By Joe Lamb
Congressman and Republican U.S. Senatorial candidate Tom Cotton spoke at the Conway Noon Lions Club meeting on Tuesday as part of his "Arkansas First" tour of the state.
Cotton said that he had lost patience "waiting around" for solutions to problems he described as wasteful spending, a flawed health insurance system and "politicians and bureaucrats in Washington [that] think they know better than we do in Arkansas how to run our lives and businesses."
Cotton said that he would work to reform U.S. tax code to make it "simpler, fairer and flatter," and also to reduce the 35-percent corporate tax rate.
Cotton, a retired U.S. Army Infantry Officer also said that a $1 trillion reduction in "our military's baseline budget" reflected a soft military stance by the current administration that he said had emboldened Russian President Vladimir Putin and may have contributed to Russia's involvement in Ukraine and the rise of the Islamic State terror group in Syria and Iraq, which he said was "too extreme for even some elements of Al-Qaeda."
Cotton also criticized the administration's efforts to cut back on coal-fired electricity production in Arkansas, saying that it would result in an unprecedented spike in utility costs while coal-fired electrical generations plants are "extremely clean and efficient."
He opposes the Affordable Care Act, saying he would favor changes to private health insurance including letting people shop across state lines, letting small businesses pool resources to insure their workers and allowing self-employed and near-retirement workers to get the same tax breaks as businesses.
On immigration, Cotton said a more secure border and enforcement of our existing immigration and amnesty laws would help solve what he said was a problem of illegal immigrants crossing the southern border, and in response to a Lion member's comments about a Malaysian student whose nursing degree wasn't enough to extend her stay in America, Cotton joked that she could consider going to Mexico and crossing illegally.
He also cited Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's "sitting" on bills as a reason for inaction by the U.S. Legislature, saying that Reid "has used the tools of Senate procedure to the detriment fo the people we serve."
Quoting Ronald Reagan Cotton said that the solutions to these problems "are simple, but they're not easy."
Cotton is running against incumbent Democrat Mark Pryor.