[Editor’s Note: The following coverage – story and photo – of Leslie Rutledge’s speech at a recent Southeast Arkansas TEA Party meeting was provided by TEA Party member Linda Davis.]

Leslie Rutledge

Leslie Rutledge

When it comes to bullies,Leslie Rutledge says she won’t tolerate them.

“Not in local or state governments, not in the schoolyard or even in the White House,” Rutledge said.

“Now the bullies are not just at school or in the park,” she said. “They are lurking on line waiting to do unspeakable harm to our children and behind seemingly innocent and helpful phone calls to seniors.”

Rutledge, a candidate for Arkansas Attorney General, spoke about the problems of “bullying” at the October 14 meeting of the Southeast Arkansas TEA Party.

Because she believes that America is suffering under a bullying, overreaching government, Rutledge said state control is the best control.

“I’ve seen it in our schools,” she said.

Rutledge told the group that while Clarksville was the most prominent case, several Arkansas school districts were poised to have trained staff and security officers armed to protect the children in their schools.

“However, Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel ruled against Arkansas school districts having armed personnel on their campuses,” she said. “Local school districts should be able to make the decisions for their schools. The administrators know their communities and should have control over how to protect and educate their children.”

Rutledge said the “overreaching federal government” is not only attacking the Second Amendment rights — rights she says she firmly supports — but it is also attacking the Tenth Amendment, which guarantees power to the states.

“This attack on our Tenth Amendment has our states in a stranglehold,” she said. “The fees and regulations being imposed by the federal government are destroying businesses that want to expand and grow. Arkansas does not need to be dependent on the federal government. We need more jobs, lower taxes and more businesses; and we need fewer government regulations on those businesses. Any changes we can make to increase Arkansas’ independence from the federal government will be for the betterment of the state. Arkansas needs a strong attorney general to join us with other states and to be out front in issues of defending our state from the federal government.

“On my first day in office,” she said, “I plan to call President Obama and tell him that Arkansas is closed for regulation and open for business. It is time Arkansas has an attorney general who will put a shutdown on the federal government’s power over our state.”

Asked if she, as attorney general, would be able to work with the governor, she said she would.

“Yes, it’s important to have a strong attorney general to be able to maintain the checks and balances on the governor, and to be able to work with him and candidly tell him when things won’t work,” she said.

Rutledge said that citizens need people in office who are solution-oriented, who will go in and see what is not working and try to fix it. “

We need to eliminate the waste and repetition of services in areas of our government,” she said. “I plan to review the scope of the position of the attorney general to see how to narrow it down. I am a firm believer in the old saying about teaching a man to fish. We have gone too far in giving away the fish and creating a dependence on government. We need drug tests and required job training for people who apply for government benefits, and we need an attorney general who will work to make Arkansas and our people as independent as possible.”

Rutledge is a practicing attorney who grew up in Batesville. The daughter of an elementary special education teacher and a lawyer and judge, she said her family was “conservative before being conservative was cool.”

Rutledge, 38, has had a long career in the legal field working in the Arkansas Court of Appeals as a clerk for now Arkansas Supreme Court Justice Josephine Hart and for former Governor Mike Huckabee, both while he was Governor of Arkansas and during his campaign for President in the last election cycle. She has served as Counsel for the Republican National Committee.