Meet Dianne Curry: Arkansas Democratic US House Candidate

Oct 12, 2015

Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives Dianne Curry at KUAR in advance of the filing deadline for the primary election.
Credit Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

The only announced Democratic candidate for the U.S. House seat in central Arkansas called for an increase in federal education spending, moving from a minimum wage to a so-called living wage, and embraced President Obama in an interview with KUAR.

Notes on the interview and Curry follow:

Education

Curry said No Child Left Behind should be "re-vamped."

"The whole thing with NCLB was a good initiative but it's about the funding. You got to make sure you have the dollars behind it to make sure it's effective," she said.

Scholarship opportunities for higher education need to be increased, according to Curry's plan to lift people out of poverty. She pointed to the expiration of Congressional authorization for Perkins loans on September 30th as a failure she would address.

Minimum Wage

Curry did not say whether she agreed with calls from Democratic presidential candidates for a $15 an hour minimum wage but she said current wages leave too many in poverty.

"At some point, I have some thoughts and concerns about living wages that would move with the consumer index." Curry has reservations about higher wages as well, "We want to make sure we are taking care of our small businesses that could be affected by that and making sure that it's done proportionally."

President Barack Obama

"President Obama has done a tremendous job. He's done some great things while being in office. In fact, the affordable health care is one that's good for all. Of course, the law at some point probably needs to be tweaked," said Curry.

Planned Parenthood and Abortion

Dianne Curry also suggested she'd be interested at looking at increasing funding to women's health services offered at providers other than Planned Parenthood.

"What I want to see more of what's going to happen if, if that's taken away. You've got to have a resolution on how we would address all those other needs that are being taken away. I think you've got to work toward consensus," said Curry.

She believes "there are some good parts" of Roe v Wade and in the past said Republican incumbent French Hill is "playing politics" with Planned Parenthood and "limiting women's access" to non-abortion healthcare services.

Climate Change/EPA Regulations

Climate change is a legitimate problem to tackle for Curry but a regard for workers employed in industries that could see declines, like coal, trumps a fast pace on the Clean Power Plan.

"Carbon change is a concern with our environment. I do like the initiative," said Curry. "We definitely want to take our time and really analyze what needs to happen with that. Of course, I look at the coal plant here in Arkansas, so it would definitely be an impact."

Campaign Finance

Curry is also interested in campaign finance reform but the focus of her comments to KUAR was not the Citizens United court decision but filing fees imposed by Arkansas's Democratic and Republican parties.

"The dollars that it cost to file is really ridiculous, it's really to me almost unconstitutional," said Curry. "It's unfair to say you can't be in this race because you can't pay that fee."

Middle East/Russia

Curry said it's important to education people that "not all people in the Middle East are terrorists" and stressed support for Israel. She did not have much comment about recent Russian military action in Syria in support of the Assad regime.

"I would like to do a little bit more research on that but I would think we'd want to make sure that it's neutral. We definitely don't want it to be in a negative way toward us," said Curry.

Background

The filing deadline for 2016 office seekers in Arkansas is less than a month away. It runs November 2nd through the 9th. Republican French Hill is serving his first term and is seeking re-election. 

Curry served on the Little Rock School Board for three terms beginning in 2006 and worked in state government for 27 years in education and public audits. She has been active previously with the Urban League of Little Rock and the city's NAACP chapter. Curry is currently employed as a tax consultant for small businesses and families.

She is a native of Malvern and resides in Little Rock.