Pryor, Cotton take different stances on Syria - how will it affe - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

Pryor, Cotton take different stances on Syria - how will it affect election?

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JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – Polls show that most Americans oppose the U.S. taking any military action against the Syrian government for its suspected use of chemical weapons.

The issue has not only split the public but lawmakers as well, including the two men vying for the U.S. Senate seat in Arkansas next year.

Sen. Mark Pryor, the Democratic incumbent, broke away this past weekend from both the White House and his Republican challenger, Rep. Tom Cotton.

On Saturday Pryor released the following statement: "I have said, before any military action in Syria is taken, the Administration must prove a compelling national security interest, clearly define a mission that has a definitive end-state, and then build a true coalition of allies that would actively participate in any action we take. Based on the information presented to me and the evidence I have gathered, I do not believe these criteria have been met, and I cannot support military action against Syria at this time."

Pryor's stance seems to fall in line with the majority of Americans right now. A CNN/ORC International poll released Monday shows that 59 percent of people do not want Congress to pass a resolution authorizing a military strike against the Bashar al-Assad regime.

Region 8 News asked a handful of voters to share their thoughts on the proposed plan to strike Syria as well as how the U.S. Senate candidates' different stances on the issue would affect the 2014 election.

Just about everyone polled said the same thing – the U.S. should stay out of Syria. When asked if the issue would affect which candidate they'd support for Senate, the response was more mixed.

"I really believe the U.S. needs to stay out of it – let them fight their own battles," Rebecca Hicks of Jonesboro said. "We have a lot going on here in the U.S. that really needs to be attended to, so I think the less we involve ourselves overseas, the better."

Hicks opposes any intervention in Syria and plans to cast her vote next year for Sen. Pryor for that very reason.

"I will vote for the one that's against [the strike] because that's the way I feel," she said. "I just feel like we've put enough money out on other countries, so I think we really need to keep it here in the U.S."

Doris Wade, a lifelong Jonesboro resident, is unsure whom she'll support for Senate, but says right now she cannot get behind any lawmaker pushing for military action.

"Let's stay home and take care of our own people," Wade said. "Let's stay out of this. I think we're helping enough people as it is, so let's put our support back into the United States and let that be it."

Elvis Poe, who served as an infantry soldier in Vietnam, says  in 2014 he may vote for Congressman Cotton, who has criticized the Obama administration but still supports an air strike.

"Put simply, our core national-security interests are at stake," Rep. Cotton recently wrote in a statement on his Web site. "I've held these views for years and I've long called for action in Syria. Regrettably, President Obama's indecision and dithering has caused the situation there to deteriorate. Moreover, I share concerns that the president won't execute a strategically sound military campaign. Nevertheless, I believe that U.S. inaction would still be a worse outcome for our national-security interests."

Poe says that if the U.S. does decide to intervene in Syria, he hopes it will only be an air strike.

"I think something needs to be done, definitely," he said. "If they can get the backing from other countries, the air strikes only – yeah, I could go along with that, but I would not want to see a foot put on the soil."

Johnny Milum, a Coast Guard veteran, is undecided not only about how he'll vote for Senate but also how he feels about U.S. military action in Syria.

"The images I've seen of gas attack victims and stuff, something needs [to be] done," Milum said. "You just need to make sure the right thing and the right people are being held responsible for it."

It's unclear how public opinion will change or how it will affect any lawmaker's decision on Syria.

The Senate was expected to take up the resolution again Monday after a month-long recess.

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