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Candidates For Governor Of Arkansas To Take Part In Education Forums

Election Voters Voting
Michael Hibblen

Two town hall meetings are being planned for next month featuring candidates vying for the Democratic and Republican nominations for Arkansas Governor. 

KATV and Talk Business & Politics will host the meetings focused on education. The GOP education town hall will be Monday, August 23 from 7-8 p.m. Attorney General Leslie Rutledge will be the only participant in the forum as former White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the other announced Republican for governor, declined to participate in this forum.

The Democratic education town hall will be Thursday, August 26 from 7-8:30 p.m. All four announced Democratic candidates for governor – Dr. Anthony Bland, Dr. Chris Jones, James “Rus” Russell, and Supha Xayprasith-Mays– will participate.

The town hall meetings will be streamed live through Facebook, KATV.com and TalkBusiness.net. Excerpts from the town halls will also be broadcast statewide on the August 29th edition of Talk Business & Politics.

“With school returning this fall, we believe it is important for the candidates vying to lead our state to express their visions for education from pre-school through college. Parents and students are paying close attention to what these candidates are proposing as it has a direct effect on their lives during these turbulent times,” said KATV News Director Nick Genty and Talk Business & Politics Editor-in-Chief Roby Brock.

Roughly 70% of the state budget is spent on education annually. The candidates will field questions on pre-school, K-12, higher education, and workforce education issues. KATV’s Chris May and TB&P’s Roby Brock will moderate the voter forums.

The participating candidates offered these comments:

“I’m excited to discuss with Arkansans my vision as Governor to ‘Make Arkansas First’ in education. Arkansas students must have the opportunity to get a first-class education regardless of skin color, zip code, or family income. As the only candidate for Governor with nearly 7 years executive experience working with our legislators, Department of Education and local schools in addition to successfully pushing back against the Biden Administration’s implementation of Critical Race Theory, I look forward to sharing my blueprint for making Arkansas first in educational opportunities and success,” Rutledge said.

“I would like to express my utmost gratitude for the opportunity to speak about our vision for the future of education in our great state of Arkansas. This town hall on education will allow us the opportunity to discuss the critical need for differentiation instruction. Students face many challenges with comprehension and expression and that must be resolved,” Bland said.

“Education is by far one of the most important conversations we should be having at this moment. The decisions we make over the next few years will determine where our state stands for generations. I look forward to an engaging conversation about a topic that means so much to all of us,” Jones said.

“I am thrilled to have this opportunity of a larger forum wherein we can have a deep, meaningful discussion about education within our state to work together toward fixing the problems. I look forward to meeting and speaking with my fellow candidates as we hash out ideas on how to provide the best future possible for Arkansas,” Russell said.

“It’s an honor to have the opportunity to bring our campaign’s optimistic ‘People 1st’ message to the ever-important KATV viewing audience. I look forward to exchanging ideas with my fellow Democratic candidates on one of the most important services our government offers to its citizens and I commend KATV for helping set the tone and agenda for one of the most important gubernatorial campaigns in modern Arkansas history. Arkansas ranks among the bottom five states in education and any hope for a vibrant future must begin with a commitment to elevate Arkansas education to the top ranks and not settle for the permanent mediocrity the Republicans’ policies have created.” – Xayprasith-Mays said.

The Republican and Democratic primaries are scheduled for May 24, 2022.

This story comes from the staff of Talk Business & Politics, a content partner with KUAR News. You can hear the weekly program on Mondays at 6:06 p.m.