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OPINION | LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Let's all get loud | What about Trump? | Story doesn't fly

February 13, 2022 at 1:40 a.m.

Let's all get loud

In Arkansas, our motto is "The People Rule." But do we? Arkansas has an abysmal voter participation rate. In 2020 we ranked dead last in the country with only 54 percent of our eligible voters casting ballots.

I'd argue that it's impossible for "the people" to rule if "the people" don't participate. Voting is about power. When you cast a ballot, you're exercising your power to change things. Casting a ballot is one of the few acts in our society where we each exercise an equal amount of power.

Look at the recent State Senate special election in northwest Arkansas for District 7. In a region of 45,000 eligible voters, only 4,030 people went to the polls. That means 4,030 voters determined who will represent 91,799 Washington County residents in the Arkansas State Senate.

The election was decided by 34 votes. Thirty. Four. Votes. As Larry Sabato aptly said, "Every election is determined by the people who show up." Over 40,000 voters in this district gave away their power to the 4,030 who showed up.

That's why I started Get Loud, Arkansas, a civic engagement group working to register, engage and mobilize voters to utilize the power of their vote to shape the future of Arkansas. Get Loud, Arkansas helps people get registered, get engaged, and get loud about making a difference in Arkansas: getloudarkansas.org

It's time to show up. Get loud. And do the work. The power is yours--but only if you'll take it.

JOYCE ELLIOTT

Little Rock

Joyce Elliott represents Arkansas Senate District 31.

What about Trump?

It would be nice to someday read the paper without having to look at the Editorial page and not always see a snarky editorial comment about the Democrats and the president. There just happen to be a few Democrats who would like to hear what the editors think about what Trump has done to America and what he continues to do.

CARL ANDERSON

Hot Springs Village

Story doesn't fly

Little Rock's mayor did not spend taxpayer money irresponsibly. A recent article in the Democrat-Gazette would have you think otherwise.

On Feb. 6, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette ran a front-page story on Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. spending $3,181.25 on three separate trips to Washington DC. This story prompted questions from Arkansans, including me, as to the significance and newsworthiness of it.

The General Services Administration per diem rates for a D.C. hotel room in November, December and January is $200 a night including tax.

The GSA allots $84 a day for meals after tax. A coach flight to D.C. costs roughly $395 excluding the $25 checked bag fee. The most conservative cost estimate for these three trips is $2,238, excluding cab fare and travel insurance.

There is no substantial evidence to show the mayor acted frivolously during any of these three trips.

Records provided by the Democrat-Gazette show Scott regularly flies from Little Rock to D.C. at 6 a.m., which is one of the cheapest times to fly. He stayed in hotel rooms close to his meetings. None of these expenses are egregious for a business traveler. Rather they show that a mayor traveled to the nation's capital to communicate his city's needs to the federal government and attend a meeting of the African American Mayors Association; he is the vice president.

While the front-page story never explicitly states the mayor spent taxpayer money irresponsibly, the decision to pursue and publish it on the front page strongly suggests malfeasance. As journalists, it is our responsibility to hold public officials accountable when there is clear evidence of wrongdoing. However, the actions of Mayor Scott clearly do not meet this test and the irresponsible actions do not lie with him.

BETHANY OSBORN

Fayetteville

Misuse of our flag

How can a Republican honestly pledge allegiance to our American flag when the Republican Party has endorsed the use of that flag as a weapon of violence to assault American police officers at the U.S. Capitol, calling such assault a form of "legitimate political discourse"? In the spirit of the Olympic Games, I would like to see the mental and verbal gymnastics our elected representatives can use to square this circle.

STEVE OWEN

Hot Springs Village


Print Headline: Letters

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