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Senate hopeful looks to make impact in rural areas

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DEWAYNE HOLLOWAY
montcnews2@windstream.net
MOUNT IDA – Josh Mahoney says that he believes small communities are what makes Arkansas what it is and he wants the opportunity to help Arkansans reach their full potential by becoming the next Senator to represent the state.
Mahoney is a five generation Arkansan who grew up in El Dorado. He worked in his families natural resources business until recently and believes this gives him insight into the struggles of many Arkansans.
He has served on the Arkansas Single Parents Scholarship Fund State Board of Directors and ran for Congress in 2018 where he was defeated by Incumbent Steve Womack.
Although Mahoney is a Democrat he stated in a recent phone interview that he doesn’t see this as a partisan race. He stated that he believes Arkansas deserves a Senator who will represent Arkansas’ best interests in Washington D.C. He added that while he is appreciative of Senator Tom Cotton’s military service, he believes Senator Cotton spends most of his time prepping for a future presidential bid.
He believes the best way to strengthen Arkansas is to strengthen rural communities. In the interview Mahoney quickly turned his attention to policy as a way to accomplish this task. Healthcare, education and infrastructure are at the top of his list of policies.
He believes everyone should have access to healthcare and supports a public option through Medicare. Mahoney did state that he does not support a single provider option. He stated that those who are happy with their current insurance provider should be allowed to keep them, but he understands that there are several people who still lack adequate affordable coverage. He also wants to fight for transparency in medical costs.
Mahoney stated that he believes Arkansas Senators should be working with farmers in the state to help grow their businesses. He pointed to Senator Cotton’s support of tariffs on China and other countries who are major purchasers of Arkansas crops. Mahoney added that Senator Cotton asked state farmers to “take one on the chin” for the country. Mahoney believes those who represent the state should be working to find ways to save jobs in the state not cost jobs.
One of the ways to do this is to promote and support the states two year college structure. He stated in the interview that there are opportunities in the workforce that don’t require a four year degree. He pointed to programs in Northwest Arkansas where high school students are apprenticing in machine shops where they learn a trade they can enter into right out of high school. Two year colleges can help provide training in trades like plumbing and construction to help provide trained employees in areas of need throughout the state.
He believes infrastructure is an vital part of our nation’s success.
“Highways are the arteries of our states.” He said when asked about infrastructure.
Mahoney believes that infrastructure is even more important in rural communities like Montgomery, Pike and Howard Counties where tourism is an important part of the economy. People have to be able to get to the lakes, trails and campgrounds.
Mahoney stated that he is an advocate of promoting Arkansas’ tourism industry.
When asked about Payment in Lieu of Taxes, known as PILT funding, Mahoney stated that the government must first make sure the money is there before paying out any funds. He also believes we need to look at ways the state can help support counties when PILT funding isn’t available. He added that states should be encouraged to either supplement or match PILT funds in counties where there is a large federal land presence.
He also believes rural areas need access to broadband service. While this helps bolster the tourism industry it has become a necessary piece of infrastructure for all business.
“Rural broadband is a way for small businesses to connect with the world” He stated.
When asked what he as a Democrat would do to reach voters in a state that has leaned to the right throughout the last several election cycles, Mahoney stated he just wanted to get in front of everybody. He plans on traveling the state meeting as many people as he can.
“I want to let people know I have their backs.” He said.
Mahoney realizes he isn’t going to agree with everyone, but he does want them to know he respects their views and their right to hold them.
When discussing the hot button policy issues within the state it becomes obvious that he may disagree with people on both sides of the aisle.
He does support a woman’s right to choose an abortion, but he also supports the Second Amendment right to bear arms. He did state that he supports background checks before a person purchases a firearm.
Mahoney stated that at the end of the day he just wants to talk plainly with people.
For more information on Josh Mahoney and his bid to become Arkansas’ next Senator visit his website at joshuamahoney.com