by Mark Moore
I am not a rich man. We are a one car (2008 Ford Escape) family who live in a small and modest home. I don’t have a 401K or own any stocks. Nor do I live anywhere near district 20, which is around Mena and points south. I have not spoken with Marc Rosson in years. Yet, with the concurrence of my wonderful wife, I just donated five-hundred of our family’s hard-earned dollars to the Marc Rosson campaign. If you would give me a couple of minutes, I would like to explain why.
First, let me tell what is not the reason why I donated $500 to the Marc Rosson campaign. It is not about revenge on the incumbent Nate Bell. That would be an unworthy motive and if it were so I would not be writing this column, for I would be ashamed of my motive. It is true that, from a positive beginning, Bell and I have clashed on several issues. These include the use of debt for routine highway maintenance and his flip-flop on voting for the so-called “private” option version of Obamacare.
Our latest clash involves a change to the ballot access laws via a bill whose sole co-sponsor was Bell. Readers may know that I am of the opinion legislatures should be filled via independent candidates who don’t owe their office to a political party based in D.C. but rather understand that they owe only the people of their district. Further, the system of checks and balances our Founders set up simply cannot work properly when the same political clubs control ballot access for both state officials and federal officials, for both Executive Branch and Legislative Branch. That is why I helped form “Neighbors of Arkansas” to encourage people to run for the state legislature and local offices as independents. That group is currently suing the state of Arkansas over the changes in the law instigated by Bell, which make it much harder for people to file as independents.
Still, the scripture says “never take your own revenge.” I had made up my mind to stay out of Bell’s race. I did not even bother to find out who the candidates running against him were, until recently when a prominent Republican who is tired of Bell’s antics called me and said “who is the Libertarian candidate running against Nate Bell? We may need to support them.” Only then did I offer to find out, but it occurred to me that if the candidate was a good person then helping them win that seat and ridding the legislature of Nate Bell would be doing a service to almost all Arkansans. It would be a plus for the Republicans in that it would improve their brand, it would be a plus to the Democrats who are no doubt tired of his abrasiveness, and it would be a service to independents who want access to the ballot for other alternatives on equal terms.
When I discovered that the “Libertarian” candidate was Marc Rosson, I was fired up. When I tell you how I know him, you may understand why. Years ago, when the Tea Party came on strong and was a hot item, I helped start one in my county. We were going to hold a big candidate forum, and all the candidates for Senate and Congress wanted to come. We voted that as a condition to attend the forum that they had to answer a Candidate Questionnaire put together by our evaluation committee, which I chaired.
The questionnaire consisted of 44 questions from the eight or nine members of our committee, most of them multiple choice. Half of the questions were over the subject of what it meant to keep one’s oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States. If you want to see those questions, here is the article I wrote which complained that none of the candidates (except unknown Fred Ramey) were willing to have their answers to those questions revealed. That is right, all of those great statesmen balked at having their answers to those questions revealed. That includes Senator John Boozman, Congressman Steve Womack, and Former state Republican Chairman Gilbert Baker.
They all balked and lobbied the Chairman heavily to get out of it. The Executive Committee took two more votes to confirm that answering the questionnaire was a pre-condition to be included in the forum. At that point the Chairman, who they got to, announced that he had the surveys (not the person they were supposed to be sent to) and that he had promised the candidates that he would never reveal the answers to anyone. He said he was going to “dig in his heels” about his unilateral decision to keep the answers concealed. I left the group in disgust. The big forum never happened, nor did much else of note happen. Since that time, the group has collapsed on its own uselessness and is now being rebuilt by new leadership.
Right after that another candidate came to my attention- a guy in South Arkansas willing to jump in the race, back then as a Republican, against Congressman Mike Ross at the height of his popularity. The guy was Marc Rosson. Marc volunteered to take the quiz without any restrictions against making his answers to any question public. And he made an “A” on the questions. We don’t agree on every issue, but big picture, he gets it. In my book, that makes him a better man than those others. I think he’s a better man than Nate Bell too. Bell is a stinker and I don’t know which side will breathe a bigger sigh of relief when he goes, Democrats or Republicans. But I did not give Marc Rosson $500 just because Nate Bell has gone so bad. I did it because Marc Rosson is that good. If you can afford to do the state a favor, would you send him a little something too?