The Democratic Party has long been slow to embrace serious ethics reform. Today though prominent Democrats came out in favor of the sweeping reform that the Regnat Populus ballot proposal would create. The announcement that former Lt. Gov Bill Halter (along with Lisenne Rockefeller, the widow of former Lt. Gov Win Paul Rockefeller) would be joining the effort was followed by an outpouring of support from prominent Democrats. Dustin McDaniel of course voiced his support for the measure, as did 4th district Congressional candidate Gene Jeffress. Then came the endorsement of DPA Chairman Will Bond:
(LITTLE ROCK) Democratic Party of Arkansas Chairman Will Bond released the following statement today regarding the ballot initiative for Regnat Populus:
“As a state legislator, I worked to provide ethics legislation that was similar to aspects of the current ballot initiative. Our state has enacted some positive changes in recent years, but we can, and we must, do better in this regard in order to rebuild the public’s faith in the electoral process.”
“Personally, I am supportive of the ballot initiative and am excited by the grassroots support this initiative has gained. If the initiative makes the ballot, I will gladly provide my support to see it pass.”
Additionally, Rep. Jim Nickels, a Democrat in the State House, has given money to the effort.
This represents a massive change for the Democratic Party. We’re becoming what we should have been all along, the party of ethics in Arkansas.
Some Republicans have gotten on board as well, though not to the same extent Democrats have. Following Bond’s endorsement, Republican Chairman Doyle Webb added his support, and according to Brantley Republican Rep. Duncan Baird was already in support.
This is a huge movement in Arkansas now. When Republicans made gains in the legislature they trumpeted their weak ethics reform bill and showed that it was all just political demagoguery. Well the people stood up and said enough is enough and are now out there working to shove it down their throats. Democrats are getting on board. Republicans are looking tepid by comparison. Pretty good move on the part of Democrats here.