Clemmer Announces Congressional Run, Talks Private Option Delay

Oct 30, 2013

Clemmer's Full Remarks at the Bottom of the Page

Ann Clemmer in the Old Supreme Court at the Capitol.
Credit Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

The congressional field vying for the Republican nomination, to fill Tim Griffin’s seat, widened Wednesday with State Representative Ann Clemmer officially entering the race. Clemmer, of Benton, styled herself as a candidate willing to fight through vetoes as she did in the legislative session to help pass a Voter ID law and greater restrictions on abortion.

However, Clemmer took a different tone when asked about the recent government shutdown.

“I would probably want to be on the side of advising my colleagues not to start a fight they don’t see a victorious end to. I think I shared with my class I remembered the prior government shutdown and I don’t think it ended all that well. I was not extremely supportive of the shutdown to say the least,” said Clemmer.

Her entry into the race follows announcements this week by Little Rock banker French Hill and retired Colonel Conrad Reynolds. KUAR reached out to Reynolds but at this time he has not responded.

Hill said he wants the focus of his campaign to be economic issues, “I’m a practicing Catholic and I’ve got my private views on matters around traditional family values but my emphasis, what I seek in running for public office is to deal with what I think most families are interested in. Which is opportunity to have a job, have a rising personal income, be able to create a future for their family, their kids, and grandkids.”

Clemmer said her concerns are what she calls unwanted intrusions by the federal government into the state. She says the Affordable Care Act should be defunded or delayed and hinted she may feel the same way about Arkansas’s unique expansion of Medicaid, known as the private option.

“My expectation is that there will be no immediate implementation of the private option because there are too many unknowns in D.C. I think the whole thing may be frozen. When last I talked to Senator Sanders he was talking to me about some of the problems with the legislation and that there may very well be delays on implementing it,” said Clemmer.

Clemmer’s announcement centered on standing up to what she calls the power of D.C., while Hill said he plans to use his experience to work with others.

“I look towards a vision and the vision would be we want rising personal incomes, greater economic growth. Given that, I have a long track record as a legislative staffer in the Senate as well as a policy maker in Washington to reach and find both democrats and republicans that share that vision,” said Hill.

All three candidates tout lowering taxes as a key to attracting better jobs.