1. Senator Lincoln has tried time and time again to tie your name to “outsourcing.” As a real response to such a claim does not lend itself to 30-second commercials or soundbite talking points, would you care to reply to the allegations here at whatever length you deem necessary?
The ads are a lie. I was on the board of a company that served customers globally and which opened a development center in India. No American jobs were lost. The company employed 800 people, the vast majority of them in the United States.
2. Related to the first question, does the disingenuous nature of Ms. Lincoln’s “outsourcing” attacks strike you are particularly ironic given that, as a Congresswoman, she voted in favor of NAFTA and, as a Senator, in favor of CAFTA?
For too long, Congress has been approving trade deals that send Arkansas jobs overseas and let other nations undercut our workers by not requiring the same working conditions as American businesses have to meet. That needs to stop.
Arkansas families are worried about jobs, pensions, and the rising cost of living. As I’ve traveled around the state, I know that we’ve lost far too many good-paying jobs as a result of the economic crisis. One of the things that worries me most is that we’re losing our middle class, that our fire fighters and teachers and nurses and grocery workers are falling behind.
As a Senator, my first bill will be closing the loopholes that reward companies for shipping jobs overseas. And I will always stand up for the working families who need a voice in Washington.
3. It seems to have slipped through the cracks, but Ms. Lincoln voted in favor of a bill that would, in effect, garnish social security payments. As Senator, will you make protecting Social Security a priority?
As the former Deputy Commissioner of Social Security, I understand the importance of this program to all American families. I never have and never will support privatizing Social Security. While serving under President Clinton, I worked hard to protect the Social Security Trust Fund from Republican schemes to put taxpayers’ retirement benefits at risk.
When the Bush Administration threatened to play the stock market with personal investments, I traveled the country to help rally support against the Republican plan. With the help of great people like James Roosevelt — grandson of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the father of Social Security — we defeated this risky Washington-Wall Street proposal.
“I know personally and professionally that Bill Halter is opposed to Social Security privatization,” James Roosevelt says. “I was proud to work with him then and I am proud to work with him now when it comes to Social Security.”
As your next United States Senator, I will continue to fight any plans that would privatize Social Security retirement funds. I also will challenge any effort to raise taxes on Social Security benefits. And I will work to bring federal spending under control so we do not ever risk seeing the Social Security Trust Fund run dry.
4. A number of people seem to believe the lie that you are not a native Arkansan. So, just so we have a clear answer that we can point people to, are you from Arkansas?
I am a proud fourth generation Arkansan. I was born and raised in North Little Rock, and my father lives six blocks from where my wife Shanti and I are raising our two children -– in the same house he’s been in for 35 years.
And if you see the Halter Building in Conway, that’s my family. Arkansas is my home.
5. The floor is yours: Are there any other issues or accusations that you would like to address?
I am running for the Senate for one simple reason: because Arkansans need someone who’s on their side in Washington.
If you send the same people to Washington, you’re guaranteed to get the same results.
If you think Washington is broken, and it needs a good dose of Arkansas values, I’m asking for your vote.
Working together, we beat the special interests to pass the scholarship lottery — and we can do it again.
It’s your vote — not their money — that will change Washington. This is a fight worth fighting because Arkansas families and all working families need a voice in Washington.
Also See: 5 Questions w/ L.J. Bryant