AR-Land Comm: Bryant Will Refuse State Car, Car Allowance

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    I almost forgot to mention this.  Democrat candidate for Land Commissioner, L.J. Bryant, released a statement Monday stating that, if elected, he would not accept a state-owned vehicle.  The full release is after the jump.  In pertinent part, it reads:

    State Land Commissioner candidate L. J. Bryant announces that he’ll not drive a state-owned vehicle, if elected.  Bryant had previously promised that starting with him, “no Land Commission personnel will be allowed to accept gifts from lobbyists.”

    “Over the past few months, much has been said and written about abuse of power by elected officials.  However, long before certain questionable actions came to light, I made it known in my campaign literature, in public speeches, and on my website that I would bring a fresh, new transparency to state government if elected to the position of State Land Commissioner.

    “Today, I hereby offer my personal Ethics Pledge to the citizens of Arkansas.  I will never drive a state-owned vehicle!  I realize that automobiles are necessary for many jobs in state government, however, as a constitutional officer, I will not require nor accept any vehicle provided by state government.

    “I believe that tough times demand hard choices, and for me to ride around in a vehicle paid for by the taxes of hard-working citizens is just not right.  I support the Governor’s new policy on the use of state vehicles, and I hope to see even more such reforms put into action in an effort to help ease some of the burden on our taxpayers.”

    I contacted Bryant after I received his press release to ask whether this included not accepting a car allowance in lieu of a state-owned vehicle.  Bryant replied:

    I will not apply for nor accept an automobile allowance either.  I will drive my personal vehicle to and from work and anywhere that the job takes me.  If any traveling is done on behalf of the state, I will document that particular travel and request fuel reimbursement.

    So, there you go.

    In the wake of this statement, I’m curious whether any other candidates for state-wide office will make the same pledge.  I will happily note any who say that they will.

    L.J. BRYANT ANNOUNCES ETHICS PLEDGE

    State Land Commissioner candidate L. J. Bryant announces that he’ll not drive a state-owned vehicle, if elected.  Bryant had previously promised that starting with him, “no Land Commission personnel will be allowed to accept gifts from lobbyists”.

    “Over the past few months, much has been said and written about abuse of power by elected officials.  However, long before certain questionable actions came to light, I made it known in my campaign literature, in public speeches, and on my website that I would bring a fresh, new transparency to state government if elected to the position of State Land Commissioner.

    “Today, I hereby offer my personal Ethics Pledge to the citizens of Arkansas.  I will never drive a state-owned vehicle!  I realize that automobiles are necessary for many jobs in state government, however, as a constitutional officer, I will not require nor accept any vehicle provided by state government.

    “I believe that tough times demand hard choices, and for me to ride around in a vehicle paid for by the taxes of hard-working citizens is just not right.  I support the Governor’s new policy on the use of state vehicles, and I hope to see even more such reforms put into action in an effort to help ease some of the burden on our taxpayers.”

    L. J. Bryant is the 23-year-old Jonesboro businessman who scored an impressive victory over two very formidable opponents to win his party’s nomination for Commissioner of State Lands.

    A growing number of newspaper and online news sources have joined several organizations in endorsing Bryant’s candidacy.  The Arkansas Education Association and the Arkansas Realtors Association are but two such groups that are recommending Bryant to their members. Seven Arkansas newspapers and two blogs have also endorsed Bryant, including the latest coming from the Northwest Arkansas News.

    “Included in [Bryant’s] agenda is bringing the office into the 21st century by  increasing the number of services online.  He also intends to make it easier for citizens to pay if their real estate taxes become delinquent.”  NWA News 10/7/10.

    The Nashville News, the Murfreesboro Diamond, the Glenwood Herald, the Montgomery County News, the Southwest Arkansas Tailgator, the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, The Blue Arkansas blog, and the Blue Hog Report have all applauded Bryant’s plans to “bring Arkansas into the 21st Century by utilizing the latest technology.”

    In its endorsement, the Nashville News stated, “Bryant understands that property taxes are a vital source of revenue for the state of Arkansas to help support strong schools and local governments, while the Murfreesboro Diamond applauded Bryant for his plans “to use progressive ideas to market tax delinquent land for sale and to manage state lands” including “allowing for online bidding for tax delinquent properties and paying for past due property taxes with a credit card.”   The Glenwood Herald wrapped up its endorsement by asking readers to vote for L.J. Bryant for State Land Commissioner, because of “new ideas, hard work and people that want to make things better for everyone, not just a select few.”  The Blue Arkansas Blog is quoted as saying, “the choice is clear, vote L.J. Bryant for Land Commissioner.”  The Blue Hog Report offered their support this way, “[Bryant] is not part of the problem, but rather the result of a grassroots movement to kick out the Old Guard politicians.”

    Throughout his campaign, Bryant has been defined as the “Technology Candidate” because of his declarations to upgrade the Land Commissioner’s office in certain key areas.  “Our state doesn’t even allow for the use of credit cards to pay real estate taxes!  We’ll begin that service immediately if I am elected, at absolutely no expense to the taxpayers.  Satellite Mapping is another great example of how we can streamline and enhance the marketing of tax-delinquent lands, ultimately generating new funds for our public school and local governments.

    Bryant has stated that “No government office should ever be for sale and no elected official should ever abuse the system with trumped up expense accounts, free gifts from lobbyists, or state vehicles for personal use!  The voters have seen enough of this kind of activity and want total transparency and accountability, which is exactly what I promise Arkansas.”