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Tuesday, October 25, 2005 

A Place Called Hope...

Hutchinson touts leadership, balanced approach

By TODD BURROW, Hope Star Writer

Gubernatorial candidate Asa Hutchinson made one of what is sure to be many stops in Hope Thursday.

Hutchinson, a republican, squares off against democrat Lt. Gov. Mike Beebe for governor next November.

Hutchinson touted his leadership ability and economic development plans as reasons voters in Hempstead County should elect him to succeed Gov. Mike Huckaby, a Hope native.

Hutchinson's task is large if he plans on carrying the county, particularly since Sen. John Kerry won the county against Pres. Bush in 2004 and Huckaby lost it in his successful 2002 campaign for governor.

Still, he says building on the foundations left by Huckaby is one of his primary goals.

“I am passionate about economic development,” Hutchison said. “I believe in using the government to help create jobs, particularly for younger people.”

He said reconstructing the state's tax system also is important, especially when it comes to keeping business in the state.

“We lost a plant to Mississippi because we didn't have a (sales tax) exemption,” Hutchinson said. “We in this state need to look at exempting the sales tax on electricity for industry.”

He also added that it's extremely hard to attract business to the area when “they get hit with a state income tax.“I think we need a new way of thinking. We need to look at a stimulus package that puts more money into the pockets of individuals.”

He said Huckaby laid a good foundation for economic growth and as governor, he'd use the office of the governor as a bully pulpit.

“I want us to look at bringing manufacturing jobs and high tech jobs to this state because that is where the growth is going to be for the coming decades.”

Since the state has been trying to fix its secondary and lower education problems, Hutchinson said raising taxes “over and over” again is not the best way to solve the problem.

Hutchinson gained national notoriety during former Pres. Clinton's impeachment hearings as a congressman from northwest Arkansas, then moved over to the Drug Enforcement Agency from 2001 to 2003 in the Bush administration, where he touted the fact that on his watch, there was a 13 percent drop in teenage drug use.

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You would hope, no pun intended, a reporter could correctly spell the Governors name correctly.

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