The Washington County Republican Women held a special forum of District 93 candidates. Drew Griffin, Jon Woods and Kathy McFetridge.
Jon described himself as a life-long, involved Republican. Drew spoke of growing up in NWA and is planning a family. Springdale issues were his issues. Kathy, apparently responding to questions about running years before as a Democrat, said that she believed in the values and principles of the Republican party
Asked what they considered the 3 most important issues:
Jon: 1) Education 2) Infrastructure (Highways) and 3) Tax reform.
Drew: 1) Jessica's Law 2) Medicaid and 3) Tax reform
Kathy: 1)Education 2) Tax reform and 3) Predatory Lending
In regards to Education, Jon wanted to find out where money was being spent and go from there. Drew wants quality teachers, reduced class size and getting the money into the classrooms. Kathy was interested in pre-school programs, strengthening Math and Science and having up to 65% of the money spent in the classrooms.
Asked about illegal immigration, Kathy supported a temporary worker program, Jon wanted Pres. Bush to be more active on it and would like tougher legislation. He said that illegals shouldn't get any scholarships. Drew wanted no guest worker program, crack down on illegals and more border enforcement.
On the question of an anti-abortion bill, they all said they'd support one. On the issue of health care costs, they all agreed that tort reform was needed and they'd support the Patient's Right to Know. (Legislation that would allow patients to know medical costs up front so they can compare prices). The last question was about the Highway Commission which they all agreed needs to be abolished and the highway money spend on areas of the state that are growing and generating revenue.
I talked to Kathy after the Forum. In her beginning and ending statements she talk about having run as a Democrat in a previous election and that she now was a Republican. I asked if she was always going to have to explain her positions then and now. She said that yes she was going to have to. She said even running as a Democrat she felt out of place. She was pro-life and that wasn't accepted within the Democrat party. When she ran against Dugger, some one commented to her that she had more in common with Dugger than the Democrats. I asked her what made her change to the Republican party and she answered 9/11. She said she saw how Pres. Bush and Rudy Giuliani reacted and was very impressed. She didn't vote for Bush in 2000, but voted for him in 2004. She also commented that she didn't like the positions the Democrats have been taking. She definitely doesn't like Howard Dean.
OK, now my impressions of the candidates. Both Jon and Drew are very passionate about the Republican party and want to represent the Republican ideas and principles in Little Rock. I think they'd both do an excellent job. Kathy does not publicly show the same enthusiasm and drive that Jon and Drew do. I think that will hinder her. She is more introverted and reserved. I do think that there is a great story in Kathy. What drew her to the Republican party, what did she see in Pres. Bush and Giuliani, how did the Democrats let her down? I think that would be a compelling story that would interest people.