Curtis Coleman

The following article was written by Linda Davis, a member of the Southeast Arkansas TEA Party.

The guest speaker at a special Ashley County meeting of the Southeast Arkansas TEA Party was Curtis Coleman, a candidate for Governor of Arkansas in the 2014.

He is a successful businessman, a Constitutional scholar, and an outspoken supporter of the Second Amendment. He was also the keynote speaker at the Southeast Arkansas TEA Party’s Second Amendment Sportsman’s Rally in 2012.

Coleman began his presentation by explaining how the United States Constitution came into being and how, in 1913, changes in the way U.S. Senators were elected removed the only voice the states had in the Federal Government. Before 1913, U. S. Senators were elected by state legislatures and sent to Washington, D.C. to stand up for the interests of their states. However, since 1913, Senators have been elected by popular vote, as are U. S. Representatives. This has caused the gradual erosion of the relationship the states have with the Federal Government. The only powers granted to the Federal Government by the Constitution are found in Article 1, Section 8 and affirmed in the 10th Amendment. All other powers are given to the states and the people.

“I am convinced that if we recover the constitutional republic given to us by the Founders, that recovery will come from the states and the people. We must regain the balance of power between the states and Washington, D.C. The states must act together to recover that balance,” Coleman said. “Many governors today believe and think that the states must push back to maintain our rights and freedoms.” He went on to say, “The right to privacy and the right to own property are the twin pillars of liberty and freedom according to the Founders. They so intensely believed that people should be able to protect privacy and property, that they created the Second Amendment in The Bill of Rights.”

Finally, on the topic of the Constitution, Coleman said that when the Founders created the Constitution, the single purpose of the document, the most unique in history, was to protect the people from unlimited and unrestrained government. “We must be prepared to make sacrifices equal in magnitude to the sacrifices made by the Founders. Perhaps not the same type of sacrifice, but equal in magnitude,”  he said.

As an example of ways that states can change their relationship with the Federal Government, Coleman cited the fact that the Arkansas Department of Environmental Equality spends most of its money enforcing federal regulations. “This is unconstitutional,” Coleman said.  He also said that he is not anti-regulation, and he believes in being a good steward of the earth and our environment; but state agencies should not be enforcing federal regulations.

In answer to a question about the Arkansas budget, Coleman said he is concerned about the budget which is said to be a balanced budget, but is not actually balanced at all. He also stated that he is thrilled about the strong abortion law which was passed in Arkansas last week. “This could be a vehicle which changes or repeals Roe v Wade,” he said.

When asked for his thoughts on Obamacare, Coleman told the group that ending the influence of Obamacare could be difficult once it is implemented. “We needed to refuse to implement the healthcare exchanges, but implementing the exchanges made it possible to expedite Obamacare in Arkansas,” he said.

On the topic of jobs and industry, Coleman told the group that Arkansas is the second most heavily regulated state in America, businesswise.  “It is easier to start a business or enter a new vocation in 48 other states, than here in Arkansas”, he said.  To bring jobs and industry to Arkansas, Coleman said he wants to decentralize the control and funding of economic development in Arkansas. “Each county can develop its own economic plan, and it would be supported by the state”, he said. “I want to create Free Enterprise Zones in areas that are depressed economically. Companies can create jobs in these areas with no state income tax imposed on them,” he said.  Finally, the third practice he would encourage to bring industry to Arkansas would be to give tax incentives to companies that locate in Arkansas, buy Arkansas products and hire Arkansas residents. “This is being done in Shreveport, Louisiana, and that city is suffering no recession and is growing rapidly,” Coleman said.

After answering several more questions, Coleman closed with the following statement: “We are perpetuating poverty in Arkansas. I want to give people a way to get out of the ditch rather than become comfortable and happy in the ditch.  We need skilled craftsmen and tradesmen in Arkansas. We must put ‘shop’ back in high school curriculum and take other steps to train and educate people to create a skilled workforce in Arkansas.”