Arkansans Answer: What Would A Better Life Look Like In Your Community?

Jul 15, 2016

Adam Simon (on the left)
Credit Anna Conard / KUAR

This election season, NPR and KUAR are asking: What would a better life look like in your community, and what do you hope politicians can do to help? KUAR's Adam Simon and Anna Conard set out to see what some Arkansans had to say about it. They then sat down with KUAR's Karen Tricot Steward for a debrief.

Anna Conard (on the right)
Credit Adam Simon / KUAR

Interview transcription and photos:

Karen: Adam and Anna, welcome.

Adam & Anna: Thank You. Great to Be Here.

Karen: So, both of you went out to several locations throughout central Arkansas asking people about the elections. Adam, what was on people’s minds?

Adam: Well Karen, first of all, we talked to a wide variety of people from different socio-economic backgrounds. We were trying our hardest to get equal representation here in Arkansas. We noticed a few common themes in our interviews, like education.

Kanisha Hatton
Credit Anna Conard / KUAR

Kanisha Hatton: "People are feeling like schools are starting to become more segregated again."

Jasmine Larry: "I'd like to have more kids' programs. People don't need to get shot up just because of stupid reasons."

Adam: Immigration was another topic that we heard about.

Somer Brown: "Immigration is going to be something that's really important. We are a southern state. I like the fact that we encourage people from many countries to come into the United States to have a better life."

Somer Brown
Credit Anna Conard / KUAR

David Fredieu: "They do not assimilate well. All the places where there are Muslims. All they have to do is drive a jeep up in the middle of this farmers market and we're history."

Adam: And we heard a lot about the political system's structure, nationally and locally, as well as the process of voting.

Rachel: "Nobody can agree on anything and no one is willing to budge on either side."

Melissa Lavender: "When the primaries are basically for people who are already signed up with a party, how is that a fair election?"

Jon Atwood and Melissa Lavender
Credit Anna Conard / KUAR

David Werling: "People are being bought by lobbyists."

Karen: So Anna, did people seem to have hope that some of these problems could be solved?

Anna: What we found was that people were very passionate about these issues, but at the same time, many felt like the solutions weren't going to come from their local or national government.

Anonymous: "I don't know the answer, but we need to do something about our young people. It starts in the home. I think more home training.”

Belinda Sanders
Credit Adam Simon / KUAR

Belinda Sanders: "All the killing going on right now, it's kind of scary. I don't think a law needs to be passed. I just think we need to work through it at home."

Tony Galicia: "The people can change only if they give their life to the Jesus Christ.”

Adam: And, along the same lines, we also found that some people actually seemed to feel insecure about their own level knowledge, as well as their community's level of knowledge, when it comes to politics and some were just not interested in looking into the issues.

Somer Brown (Already Pictured): "There's just a lot to learn. It's a huge learning curve, in particular if you come from a poorly educated background, which is very common here."

Clement Dedman III: "I've never tried to vote, because I always feel that the county and the state is going to pick who they want in office."

Jon Atwood (Already Pictured): "You've got those few hours there at the end of the day and you have to decide what you want to do with those after work. So, destroy the two-party system or eat a healthy dinner. Try to eat a healthy dinner.”

Te'a
Credit Anna Conard / KUAR

Te'a: "I haven't voted, but I'm planning on it. I might vote. I'm not sure exactly. I haven't looked into it, but I think I'm going to vote.”

Karen: And we've heard these kinds of sentiments echoed by some political scientists, those sentiments being that many voters are acting on limited information and that they really don't make up their minds until very late in the game.

Adam: Yeah, we definitely heard several people that we talked to express those feelings.

Karen: Well, Adam Simon and Anna Conard, thanks for getting out there and capturing the thoughts of people in central Arkansas.

Adam & Anna: Thanks for having us. It was a pleasure to do it.

Karen: And, you can hear more thoughts from Arkansans on the upcoming elections at kuar.org. The conversation doesn't end here, of course. Tell us your thoughts by e-mailing elections@kuar.org. I'm Karen Tricot Steward, KUAR News.