Friday, April 25, 2014

TOP STORY >> Two GOP hopefuls run in Dist. 14

Leader staff writer

A Union Pacific employee and the leader of a nonprofit ministry will face off in the May 20 Republican primary election for the Dist. 14 seat in the Arkansas House of Representatives.

The winner will run against Democratic candidate Lonoke City Attorney Camille Ben-nett.

Rep. Walls McCrary (D- Lonoke) holds the seat now but is term-limited.

Trent Eilts of Cabot is a locomotive foreman general. For 13 years, he was a product specialist for Eastman Kodak Document Imaging Division for the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Eilts served in the Air Force from 1990 until 1998 as an avionic craftsman.

He is a deacon at McArthur Church and a member of the Cabot American Legion, the Lonoke County Fair and Livestock Association Board and the Lonoke County Coalition for Progress Board.

Buddy Fisher of rural Lonoke County is president of his own nonprofit ministry, Buddy Fisher Industries, Inc.

He has been the pastor of four churches and has spent more than 30 years in ministry.

Both men said their campaigns are going well. Fisher added in his e-mailed response to The Leader that he is proud to have received an endorsement from the National Rifle Association.

“It has proved to voters I am honest about my conservative convictions,” Fisher said.

Eilts said he is running for office to pick up where he left off.

“It’s going to sound corny, but I still believe one man can make a difference,” he added.

Eilts said he helped draft three laws. They require State Police to redact the names of accident victims that are under the age of 18, restored benefits to widows of disabled veterans and allowed couples who get divorced to have joint custody of their children without facing each other in court. There is now a presumption of joint custody, the candidate explained.

Eilts also wrote House Bill 2126, which proposed that school board and general elections be held at the same time. But it was not signed into law.

Fisher said, “I’m running because I believe public service is important. The people of our area deserve a representative who will work with and listen to them and not someone who will be beholden to just one or two special interests. I believe I have a good pulse of what is going on in our community and what voters would like to see in the Capitol.

“My experience of dealing with people and knowing how to serve people certainly is a factor,” he added.

Eilts said, ideologically, he and Fisher are probably the same. But, he noted, “I don’t know of anybody who could remotely match my qualifications.”

Fisher said he would focus on economic development if elected.

“More needs to be done to create a more friendly business environment so we can create new and better jobs,” he explained.

“I will work to lower taxes on small business and working families. I will vote to stop wasteful spending, which leads to more unnecessary regulations.

“I hope to be a voice of common sense and reason. If I can help limit government spending and growth, while protecting traditional values, I will consider my time in the legislature a success,” Fisher concluded.

Eilts told The Leader, “We’ve got to be smart with the money.”

He also said the Affordable Care Act will not help lower the cost of health care or deal with problems related to medical malpractice.

Eilts added that the biggest challenge representatives face is that people don’t believe in the government anymore. He wants to change that.