State Farm "Measure the Candidate Forum, April 21, 2012
Transcribed speeches of Representative Jon Hubbard and Opponent Candidate Harold Copenhaver for District 58
Republican Jon Hubbard Speech – April 21, 2012
It is good to be here. I would also like to thank KAIT and Farm Bureau for putting on this forum today. My name is Jon Hubbard. I am state Representative, District 75 which takes in a large part of the city limits of Jonesboro and which will become District 58 in the new state redistricting alignment. I appreciate everybody coming out today to get to know the several candidates running for the various offices around our state, and I know a lot of you already know these candidates. I hope that through these forums and these get togethers like this that you will be able to find out who more closely represents your own personal beliefs and values when it comes time to vote.
To give you a little information about me: I am a graduate of Ouchita University. My wife Regina and I have been married this coming August for 43 years. We have two grown sons. Our oldest son Russ lives with his family in Van Buren with our grandsons. Our youngest son, Captain Shane Hubbard received both his bachelor's and master's degrees and his ROTC commission at Arkansas State University and has been deployed three times to the Middle East. He is currently stationed in California with his wife.
I spent 15 years coaching and teaching in public and private schools both at the college and high school levels and in 1995 I started Arkansas First Insurance??? Right here in Jonesboro and operated that business until I sold it in April of 2006. I am a military veteran, having served in the United States Air Force during Viet Niamey and I have also written a book. The title of the book is Letters to the Editor, Confessions of a Frustrated Conservative, which I think some of you might find interesting.
In November, 2010, I became the first Republican elected to represent Jonesboro in the Arkansas House of Representatives since Reconstruction. Like many of you I know what it is like to work for a living. I wouldn't have it any other way. I also know what it is like and even raising my family during tough times. I know what it is like to start and operate a business from scratch, work long hard hours building that business into one that not only successful but one that also employed a lot of people. I know what it is like to reach for the great American dream and experience both success and failure while trying to achieve that dream. In other words, I am just exactly like most of you here today. We have had to work hard all our lives and our success and failure have depended oftentimes we have had to make from day to day.
During my teaching career, I taught American history, and I am proud to say that I taught the real American history of this nation – not this fictitious version that has been crammed down the throats of our young people for decades by liberal educators. Being an old history teacher, it is very easy for me to understand that as we speak, we are actually reliving history.
If we don't learn from history, we are destined to repeat it. America has long been a paradise for those who ambition, initiative and drive. America is perhaps the only place on the face of this earth where it doesn't really mater what financial or social background one comes from but if we possess a burning desire for success then chances are we are going to achieve that success. America is also a paradise for those who understand and appreciate that regardless of whatever your life's goals might be education is the pathway to accomplishing those goals. Those who place little importance on receiving a good education will very likely will very likely be looking for someone later on to blame for their own failures in life.
Some of the issues that I addressed during the 2011 legislative session were to protect and grow jobs in our state. This could be achieved through tax and other incentives such as greater reducing our state capital gains tax, which would make Arkansas a much more business friendly state. We must also insist that our state government be responsible in its operation and in its spending. Our government must learn to live within its means just as we the citizens of Jonesboro are told that we have to do. We must insist that our government operate under a balanced budget as set out by our state constitution.
I believe in the sovereignty of our state and this sovereignty must be protected from an overreaching and out of control federal and sometime state government. The Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution must be honored, protected, and defended whenever necessary.
Our laws and our Bible teach us that murder is wrong. As human beings I believe that we must honor and protect the rights of those yet to be born. I agree that a woman should have the right to choose, but I also agree that choice must be made before conception and not afterwards. I have and will continue to fight to protect the traditional family values and the definition of marriage as being a union between one man and one woman. Applause
I believe that we must not allow well performing school districts such as the Weiner school district to be dissolved or forced into consolidation through simply some arbitrary enrollment numbers to satisfy politicians. Good schools are hard to find, and we must protect those districts where educating students is our number one priority regardless of enrollment numbers.
In this country, if you are here illegally, you must go, plain and simple. I sponsored legislation that would have prevented illegal aliens from receiving state benefits except in cases where emergency life saving measures are required. Applause and more applause almost drowning out what Hubbard said at the end.
I also sponsored legislation that would require all state business to be conducted in Arkansas, including business for Arkansas Drivers' License, to be printed in English only. Applause I believe that those who are not willing or able to read our road signs which are also printed in English should not be allowed to test for Arkansas driver's license in any language other than English. Loud Applause.
I also co-sponsored a bill with state Senator Cecile Bledsoe which would have prevented Sharia law or any other international law from being given equal standing with our US Constitution in our state courts. Loud Applause.
