers in November, write in candidate Gene Mason, and State Senator Jim Holt, a Republican from Northwest Arkansas who lives on a farm. Holt also did well in Northeast Arkansas, and says he's going to have the best interest of farmers at heart.

Farmers say a candidate's political party doesn't mean a thing.

"We basically vote the best person for the job overall," said Region 8 Farmer Joe Christian.