Congressional candidate French Hill spoke on Tuesday at the Conway Noon Lions Club.
Hill, a Republican banker and former senior policy advisor in the George H.W. Bush administration from Little Rock, said he was running for office because he didn’t want to "just sit back and be the critic," paraphrasing Theodore Roosevelt, and to try to bring economic development to the state.
Hill said that there are fewer jobs in Arkansas now than there were in 2007, and that he would have an "a philosophical approach to" decision-making if elected, with his stance on legislation guided by the question "Is this going to grow our economy?"
With a growing economy, he said, "everything else takes care of itself," including defense and social services for the poor. Speaking on the problem of young people not finding jobs, Hill said that he’d be in favor of career-track vocational training for high school students, because "not everybody needs to go to college and not everybody needs to have the aspiration that they’re a failure if they don’t go to college."
He also said he would work toward energy independence, including solar and wind power, and away from buying oil from "people who hate us, or who hate our way of life."
In taking questions, Hill said that the President, house and senate all generally agree that the 35-percent "corporate tax" is too high, and he’s disappointed that a reduction hasn’t been agreed upon.
Another question involved what a Lions Club member described as a welfare policy "where people can get more money for not working than for working." Hill said that he’d favor more incentives to get unemployed people back to work, and that the Clinton administration and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich had effective incentives that eroded over time.
Hill is running against Democrat Pat Hays, former mayor of North Little Rock, and Libertarian Debbie Standiford for Arkansas’ Second Congressional District.