“I try to put myself in your position,” he said. “If I were thinking about voting for Bruce Westerman, there are three things I would want to know. They are: ‘Who am I?’, ‘What have I done?’ and ‘What am I going to do?'”
Who Am I
“To answer the first question, I am a 5th generation Arkansan who was born and raised in Garland County where my family still owns our old homestead property,” Westerman said.
As a youth, Westerman got involved in the FFA program in his community and was later elected the state president of the Arkansas FFA.
Because U.S. Sen. David Pryor was a member of the Agriculture Committee, Westerman was invited to work as a page for Pryor in Washington, D.C. While working for Pryor, Westerman learned a great deal about the functions and mechanics of the government. That was his first real experience with politics and government.
Later, at the University of Arkansas where he studied biological and agricultural engineering and played football player, Westerman met his wife, Sharon. They were married straight out of college and now have four children.
He said his children understand some of the problems the country faces today. “They know that their future is being threatened and that the country’s crushing debt will be on their shoulders,” Westerman said. “However, I am glad to see more and more young people, like my children, getting involved in our country’s future.”
Westerman said family has always been “diehard” conservatives. “We even had a puppy named Reagan, and that was the best dog we ever owned,” he said.
Even earning his Master’s Degree in Forestry at Yale University, where some of the most liberal students and professors can be found, did not affect Westerman’s way of thinking. “I was still able to keep my conservative views and ideals,” he said.
Westerman now works for an engineering firm in the Hot Springs that is involved in the area’s forestry products. Because of this, he has had the opportunity to see real economic development.
“You know, you always hear those in government say they are working on economic development; but I have never seen the government do anything for economic development,” he said. “The government needs to back away and allow people to develop businesses. People are smart, creative and inventive. They know better than the government what is needed to run a business and to make it prosper.”
What Have I Done
Westerman has held a variety of positions in the forestry and agriculture engineering field. He has also been a school board member in the Garland County area where he was able to solve several difficult problems faced by the school district.
He was urged to run for the Arkansas State Legislature, and when elected he realized that he knew very little about the inner workings of such a body. Because he is by nature and profession a problem solver, he jumped into the job at hand and studied the issues, problems and the mechanics of the legislature. His hard work and understanding of the issues led to his being elected the House Minority Leader in the Arkansas House of Representatives.
“And now I have the privilege of serving as the first Republican House Majority Leader in Arkansas in 138 years,” he said.
Westerman’s approach to his work in the legislature is one of research and study. He says he wants to understand the bills and the issues so that he can make the best possible decisions for the state.
He told the group how confusing and involved the budget issues of the state are and how difficult it is to vote at times with the many pressures from constituents, his party and those around him.
” I am the only candidate for this office who has had to push that button and vote with all the pressures that are out there,” he said.
Now, Westerman has been asked to run for the United States House of Representatives for Arkansas District 4.
What Am I Going to Do
“Before I enter into a thing, I always look to see if the Lord wants me to be there or if it is just me,” he said. “I know this run is a duty because we need grounded conservatives in Washington to turn things around. If I go to Washington, I will be one of 435, and that will be difficult. I know that we need problem solvers and we need someone to work for Arkansas. If I am elected, I will probably get assigned to a committee. I will get to know the other members of the committee, and I will work to solve the problems that the committee deals with. I hope to go to Washington, take the skills and abilities that God has given me and work hard to solve the problems faced in the 4th District.”
Westerman says that he sees government regulations destroying businesses.
“Obamacare is a regulation that is damaging health care, businesses and people’s lives,” he said. “Business owners are now spending time trying to decide whether to hire more workers, let workers go, or cut back hours among other things. They need to be thinking about how to make their businesses grow, become more productive and to keep their employees working. Obamacare is frightening business owners about the future.”
Westerman discussed waste, fraud and abuse in government programs, such as Medicaid, and talked about immigration. He is opposed to amnesty. He believes the borders should be secured and the country needs to figure out some way to avoid amnesty while making illegal immigrants go through a process to become legal.
Finally, Westerman said that he sees that people are tired of their lives being run by bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. and in Little Rock.
“Until people get motivated to elect those who will work for them, that problem will remain,” he said. “I am socially conservative, unequivocally pro-life, have an ‘A-plus’ rating from the NRA, and I am a strong supporter of Israel. I want my constituents to hold me accountable, and I will work to put government back to the state and local levels where it works best.”