CONWAY, Ark. – Tuesday marked the second day of debates for Arkansas candidates on the ballot in November, with the day starting with those vying to be the next lieutenant governor.
Democrat Kelly Krout, Libertarian Frank Gilbert and Republican Attorney General Leslie Rutledge took the stage in Conway for the Arkansas PBS-hosted event, which covered several topics including education, qualifications and energy policy.
Rutledge has served as attorney general for the last eight years and said she believes that experience can be useful as lieutenant governor. Among her plans, should she win, would be treating the position as a full-time job and bringing on the necessary staff.
“We’re going to use that same microphone in the lieutenant governor’s office to be the economic ambassador,” Rutledge said. “To grow more jobs here in the Natural State.”
Libertarian candidate Gilbert, who has a background in law enforcement and city government, said he would take the opposite approach, saying the position of lieutenant governor is an ultimately unnecessary role. He promised that if he were to achieve the position, he would work to make it smaller and less operational.
“To allow our motto ‘The people rule’ to actually be taken seriously for a change,” Gilbert said of his intention with the office. “I’d work on issues like that and save the state some money.”
Democrat candidate Krout is a social worker and explained that she believes that job has made her a better listener. She said her taking on the office would let her become a bullhorn for advocacy issues.
“I am really looking forward to just being able to be a voice for Arkansans,” Krout said. “I’m not looking to make this position any more complicated than it already is.”
These debates are happening all week. The candidates for secretary of state faced off later Tuesday, and the debate for those running for attorney general is scheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday.