Politics

Chris Jones, Democratic Candidate for Governor of Arkansas, Issues Statement Against Donald Trump’s Claims Intended

Press Release

LITTLE ROCK, AR – Dr. Chris Jones, Democratic nominee for governor of Arkansas, issued this oped statement in response to recent claims by former president Donald Trump that appear intended to suppress voter turnout in Arkansas. Election denial and devaluing voting have the consequence of lowering voter registration and turnout, especially in Arkansas which ranks lowest among all 50 states in voter engagement. Arkansans, indeed all Americans of all backgrounds and political parties,  should value free and fair elections. Any anti-voter sentiment should be denounced and rejected.

Yesterday marked the 10th anniversary of National Voter Registration Day. As baseless claims of election fraud are spread and rules to make voting more difficult are implemented, what that day represents has never been more critical for preservation of our democracy.

In 2020, Donald Trump claimed that the only way he could lose the presidential election was if it was stolen from him. This began as a preemptive claim and then when he did in fact lose, he doubled down on the lie with tragic results. Based on these lies, insurrectionists invaded the Capitol on January 6, resulting in the deaths of five law enforcement officers.

Now, Donald Trump is at it again, spawning preemptive state-size versions of this lie. Talking about my home state of Arkansas, he recently presented the inevitability of a Sarah Huckabee Sanders (his hand-picked candidate) win unless the election was stolen. 

First, these claims intentionally undermine the power of the voter, and the strength of voting to make known the will of the people. Second, these baseless claims dismiss our grassroots movement that is bringing together women, minority voters, workers, moderates, and even Republicans. 

But we will not be deterred. Maintaining our faith in the notion that hard work matters, we will continue to visit every corner of Arkansas, talking face-to-face with voters, whose voices deserve to be heard. Arkansas voters will decide this race, not former President Donald Trump and his cronies.

Spreading doubt about the power of the vote has an out-sized impact in a state like Arkansas. Our state has the lowest levels of voter registration and voter turnout of any state. More than a million Arkansans who could have voted in the 2020 election did not—just less than the number of people who did actually vote. These statistics are a crisis of inaccurate representation, not just here in Arkansas but in any state where politicians have made it harder for people to exercise their right to vote.

I’ve talked with politicos, donors, and regular people who say the same thing: “you are a great candidate, but you are in the wrong state”. Pundits dismiss Arkansas as a red state. They think we’re hopeless, and not ready for good and non-partisan leadership. People have given up on us.

Here’s the thing: people who say this don’t know the real Arkansas. Our Natural State is beautiful. Arkansans are among the smartest people I know, and we have the brilliance, tools, and innovations to address the challenges in our state. Admittedly, the only thing missing is a governor who can serve as a kind of drum major to bring all these resources together to catapult our great state. 

We’re no red state. We are a non-voting state. It’s not a bug in the system; it’s a feature designed by those who would suppress voting such that fewer cast ballots.

I am on the ground — in every single county and visiting places candidates have not been in decades. One woman I met in the Arkansas Delta was not registered to vote. She was driving by my team as we knocked on doors and asked why we were in her neighborhood. When she learned, she registered to vote on the spot. Even better, she made sure everyone in her truck was registered and took forms for her neighbors. She told me, “No politician has ever talked to us. No one ever cares about us.” 

This is exactly why we put in more than 2 million steps this summer – talking to people and listening to Arkansans. I’ve heard from thousands of people, people with real issues, real concerns, and real ideas about how to make life better for themselves and their neighbors. Their voices matter.

In a democracy, when we write each other off, for whatever reason, we’re being anti-democratic. Those that intentionally dissuade or, even worse, actively put up roadblocks to prevent voting are perpetrating the real voter fraud. Voter suppression leads to the election of candidates that do not represent the true will of the electorate. 

As we celebrate 10 years of National Voter Registration Day, let’s remember that democracy means that we have to continually show up. It means people must have the tools and opportunities to have their voices heard, even when we disagree.

Instead of dismissing whole sections of our state and country as too Southern, too red, or too ignorant to choose between candidates at the polls, let’s shift the narrative. Think about the people whose voices aren’t being heard and how to lift them up. Donate to groups who are fighting for voting rights and voter education. Learn how to register people to vote–it’s easy.

Yesterday was National Voter Registration Day. But today, tomorrow, and every day until Election Day, my team and I are working to get people out to vote in Arkansas. I am inviting you to join us, wherever you are in the country. In Arkansas, in Georgia, in Texas, in Florida — everywhere in America. Because democracy and freedom are on the ballot on November 8.

About Chris Jones

Dr. Chris Jones, the 2022 Democratic nominee for Governor of Arkansas, is a physicist, minister, educator, non-profit executive leader, father and husband. Chris, a Pine Bluff, Arkansas native, is a son of a preacher and an educator and was raised with a strong sense of faith. He attended Morehouse College on a NASA Scholarship for physics and math, then went on to study at MIT becoming a nuclear engineer and earning a Ph.D. in urban planning. After becoming ordained as a minister, Chris returned home to Arkansas and led the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub. Through this work, he has seen firsthand how disparities within Arkansas have gotten worse, not better. He believes there is much room for growth, including improving public education opportunities in every community, strengthening infrastructure from roads to broadband access, protecting and securing our right to vote, and bridging the rural and urban divide. Chris has faith in Arkansas’s potential, and he is running for governor to ensure every person in Arkansas has an opportunity to succeed. Chris is the proud husband to Dr. Jerrilyn Jones, an emergency medicine physician and U.S. Air Force combat veteran who served in Afghanistan. Together, they are proud parents to three daughters.

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