Chris Jones Shares Vision to Lift Up Arkansas During Arkansas Gubernatorial Debate


Chris Jones Shares Vision to Lift Up Arkansas During Arkansas Gubernatorial Debate; Sarah Sanders Doesn’t Show Up

LITTLE ROCK – Dr. Chris Jones, the Democratic nominee for Arkansas governor, joined by third-party candidate Ricky Dale Harrington Jr., participated in Wednesday’s televised gubernatorial debate, hosted by KATV and moderated by KATV’s Chris May. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the Republican nominee, did not show up and her absence was represented by an empty chair.

“It’s always a great night to serve and show up for Arkansas, and it’s important that those seeking to be chief executive of the state show up to share the experience and values they’ll bring to the job, and to share their vision for the state,” Jones said. “I believe I showed that I’m the only candidate in this race with real plans to lead Arkansas forward. The conversation with Ricky and I was great, the only sad part is that Sarah didn’t respect Arkansas enough to show up.”

The two candidates present addressed several important issues including teacher pay, the Dobbs decision, community safety, policing, healthcare, and fiscal responsibility. In several instances, Jones provided tangible examples of actions he would take to support Arkansans including his Teacher Pay Plus plan to improve school education, supporting rural hospitals by renegotiating the Medicaid reimbursement rate, and addressing specific infrastructure challenges – like the Diamond City water and sewage system which will fail in the next few years and runoff into the Arkansas River, if action isn’t taken. 

“I’m thankful for the opportunity to speak to Arkansans, and I’m appreciative of the opportunity to show up,” said Jones in his closing remarks, crediting his upbringing as a 7th-generation Arkansan as the foundation for his success in education, business and leadership. “I see an Arkansas where everyone can work together at the table and really lift us all up and provide opportunities for all Arkansans – no matter what your last name is or how many zeroes you have in your bank account, no matter what you look like or where you live. That’s the Arkansas that we need, that we can have, and it starts with spreading PB&J (high-quality education starting with Preschool, solid infrastructure starting with Broadband, and real economic development starting with high-paying Jobs) across the state and then it builds to us being ready for a 21st century economy.”

Sanders, who reportedly skipped the debate in favor of attending the Tiger Tunes performance at Ouachita Baptist University, denied several invitations from KATV to participate in the debate on any night.

“The Republican nominee Sarah Huckabee Sanders declined our invitation to appear on this — or any other — night but that invitation stands throughout this debate,” said KATV’s Chris May as he began the debate. Sanders never showed up to accept the invitation.

Sanders’ avoidance of the debate breaks from long-standing expectations of Arkansans that candidates seeking their votes show up for debates and put their plans on display for voters, but it’s not surprising since Sanders has avoided town halls, media interviews and public appearances throughout the campaign. Meanwhile, Jones’ grassroots campaign has focused on meeting voters across the state through his Promise of Arkansas and Walk A Mile In Your Shoes tours. Jones has visited every county of Arkansas to listen, learn and share his vision for spreading opportunity across the state like “PB&J” – high-quality education starting with Preschool, solid infrastructure starting with Broadband access for everyone, and real economic development starting with good paying Jobs.

“Voters have a choice: A hard-working Arkansan who shows up for all Arkansans or my opponent. I work hard to meet every opportunity to share my experience and vision for lifting up every Arkansan across the state. I’m the only candidate running for governor with the executive leadership experience to do the job, and the only one who will show up everyday to make the Arkansas government work for all our neighbors – and actually wants to govern. My only ambition is to help unlock the promise of Arkansas, a state that created the foundation for my success, so that others can thrive as I have,” Jones said. “I’ll always show up for neighbors across our great state, share a vision and stand on my own merits. On the contrary, Arkansans are telling me that they don’t see or hear from Sarah Sanders. Together, we can choose community, progress and love over chaos, entitlement and extremism.”

At this time, the only other gubernatorial debate scheduled is on PBS on Oct. 21. 

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