Congressman Tim Griffin (R) says Fourth District Cong. Tom Cotton will be the GOP nominee for the U.S. Senate in 2014 even if “he doesn’t know it yet.”
Griffin appeared on Talk Business Arkansas this week to discuss the Senate race, GOP politics and the latest from the Pegasus pipeline oil spill in Mayflower.
He said he is pushing ExxonMobil to move the Pegasus pipeline out of the Maumelle watershed after the early March burst damaged homes and the environment, but he warns that pipeline safety – not alternative transportation – will be key to moving forward.
“I have real grave concerns about what might happen if something were to go wrong there.
Because the shape of the land is such that it would be very difficult to clean up any accident in comparison to Mayflower,” said Griffin.
He argued that pipelines are still safer than train or truck transportation and he hoped that stricter federal government guidelines being considered on the controversial Keystone Pipeline project could apply in Arkansas.
“With the Keystone Pipeline for example, there have been numerous studies – there are 57 additional safety measures that the federal government has required with the Keystone Pipeline,” Griffin said.
He said central Arkansas officials want to see if there are any “realistic requirements” that Pegasus could be made to adopt.
Griffin said that moving the pipeline out of Maumelle watershed is a high priority for him, but he’s not convinced ExxonMobil will do it voluntarily, and he said that no federal agency has the jurisdiction to make them move it.
“They may not be willing to and raising their hand to do it, but that’s what we’re going to push them to do,” said Griffin.
HILLARY, NANCY AND TOM COTTON
Having attended the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport dedication on Friday, Griffin said he had great respect for Hillary Clinton’s service to the country.
The former first lady, U.S. Senator and Secretary of State is considered the top frontrunner for the Democratic nomination for President in 2016, but she’s not indicated that she will run.
In Little Rock on Thursday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, the former Speaker of the House, said, “I pray that Hillary Clinton will run for U.S. President in 2016.”
Griffin said that he does not feel Clinton at the top of the ticket would be a detriment to Republican candidates locally or nationally.
“I think the key to Republicans winning is to put up candidates that are full of ideas, that can win regardless of who runs on the other side,” said Griffin.
One of the hottest topics of debate in Arkansas political circles is who will challenge U.S. Senator Mark Pryor (D) in 2014.
Pryor is considered vulnerable due to the GOP gains made in Arkansas during the last two election cycles.
First-term Fourth District Cong. Tom Cotton (R) is rumored to be the top contender for the Republican nomination.
Griffin said he should be. “I believe we will have an outstanding U.S. Senate candidate.
I believe that person will be Tom Cotton. And I believe he will win,” said Griffin, who ruled out a run for higher office late last year after winning a seat on the powerful House Ways and Means committee.
“Whether he’s [Cotton is] planning on it or not, you asked me my opinion, I’m certainly going to encourage him to run,” Griffin said.