Page Two

Jay Martin, Candidate for Governor

Martin said, “I want to be the Chief Ambassador for Arkansas and that is why I am running for Governor.”

Martin said that when he was two years old his father was placed in the state hospital due to mental illness. Because of this, the family experienced poverty. The family was able to take advantage of government programs that helped families in need.

When the time to go to college came around, Martin was awarded a scholarship and also received a Pell Grant.

Because he grew up in a different environment than many children, he developed great compassion for people who were in need. Martin felt he was called to two different vocations, the law and the ministry. He pursued both careers. After his first year of law school, a Circuit Court Judge called and offered Martin a job.

Martin became a Pre-sentence Officer and worked his way through law school. This job required him to recommend sentences. “Over and over again, I kept seeing the same types of people coming through – many young African-American men who were charged with non-violent drug offenses.”

Martin said that he wanted to help them and he started an inner-city ministry. He was elected to the state legislature because after 911, he felt this was the patriotic thing to do. He was elected majority leader in the AFED General Assembly and formed a bi-partisan committee, working with Democrats and Republicans on very important legislation, including real property tax relief for people 65 and over. They also passed LeadAR.

At that time, Martin got out of politics to concentrate on his young family.

Democrat Primary Forum 2022 Hot Springs Village Jay Martin
Jay Martin, Candidate for Governor

He is a bridge-builder and felt the call to again become involved in government service. “That is why I am running for Governor, to use my experience to bring people together, to make Arkansas the state that so many of you choose when you moved to Hot Springs Village.

What is the major challenge of this office that you seek and how would you address it?

“We have a very divided state. We have a very divided country. COVID-19 has created incredible economic problems for our state. We have a state that does not do well, anyway. But now with COVID, our small businesses, our small farms, are really struggling. The Governor is going to have to generate economic opportunities for all Arkansans immediately.”

“We have a plan to do that – our Diamond Plan. The first part of Diamond is economic development. We have to address growing the economy.”

“We also have to bring people together. We have so much more in common than we have differences, as Americans.”

What separates you from your primary election opponents?

Experience – “I just celebrated 25 years as an attorney in private practice. I am a small business owner. I had to make payroll. I’ve paid too many taxes – wondered where those taxes were going. That is in some ways, maybe conservative when it comes to some issues.”

Martin said he has 250 closed file boxes after celebrating 25 years of practicing law.

Martin said he knows how to bring people together and get a bill through the House of Representatives and into the Senate and the Committees, and then be signed by the Governor…This is not easy stuff. This is on-the-job training. You need the experience to do these things. We know how to do that.”

Most importantly, he is a builder and can bring people together from all walks of life.

Josh Price, Candidate for Secretary of State

Price said, “I am running for Secretary of State to protect our right to vote. As some of you know, our voting rights are severely under attack, all across the south, especially in the state of Arkansas.”

We are dead last in voter registration and voter turnout. Also, we hold the number one spot for the rejection of absentee ballots. Price feels we can do better.

Price was born in Nashville, Arkansas, coming from a family of small business owners and veterans.

“My grandmother was the first woman to serve as Justice of the Peace of Pike County and she is really one of my biggest inspirations to be involved in public service,” enthused Price. During segregation, Granny Jean officiated weddings for African-Americans in her home because they were not permitted to use certain public buildings. For doing that, she received death threats. Price said that he learned two things from his grandmother. The first thing he learned is the power of service and helping those who maybe don’t look like you. The second thing his grandmother taught him was to do the right thing, even when it is tough.

Democrat Primary Forum 2022 Hot Springs Village Dan Whitfield
Josh Price, Candidate for Secretary of State

Price’s mother is a nurse from the Philippines who was recruited to Arkansas. She knew she would have the right to vote and freedom of speech in the United States.

Price said, “Fast forward to the insurrection on January 6. We almost lost that here. We have voter suppression bills coming down the pipeline all across the south making it harder for people to vote.”

Price worked for the Delta Regional Authority for the federal government and was also the Public Informations Officer for the state of Arkansas for the Small Business Administration. “The most important job I had in the last few years is that I was Election Commissioner in Pulaski County Arkansas, which is a blue county but was severely under attack by Republicans. Republicans threw out 1,500 ballots in Pulaski County.”

We should be making it easier for people to vote, but instead, it has been made more difficult.

What is the major challenge of this office and how would you address it?

Voter registration – “We are dead last in voter registration. Dead last in voter turnout. I’ve got some practical and pragmatic ways to fix that.”

  1. “Let’s work with the library system – the mobile book units. We’ll call them voter vans and travel the state. We’ll meet people where they are and get them registered to vote. If they need to update their signature.” If they need a free photo ID, let’s get them a photo ID.”
  2. I want to make sure no Arkansan has to travel more than ten miles to vote.
  3. Online voter registration.
What separates you from your primary election opponent?

