From time to time, when there is a race that I am particularly interested in, I like to reach out to both candidates to get answers to some questions and present those answers here so that voters can get more information than they get from mailers and whatnot.
In that vein, I contacted both Carlton Wing and Victoria Leigh, the Republican and Democratic candidates for District 38, which encompasses parts of North Little Rock and Sherwood.1 For whatever reason, however, Mr. Wing did not respond, even if only to say “No Comment.”
Undeterred, I figured the voters of District 38 at least deserve to see the questions that Mr. Wing refused to answer, especially since his website could barely be more generic and devoid of substance. The questions I sent were:
I am working on a story about the District 38 race between you and Ms. Leigh, and I had a few questions that I was hoping you could answer so that I can include your positions in the story.
1. Regarding education, your website states, “Unlike government spending in most sectors, investing in our children is one area that always pays dividends.” Does this mean that you oppose the Arkansas GOP’s removal of Pre-K from the platform? Would you support increasing funding for Pre-K in Arkansas?
2. When you say that you favor eliminating waste in government before any tax increases, can you provide specific examples of government waste that you would target? Do you have a dollar-figure estimate as to how much waste there is to eliminate?
3. Do you support any limitations on access to firearms (e.g., mental-health screenings, licensure before purchase, terror-watch-list exclusions, etc.)?
4. As a Mormon, I am sure you are familiar with how prejudices against a certain religious or societal group can escalate and force migration to avoid oppression. With that in mind, what is your position on allowing Syrian refugees to settle in Arkansas?
5. Finally, do you have any stances on an issue or issues that you feel differentiates you from the usual Arkansas Republican?
Given how rare it is to find an Arkansas Republican whose website says nothing about guns, abortion, or what church he or she belongs to, I think all of these questions fall in the realm of things that potential voters would like to know. Heck, Mr. Wing’s “promise” to voters is that he “will be available to you: to listen, to learn, and to act in your behalf.” He could start by making his actual position on specific questions known to those same voters.
Unfortunately, it appears that Mr. Wing is just running as Generic Republican and hoping the letter by his name — rather than anything approaching a substantive campaign — will carry the day.
Ms. Leigh was kind enough to not only answer the questions I sent, but also to reach out and provide additional information and quotes. A post about her is coming soon.↩