JONESBORO, AR (KAIT)-November is just around the corner and candidates are hitting the road to get their message out to voters.
Republican candidate for the Attorney General's office, David Sterling, stopped by our station of Thursday to tell us what he stands for.
Why did you decide to run for the Attorney General's office?
"Well, I decided that Arkansas really needs an attorney General that's really going to stand up to the federal government and push back against the federal government who, I believe, is slowly creeping in on state authority and individual liberty. You know, we're at a historic moment in our nation's history where we had 28 states who were willing to stand up to the federal government and sue the administration over the Affordable Healthcare Act. And, our state decided not to do that and to stand on the sidelines and that pretty much infuriated me because I felt like if we had joined in that fight maybe the outcome of the litigation at the supreme court level could have come out different. And I think there's lots of examples of the federal government overreaching. Whether it's through the EPA in Virginia. You have an EPA that was sued earlier this year over it's want to regulate rainwater there. And the state of Virginia actually won a lawsuit against that. The federal judge there this year decided that the federal government did overreach in that instance and I just think that there are lots of instances where our federal government is trampling state authority and individual liberty enshrined in the tenth amendment of our constitution. And I think we need an attorney general in the state of Arkansas that is willing to push back on that.
Why are you the man for the job?
"Well, I think I bring a wealth of experience to the job. I've been practicing law for over 14 years. I've got an "AV Martindale-Hubbell Rating" from my peers and judges who have rated me the highest amongst as far as my legal ability and for my ethical standards. I've got a wealth of experience there. I've been concentrating on issues like what I'm talking about right now for all my life. I'm very pro life. I believe life begins at conception. I'm very pro second amendment. I believe the second amendment is not ambiguous. It says the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. And I think that you see often the federal government seize every opportunity to try and enact new gun laws that will restrict the right of law biding citizens to keep and bear arms. And I think we need someone in the state of Arkansas that is willing to stand up to the federal government and push back and say there is not ambiguity in the second amendment."
If you could get one message across to voters about yourself, what would your message be?
"That I'm very conservative and I think the state of Arkansas is very conservative. You know, in this state we just now elected our first Republican legislature in the House and the Senate for the first time in 138 years. And I think it's time now that we have that majority of Republicans. That we're finally starting to see really conservative laws that are emerging from the state legislature. I think it's important that we have someone in the Attorney General's office who is going to defend those laws and do it very passionately. Not just out of an obligation, but really from their heart can get behind these laws that are finally making it out of committee. Making it onto the floor of the House and Senate. Getting enacted into law. And now we just need an aggressive conservative in the AG's office to defend these laws."
If elected into office, what is the issue or problem you first intend to tackle?
"The key point I would like to make as an Attorney General is I'm willing to stand up with all the other Attorney General's from around the country and are finally starting to reclaim some of that state authority and individual liberty that is enshrined in the tenth amendment. I think that it's very critical. Like I said earlier, that was a historic moment when you had 28 states stand up to the federal government and say the tenth amendment actually means something and that's what I'd like to do as Attorney General is to really give the tenth amendment of the constitution some real meaning by pushing back and representing citizens of this state and of this country that are protected by the second amendment. That are protected by unlawful search and seizures under the fourth amendment. I really do believe the constitution needs to be defended. And I think the Attorney General's office is the best defense. It's the last line of defense when it comes to protecting the constitution and the individual liberties of all Arkansans."
Is there anything I haven't asked you that you would like to add?
"I think the voters of Arkansas deserve a choice, deserve a conservative choice when it comes to who they're going to elect to be their next Attorney General. It's an open seat this time. Our current Attorney General is term limited. So, we're going to have an open seat here. A fresh face in the AG's office and I'm going to present to the voters a choice for a conservative republican. I'm running on the republican ticket, but I'm not just a republican. I'm a very conservative republican who believes in strong conservative principals. Like I said, I'm very pro life. I believe life begins at conception. I'm very proud of our legislation this past session. They passed a 20 week fetal pain bill that protects unborn babies that are 20 weeks old and still in their mothers womb. And I believe there is a vital state interest there to protect those children. Medical evidence shows they can experience pain at 20 weeks. We've also got a 12 week fetal heartbeat bill. It says basically that medical research shows that you can detect a babies heartbeat at 12 weeks of gestation. And I think that if a babies heart is beating that again there is a vital state interest there that needs to be protected there and protecting that child from having it's life terminated.
One of the things I noticed that was interesting in one of the statements you've given to the press, so far, is the Stand Your Ground law. Talk to me about that.
"I believe that Arkansas needs a Stand Your Ground law. Arkansas is the only southern state that does not have a Stand Your Ground law. There's 25 other states that already have these in place. And what it does is Stand Your Ground law basically puts the burden to retreat from a confrontation on the criminal who is perpetrating the crime. Presently under Arkansas law, if a law biding citizen is confronted by someone who is threatening them with bodily harm or deadly force. If there is a way to retreat safely, they have a duty to retreat and it puts the burden of retreat on the law biding citizen and not on the criminal. And I think the other 25 states that have these laws have it right."
"The other thing I'd like to talk to you about a little bit is the option that I give voters is someone who is very staunch, second amendment advocate. We saw recently, the Clarksville School District is trying to help protect the safety of our children in the public schools. And they put together a program where they were voluntarily allowing teachers and administrators to arm themselves and the school was paying for the training for these teachers and administrators. Intensive training. It wasn't just like a couple of hours or anything. It was very intensive training to help identify and put down a threat quickly in our schools should anything happen like in Newtown, Connecticut or here in Jonesboro a few years ago should occur. And I think the teachers there, if they're properly trained and equipped that they will be able to put down that threat a whole lot quicker than someone calling 911 or waiting 5, 10 or 20 minutes for police to arrive. I think that's all the superintendent was trying to do and I think teachers, administrators and school districts should have that option."
Sterling face Republican opposition from Leslie Rutledge and Democrat Nate Steel.
For more information about David Sterling and where he stands on other issues, log onto this website.