MOUNT IDA – Doyle Webb, the Chairman of the Arkansas Republican Party, stopped by the Montgomery County News office recently to discuss how his party has helped Arkansas since during his tenure as chairman. He also talked about where the Republican Party is trying to lead Arkansas in the future.
Webb has ties to Montgomery County since childhood. He spoke fondly of his time as a child who spent many weekends and vacations here with his family in their trailer in Little Fir. He shared that he killed his first squirrel and caught his first crappy at Little Fir.
Webb was the first Republican elected in Saline County when he was voted in as a Justice of the Peace. He also served as a state senator for Saline and Perry Counties. He also served as Win Rockefeller’s Chief of Staff.
He was chosen to be the chairman of the Republican State Party in 2008 and is now the legal counsel for the Republican National Committee. He is the first Arkansan to serve as an officer in the Republican National Committee.
His wide range of experience has helped him get a grasp on the needs of the state and it’s residents. During his tenure as state party chairman the Republican Party has gained control of all of the elected constitutional state and federal offices.
In the last four years since the Republican Party has gained a majority in the state House and Senate the state has seen the lowest unemployment in the state’s history.
The legislature has also passed the largest income tax reduction in the state’s history.
Arkansas has seen 60,000 new jobs created during this drop in unemployment.
STEM has become a focus in the state with computer coding growing in prominence in state schools.
Webb added that due to the diligence of Governor Asa Hutchinson and a more efficient state system over 100,000 people who should not have been on the Medicaid roll have been removed. This will save Arkansas tax payers $500,000,000.
He also pointed out that Arkansas is the second most pro-life state in the country. Webb also added that his party is dedicated to protecting people’s gun rights. When asked about these issues he stated that they call these issues “No Compromise” issues, citing that “You can’t compromise on life.”
Webb explained that they believe life begins at conception and that if you are going to take a life you better have a good reason. This goes beyond abortion and includes capital punishment. He stated that we don’t just kill someone, “willy nilly.”
Between Pro Life and the attempt to continue moving that needle to protect the unborn at 23 or 21 weeks. He sees changes in the federal court system as vital to this issue.
He stated that it comes down to Arkansas Values; life, marriage, what gender you are, and what the Constitution says.
Webb sees the state’s challenge for the future lies in making ourselves more attractive to 21st century businesses. He compared Governor Hutchinson to Governor Rockefeller in that he has done a great job bringing industry into the state. He cited several new businesses that have come to Arkansas in different areas around the state.
Webb added that while looking to bring new businesses to the state we can’t lose sight of the fact that agriculture and tourism are two of the state’s most important industries.
Looking forward he believes people will see business become more efficient and effective as people try to do more with less.
He also believes state government will continue to reduce the tax burden for every day hard working tax paying citizens.
Turning his attention to Montgomery County, Webb stated that if you want to bring new industry into the county you have to first look at your work force that is educated and willing to work. He pointed out that shoe factories and industry known as “cut and sews” were prominent in Arkansas. Montgomery County was once home to a glove factory and a shoe factory, but both have since closed.
He also believes that not everyone needs a college education to get a job, but everyone should have a good quality of life.
Webb stated that by promoting charter schools and other forms of education have been beneficial to rural public schools by lessening the cost of education in Little Rock and some of the larger areas.
He believes that Governor Hutchinson will be sensitive to public schools going forward as he looks at funding for Pre-K and other areas.
When asked about the large amount of federally owned land and the effect it has had on Mount Ida School District’s high wealth index and the effect it has on their ability to gain facilities funding he stated that he believes Congressman Westerman and Senator Boozman are great advocates for rural schools. He added that it is important to get this information to Little Rock. Webb stated that it is good to be aware of this information and he added that he knows good education happens in Montgomery County.
Tourism is a vital part of the county’s livelihood and he feels every aspect of our environment are sensitive issues. He cites the importance of effective government agencies in the county as vital to the tourism industry’s continued success. He also believes Congressman Bruce Westerman is an excellent advocate for the area.
Turning his attention to the upcoming election, Webb stated that he feels the Republican Party has a roster of nominees that both understand and care about rural Arkansas. While they certainly want to see the quality of life increase in Arkansas, there is also a quality of life that we don’t want to lose.
“And that is a balance that we have to find.” He stated.
When asked about reaching those voters who may not traditionally vote Republican, Webb suggested they look at their own life. Look at the values in their life, look at your paycheck, look at employment in Arkansas and the quality of life in Arkansas. He added if you don’t think the Republican Party has moved fast enough consider the Democrats had 140 years. Give the Republican party a few more years then look to see if Arkansas is more akin to who you are than who you don’t want to be.