Seven candidates talk on District 21 race

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The seven candidates vying for the District 21 Senate seat spoke at a candidate forum Friday afternoon put on by the NEA Political Animals.

The seat was left vacant by Democratic Senator Paul Bookout.

Bookout resigned after a state Ethics Commission found he spent thousands of dollars in campaign funds for personal use.

Early voting is already underway for the state senate seat. If you have not made a decision on who you want to represent you, here are the seven candidates' messages to the public:

"Governor Beebe has made education the foundation for his economic development platform and I believe I can work best with the governor to make transitions from improvements in the classroom to higher wages in the marketplace," Dem. Radius Baker said.

"Controlling the size of state government, which is growing too fast right now and we're putting way too much money in state government. We need to look for efficiencies to reduce that growth," Rep. John Cooper said. 

"The cost of teacher's insurance and school employee's insurance. I think it's too high and I'm working with state legislators and Governor Beebe to fix it," Dem. Ray Kidd said.

"We have to reduce state government so our private enterprise can grow. That's my biggest platform issue. As a small business owner, I understand firsthand how devastating regulations and red tape are when trying to grow a business," Rep. Chad Niell said. 

"We have to create jobs, we have to grow our economy and we have to improve our education system. And I want our people to be prepared so that when opportunity comes by, they find their success," Dem. Steve Rockwell said.

"We have got to have trained workers or you're not gonna draw industry. We can talk about all this other stuff we want to, but it we don't have someone to fill in, you're just not gonna do any good," Dem. Gene Roebuck said. 

"Health care. You hear a lot about that and folks talk a lot about that. It's an important issue for our government and our financial situation. Education is always important in our community," Rep. Dan Sullivan said.

The party primaries will be October 8.

The two candidates chosen will go head to head in the special election January 14, 2014.

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