On-the-ground experience – “I’ve been in the trenches. I served as Election Commissioner during that very contentious 2020 election. I testified against voter suppression bills in the capital. We got some of them killed in committee. Some of them passed through. I was part of a lawsuit and had those thrown out to be unconstitutional.” Judge Griffin thew them out but then they were upheld by the Arkansas Supreme Court. I have received endorsements from state and national leaders.”

“I have the on-the-ground experience to hit the ground running.”

Pam Whitaker, Candidate for Secretary of State

Whitaker is from a hard-working Texas family. “My father built every home we ever lived in with his own two hands,” Whitaker said. When she was ten, the family moved to Minnesota. When she was a child, she wanted to fly Navy jets, as her father did. “Sadly, women were not allowed to be trained in aviation until 1974. She graduated high school with honors.” She said her father came from great poverty. Because of that, her father did not understand how she could find a way to attend college. He told her, “some hairy-legged boy will take care of you.” Whittaker didn’t want that to happen.

She began working at age 16 and earned an associate degree at a community college. Whitaker said, “Sure enough. That hairy-legged boy came along. He was a pastor.” She was a pastor’s wife for several years, but the marriage didn’t work out.

Whittaker took her two kids and went to Oklahoma State University with the assistance of Pell Grants and child-care assistance, she earned a computer science degree in 1992.

Democrat Primary Forum 2022 Hot Springs Village Pam Whitaker
Pam Whitaker, Candidate for Secretary of State

She began working at Lockheed Martin and then later went to work at the IRS Data Center in Washington, D.C. She worked in numerous positions there, finally landing in the Center of Excellence. People saw her work there and thought she would do well in politics.

She moved back to Arkansas 11 years ago to take care of her mother. She also worked on her business, learning a lot about contracts. Whitaker started a non-profit which helps young women enter engineering and flight field careers.

Whitaker said she has worked in government, healthcare, construction, and banking. She has several certifications, including cybersecurity and audit controls.

Her goals for the Treasury Department are to protect and grow the state funds, protect our environment, and work with women-owned businesses and female farmers. She said she will work on cybersecurity and fraud. She also wants to help roll out state-wide broadband.

What is the major challenge of this office and how will you address it?

She said the office is very complex and she has started addressing the office challenges. She toured the Treasury and met everyone. Her audit background will help and she is used to looking at banking reports.

“I think I am addressing the challenge as I speak,” said Whitaker.

She will also be attending the Finance Board Meetings.

What separates you from your general election opponents?

“The other folks have been in there and really, their only backing is other representatives. They don’t seem to have any feet on the ground, out in the community. I am already doing that. I am already helping other women-owned businesses.”

John White, Candidate for US Congress District 4

White said, “I am running against Westerman because we need to throw out Bozeman. We need to throw out Cotton. We need to throw them all out. Because they have forgotten who they work for. “None of them understand that we work for us.”

“I will go into my pity party on how poor I was; how my dad killed himself and when I was six and a half I was the man of the house; how I went to work in the hayfields. I picked watermelons and everything else. Somebody out there has it worse.”

White fathered two fine young men, one of who was handicapped and died when he was two. We can go on and on about how we didn’t have running water and all of that. None of that matters.”

White said he is an Independent. “The Democrats brought me on because there is only a Libertarian running against Westerman.”

“This is what is wrong with the country. You mention Trump, everybody goes running.”

He said he has been in the V.A. system since 2007 and it was a killing machine until Donald Trump was elected.

Democrat Primary Forum 2022 Hot Springs Village John White
John White, Candidate for US Congress District 4

White said his platform is only one thing – the Constitution.

“We really need to look at ourselves, stop promising everything. I cannot promise you anything because I must work with people.”

“I served in the Air Force for 24 years, active and then inactive. I got out for a couple of years and then I joined Arkansas Air National Guard at Fort Smith. I was a regular Guardsman for a year and then I was active Guard, finishing up…I’ve worked with everything from a little 5.56 round to cruise missiles and nuclear weapons if you want to get down to killing people, which is what the military is.”

My name is John White and I am running on the Constitution and that is it. Nothing else. Cannot make you any promises. I won’t blow smoke. Let’s be real.”

What is the major challenge of this office and how will you address it?

“The major problem is, it’s broke and we all know it. Everybody is doing the Potomac two-step. Everybody is taking money from everybody. Everybody is bought off. I can’t be bought off. I like being poor. I am a poor, wannabe goat farmer from south Arkansas.”

“We have to get back to the Constitution.”

White said we are all Americans, not African or Chinese Americans. We are not yellow, green, or purple. Doesn’t matter. We all bleed red. The red on the flag is for everybody who sacrificed the ultimate sacrifice for this nation so we can sit here and talk about problems that people want to work out.”

What separates you and your general election opponent?

“Oh, Mr. Westerman. [laughs] Has anybody seen him? I’m trying to figure out where he is.”

White doesn’t want to be called a politician. He said he was just a poor white boy. “I will not do the Potomac two-step. I cannot be bought off. I am not even taking any money for this campaign. It’s all out of my pocket. I’m paying for it. And good Lord, we know I ain’t rich.”

