In an interview with Talk Business Arkansas, Republican Asa Hutchinson, the GOP’s frontrunner in the 2014 race for governor, says he likes his chances of winning this time around.
“Arkansas has changed its politics. I’ve joked that Asa hasn’t changed, but the state’s changed,” said Hutchinson. “Obviously it’s an open race… but I think what it manifests is a consistent desire on my part… for the State of Arkansas. [My wife and I] left Washington for a good reason. We wanted to come back, build our future here in this state, and continue to contribute to this state.”
Hutchinson lost the governorship to Democrat Mike Beebe in 2006. Hutchinson says he disagrees with Beebe on some policy matters, but believes the governor has done a very good job managing the state. Republican businessman Curtis Coleman is also seeking the GOP gubernatorial nomination.
When he’s not on the campaign trail, Hutchinson said he’s still heading up school safety initiatives for the National Rifle Association. Recommendations from Hutchinson’s team are expected to be released on April 2.
“One of the challenges that the school’s have is you can go out, if you want to increase safety, and hire an expert consultant and pay them a lot of money, but a lot of our rural schools are challenged by funding,” Hutchinson said. “We’re going to have an online assessment tool that a school can go on in a secure fashion. [Schools] can help answer a questionnaire and develop and do their own facility assessment for safety and try to lead them to some best practices.”
Hutchinson admits training programs and changes in laws will also be necessary to increase school safety. Hutchinson says his team is independent and he hopes the NRA accepts the recommendations.