Tuesday, August 31, 2010

TOP STORY > >Candidate runs for First District seat in Congress

Leader executive editor

First District congressional candidate Chad Causey, a Democrat, is in a close race with his Republican opponent, Rick Crawford. Some polls show Crawford is ahead, while Causey insists they’re virtually tied.

Causey, who is 34, told The Leader last week the only polls he pays attention to are those that will open Nov. 2.

Causey, Rep. Marion Berry’s chief of staff, visited at the Small Farm Outreach Wetlands Water Management Center in Lonoke, where Berry was the featured speaker at a luncheon.

Berry is retiring this year.

Causey, who later visited The Leader in Jacksonville, said he’s traveling to all 26 counties in the First District and listening to voters.

“I hear their concerns,” he told The Leader. “They’re worried about their jobs, the economy, budget deficits, the national debt.

“They’re tired of the fighting in Washington,” Causey continued. “Our nation is at a crossroads. We’re $14 trillion in debt. We have the worst economy since the Great Depression.

“We must balance the budget, like everyday Arkansans,” Causey said. “We must create jobs and move toward energy independence. I don’t promise to have all the solutions, but I will work hard.

“No one will take this responsibility more seriously,” he insisted.

Causey was selling cell phones in Jonesboro when he went to work for Berry in 2001 as his driver, he said.

Causey attended law school at Catholic University in Washington while running Berry’s office.

The candidate said he would work to secure funds for military projects in the area if he’s elected in November.

Causey said he helped line up funding for the $10.8 million National Guard armory in Cabot while serving as Berry’s chief of staff.

“I played a role in securing funding for the Cabot readiness center,” said Causey.

The Guard armory on Hwy. 367, which will open next year, will be home to F Company of the 39th Infantry Brigade Support Battalion.

As a top congressional aide, Causey said he also helped arrange funding for the $14.8 million Joint Education Center outside Little Rock Air Force Base. Rep. Vic Snyder, who is also retiring, was the key sponsor of the legislation appropriating $9.8 million for the project.

Jacksonville residents also passed a sales tax that raised an additional $5 million for the center.

Causey said he’s also been active in behalf of Veterans Administration projects and will continue to help the air base if elected.

“I’m committed to supporting the air base,” Causey said.

He denied making personal attacks on Crawford. Causey’s campaign recently questioned Crawford’s Arkansas roots, pointing out that he went to high school in New Hampshire.

Crawford said he went to high school there while his father served in the military.

Causey distanced himself from such attacks. “I never once criticized my opponent for his service or his father’s service to his country,” Causey told The Leader.

He said everyone who served in the military should be saluted. “My grandfather served in World War II. My fiance’s grandfather served in World War II,” Causey said.