By J.R. Davis
Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter (D) had to give up a re-election bid for his office when he ran for U.S. Senate earlier this year. Over the next two weeks we'll be looking at the two candidates who hope to fill that position. This week we look at the man representing the G.O.P.
Mark Darr is the Republican candidate in the race for Arkansas' lieutenant governor. Born and raised in the River Valley, he's spent the last 3 years in Springdale along with wife Kim, and their two children, but the small business owner will be the first to tell you that the political scene is new to him.
"I've never ran for politics before. To be honest with you, I wanted to go to work for somebody else and support somebody else but I just felt like there was not enough ordinary men and women who wanted to take a stand," said Darr, owner of The Mad Pizza Company in Rogers. And it's that experience as a restaurant owner which Darr says has given him the tools he needs to lead.
"Job creation comes from small business owners," added Darr, saying, "It doesn't come from elected officials. So as a small business owner, I take a offense when I hear a politician say that they've created jobs."
The Mansfield native, who currently leads his Democratic opponent, State Senator Shane Broadway, by 17 points, believes people are fed up with the same old politics. He says voters want someone new - a candidate they can trust - which is why, if elected, he'll make it a point to create an online check book for the state to let the people of Arkansas know exactly how their tax dollars are being spent.
"In business, if I buy something and need to get reimbursed then I need a receipt and it shouldn't be any different for the people elected to office," said Darr, adding, "If they go on state trips or legislative conferences, we need to make sure that it's not just a family vacation for them. We need to know, one, is it useful for the people of Arkansas and if it's not they don't need to go."
Again, if elected, other issues Darr vows to take on includes immigration as well as filing a lawsuit against the healthcare bill which he says the majority of Arkansans oppose.