Supha Xayprasith-Mays, Candidate for Governor

Xayprasith-Mays is 52 years old and a Little Rock resident. Formerly, a corporate executive, she is the owner of a small business. Migrating to Arkansas when she was only six years old with her widowed mother and three siblings, she grew up in an economically disadvantaged household, but the children weren’t aware of the financial situation. Despite the fact that her mother had a Masters’s degree, speaking seven languages, she found it difficult as a migrant to find employment and ended up working at a chicken plant for Tyson Foods. Eventually, she saved enough money to open an Asian restaurant.

“I grew up on the wrong side of the track. Kids can be cruel. I’ve been called every name you can imagine. I remember coming home after someone called me the N-word and I cried. I didn’t know what it was. I was bullied to the point where at age 13, I wanted to commit suicide.” As a child, she was angry and confused.

Democrat Primary Forum 2022 Hot Springs Village Supha Xayprasith-Mays
Supha Xayprasith-Mays, Candidate for Governor

After migrating, her mother remarried, but the other kids were even cruel about that, asking why her mother didn’t marry someone of her own kind.

When she was 16, Xayprasith-Mays also worked at a chicken plant in order to help support the family. Her mother said, “you are either going to use your mind or your hands. Which one is it going to be?”

At age 19, she became a single mom but was so poor, that she could not afford to go to school. She worked four jobs to prove to her mother that she could make it.

When she was 21, she purchased her first home, using the HUD program.

When she was 28, she ran a $100 Million operation. She then started a consulting company where she taught and empowered people that might not have a mom and dad or live in a big house and have nice things.

“In my platform as Governor, it is about people first. I don’t care what business you are in. We are all in the people business. We also have to make sure we understand it is about inclusion.”

“We are all God’s beautiful children.”

She said, “you need a leadership that cares for the people and one that will put the people first.”

She unapologetically said she is not a politician. “I am a peopletician.”

What is the major challenge of this office and how would you address it?

“Absolutely education – We’re ranked top-bottom and our kids are not getting what they need. You have kids where the only meal they get is in school. I want to change that.”

“Our teachers should never have to work more than one job. How could they make our kids become competitive when they are hungry and struggling themself?”

What separates you from your primary election opponents?

“I am a woman of multicultural race. I speak more than three languages. I also am a business owner and also a former corporate executive in training and development. I understand human empowerment. This is a human race campaign. This is not about politics, party, or power. It is about putting this state and the power back to the people.”

Jack Foster, Candidate for US Senate

Foster is a Vietnam veteran. Foster said, “I’m in this race basically because of the fact that we don’t have a voice in Washington in that senate seat any longer. Everybody has a national agenda. There is not an Arkansas agenda. Everything they talk about does not have a direct effect on what happens to Arkansans. That’s wrong. The people who sent them there – they have forgotten about you guys. They don’t care.”

The Arkansas politicians in Washington, DC voted against the infrastructure bill, even though Arkansas roads are not in good shape. The bill passed and now they want to take credit for it explained Foster.

Democrat Primary Forum 2022 Hot Springs Village Jack Foster
Jack Foster, Candidate for US Senate

“They voted against the stimulus package. Arkansas is a poverty state.” He said he was raised in poverty and understands what it is like to be poor.

Foster said he has three major priorities in this race.

  1. Economic development – “That’s critical…A lot of our children go to college for four years, get out, and can’t find a job in this state.”
  2. Healthcare – “There is no reason in the world we should not have free healthcare.” People ask, ‘How are you going to pay for that?’ Here’s how you pay for it – America first. Do you realize how many billions of dollars we send to foreign countries and we call it foreign aid and we don’t take care of our own, right here at home? Something is wrong with that picture. I don’t have a problem with helping other countries, but let’s take care of home first. And then if we’ve got something left where we can afford to help another country, let’s do that. But at this point, Amerian needs the help. We’re not doing that.”
  3. Attract industry to Arkansas – “I don’t see that happening. As your US Senator, it will happen in my office…”

Foster said he is a former City-Council Member and that is the lowest form of government, giving him less money to work with. The federal government has the majority of the funds and “we need to be able to tap some of those resources and get them to this state. That’s not happening.”

Foster said, “Yes, I am running as a Democrat. I used to be a Republican. I am not running for the Democratic Party. Nor am I running for Joe Biden. I am running for the state of Arkansas.”

What is the major challenge of this office and how will you address it?

“We need to clean up the mess that is already there. Bozeman, I have met him. When I met him, I was having problems with the V.A. I said, ‘I need some help with this issue.’ He said, ‘give me your phone number and I will call you.’ I am still waiting on that phone call. Real politicians tell you anything, but they don’t get back to you.” The office needs to be returned to the people of Arkansas.

What separates you from your primary opponents?

“I am taller,” stated Foster.

Cheryl Dowden Hot Springs Village Gazette, April 13, 2022

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