It began at 2 p.m. It lasted for one hour and the live stream will continue with reporters’ questions afterward.
Steve Barnes will moderate. Questions will come from Wesley Brown of the Daily Record, Jay Bir of KARK and Janelle Lilley of KATV.
The debate will be preserved on PBS’ YouTube channel. It also will be rebroadcast on PBS at 7 p.m.
The debate is provided here by permission of Arkansas PBS, myarkansaspbs.org/elections
UPDATE: Hill opened by touting jobs, veterans and getting money to Arkansas for coronavirus relief.
Elliott spoke of her modest upbringing and lifting herself through education and then applying it to public service.
From Bir to Elliott on defunding the police. She doesn’t support defunding the police. She supports investing in communities and helping police with things like mental health problems that shouldn’t be a task for police. She also said there should be a goal of police living in the communities they serve.
Hill responded by supporting the right to peaceful protest. But police should be supported and some reforms would be useful. He said police unions in Arkansas supported him. He said Elliott was radical for saying policing was systemically racist. She didn’t dispute believing that there is systemic racism in the U.S. But it’s not one or the other: The community on the police.
From Lilley to Hill on the pandemic in terms of preparing for the future: He said the U.S. wasn’t prepared. The medical supply chain should be ready to turn on instantly. Elliott said there hadn’t been transparency in use of federal money and Hill was on an oversight committee, which voted to keep recipients secret. They included a bank that pays Hill dividends. Hill said his work wasn’t connected with overseeing paycheck protection money, which was a committee controlled by Democrats.
From Brown to Elliott on the Affordable Care Act: She said it needs to be improved. Leave alone those who have private insurance. She noted Hill had voted 12 times to take away health care, including for pre-existing conditions. “We are held down by demagoguery and division,” she said. She recalled the photo of a gleeful Hill with Donald Trump after a vote to kill the Affordable Care Act. He said this was a lie. He claimed that the bill approved by the House continued pre-existing condition coverage. (But it was under prohibitively expensive insurance coverage — “trash coverage,” Elliott called it.) He continued his attack on the Affordable Care Act. He said radicals want a government takeover, which Elliott said Hill was not trying to protect health care and in a midst of a pandemic “you are still holding that position of getting rid of the ACA.”
From Bir to Hill on infrastructure: He touted work that encouraged telehealth and more and better broadband coverage. He said the CARES Act had been a down payment on that. Elliott spoke of inequities in the delivery of technology to schools and coming from a community that doesn’t even have dependable cell service, much less broadband. Hill worked in a knock against Elliott for supposedly opposing “school choice,” presumably meaning school vouchers.
From Lilley to Elliott on no-knock warrants and qualified immunity provided law officers: Elliott said it’s not time to say the limited immunity should end, but there should be a discussion about it and development of rules fair to all. She wasn’t ready to declare an end to no-knock warrants but said they’d been abused. Hill said no-knock warrants can be useful. He said Democrats want to abolish it, Republicans want to study it. Immunity? That’s another subject that needs a study, Hill said.
From Brown to Hill on Joe Biden’s call for higher taxes for people making more than $400,000: He said the tax cut produced economic benefits (actually the wealthy disproportionately benefitted) and tax savings for all. Elliott said the tax cut was a giveaway to the richest people in the country. It allows tax to rise for lower-income people. A more equitable tax system is needed, she said. We are told time and again that if we cut taxes on the richest, everyone will benefit. The people who are struggling know better. Hill again goes after the Republican bill supported by Elliott that raised phone charges to pay for a 911 system.
Squabbling ensued on Social Security and Medicare. Elliott says Republicans will be the ruination of them. Hill said that’s a lie. He also decried the burgeoning national debt, without crediting the current administration for contributing to it. The systems are imperiled by Republican fiscal policy, Elliott said.
Lilley asked about both legislators finding themselves in the minority after being elected in the majority. Hill claimed to be one of the most bipartisan members of the House. The record doesn’t demonstrate it. Being bipartisan seems to mean to Hill that he’s provided some help for historically black colleges and universities.
Elliott mentioned joining with Republicans on the legislation Hill “derided.”
“There is not a Republican in the Senate that will tell you I dop not work across party lines,” Elliott said. She mentioned the expansion of pre-K, the Medicaid expansion, the reduction of the sales tax on food and working people. “I’ve never had the privilege of assuming my way was the only way.” She said the opposite is happening in Washington.
Hill worked in a dig at Elliott for opposing abortion legislation that had some Democratic support.
Close: Hill says vote for common sense over radicals. Elliott reached out to those who have to “make do.” She ripped HIll for voting against health care and being “gleeful” about it. “I will not forget you. I see you. I know you. And I will work for you.”
Campaign spin was predictable. Hill isn’t representing common people, Elliott’s campaign said. Elliott wants to raise taxes, Hill’s spinner said.
J.R. Davis, who worked for Governor Hutchinson when he signed the cell phone bill that Hill makes so much of, danced around a question about whether Hill was repudiating the governor. Davis said Hill and the governor work closely together. But he continued to depict the bill as a terrible tax. Hill wouldn’t have supported it and there might have been a better option.