I also proposed legislation that would have required anyone choosing to appear on the Arkansas election ballot to then verify with documentation that they are constitutionally qualified and eligible to hold the office for which they are applying and also that the evidence should become part of the public record. Anyone not agreeing to produce this documentation should not be allowed on Arkansas election ballots. Applause
In closing, I would like to say that when I began campaigning for this office in 2010, I told the people in this district exactly what I would do if I were elected. And now almost two years after that date, I can stand here very proudly and tell you that I did exactly what I promised I would try to do when I went to Little Rock. I would like to ask you, "Is that not what you want your representatives and elected officials to do?"
Thank you and may God bless our troops and may God bless America!
[In a later speech at the Lincoln Day dinner, Hubbard said if he were re-elected he would go back and sponsor those same bills and with a Republican majority we are hoping for he would get them passed.]
Democratic Candidate Harold Copenhaver
Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen: My name is Harold Copenhaver and I am vying for the position of District 58 for House of Representatives. First of all, I would like to thank Farm Bureau and KAIT TV for putting on this event and countless hours of their volunteer work to put this event on.
I now know how a pastor feels when he is told to keep his sermon short. So I will try to do the same thing.
My roots run deep in this community and in Arkansas State University. In 1970 m father came here as the Dean of Fine Arts. He is retired military Air Force officer and I was born at the Air Force Academy myself. It is exciting to see in the community people getting involved in the future of Jonesboro and Eastern Arkansas. Twenty-five years ago I felt a calling to run for office. But due to a dear friend of min, Senator Jerry Bookout, who is no longer with us, he told me , "Harold, it is important for you to raise your family. He said, you will make mistakes but you will learn from mistakes. It is important to raise your family and grow with your children and you will know when the time is right." Well, the time is right. My blessings and prayers were answered over a year ago. This community has invested in me, and it is time for me to give back to the community that I love.
My wife and I are members of Jonesboro Baptist Church. We have been so for over 25 years, and I sing in the choir and have served on many Baptist committees. I was blessed to serve on the Board of Directors of the Jonesboro Rotary Club at a very young age, and my wife recently just received a Governor's volunteer award for her commitment to the Jonesboro Pregnancy Resource Center here in Jonesboro. Community involvement is of utmost importance. I grew up in Jonesboro, went to Jonesboro Public schools and went to Arkansas State University. I have raised my family in the community and built the foundation of my business here as well - From beginning in agriculture to the past 25 years in the insurance business.
Two of my children have attended Arkansas State University. My daughter, Lauren, graduated from Arkansas State University, and she is a teacher in the Jonesboro Public School System. I am very proud of her. My middle son, Austin Copenhaver, is a radio and television major, a junior at Arkansas State University and was just elected as the student government vice president to serve for Arkansas State University. I am very proud of him as well. My youngest son is attending McArthur Junior High School.
In the last year I have visited with hundreds of my constituents – from agriculture, banking, the medical community, teachers in our public schools and retired teachers to the president of the University, Chuck Welch, from our local businesses and local leaders to the Governor of our fine state, Governor Mike Beebe. In visiting with many I have seen a common misconception that they want to discuss the agenda of Washington, D. C. It is very important for you to know that your state representative is to discuss the agenda of his constituents and support northeast Arkansas, not his own personal agenda or Washington's agenda. Jonesboro deserves a representative who will put partisan bickering aside and work with other legislators.
As your legislator I will work with other Democrats, Republicans, Independents, etc. This doesn't mean you have to agree with them but it means you must still work together for the betterment of this community. I will work with our fine mayor and our city officials; our Chamber of Commerce and continued economic development. Our city has hundreds of local volunteers and many organizations such as the Out of the Dark program, the Women's Crisis Center, Jonesboro Pregnancy Resource Center, and many more. At issue is the foundation of our community, and I will give them my full support.
I will work on legislation which allows ASU continue to grow. The children in this community deserve a voice that will help and change the resources they need. Our seniors and veterans deserve a voice that will help fight and maintain resources they need for health care. I will stand up for our law enforcement and firefighters. They need a voice who will provide the support they need for our community in keeping it safe. Our workforce needs to know that they have a representative who will work 24 hours, 7 days a week to maintain our jobs and add new ones. I am a person who believes in having an open discussion on all sides of these issues, and I will work with leaders to do so.
In closing, I am proud to say that I have the Governor's full support in this campaign and with his support in the legislature I will make sure that Jonesboro is not a step child to central Arkansas or Northwest Arkansas.
I am asking for your vote. Harold Copenhaver as your common sense in Jonesboro and in Little Rock. Thank you and vote Cope. The only applause during this speech was a light applause at the end.