Two former lawmakers seek House seat

Mayberry, ex-Democrat Creekmore in GOP race; Fults lone Democrat so far

By Brian Fanney

This article was published October 9, 2015 at 2:55 a.m.

Two former Arkansas lawmakers will duel in the Republican primary for the Arkansas House of Representatives seat held by Rep. Julie Mayberry, R-East End.

Mike Creekmore, a Saline County justice of the peace from Bauxite, will face Andy Mayberry, Julie Mayberry’s husband and the former District 27 representative, in the primary.

They are the only two announced candidates so far for the March 1 GOP primary. The winner of the Republican primary would face the Democratic challenger in the general election Nov. 8, 2016.

Melissa Fults, a dairy goat farmer and active supporter of the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act, which would legalize “medical marijuana,” is the only Democrat to have announced a candidacy for the seat.

Health care may be a key issue in the primary and general elections.

Andy Mayberry voted for the private option. Creekmore said if he had been in the Arkansas Legislature, he probably would have voted against it.

Both candidates said they believed the private option should be improved, not repealed.

The private option is the state’s expanded Medicaid program that uses federal dollars to subsidize private health insurance for up to 250,000 Arkansans.

When asked about other important legislation, Creekmore said the state needed to clarify the legality of openly carrying weapons. He said he has a strong pro-gun and anti-abortion voting record.

Creekmore served as a Democrat when he represented Little Rock in the Arkansas House of Representatives more than a decade ago. He said he changed his affiliation when he ran for Saline County justice of the peace about two years ago.

“I’ve always been very conservative. You can look at my record,” he said. “The Democratic Party — they were just moving in the opposite direction.”

Andy Mayberry said outside the private option — which affects the amount of money available to address other state problems — highway funding is near the top of his list of priorities.

“I am not in favor — absolutely not in favor — of a recommendation by some to raise the gasoline tax to do that,” he said. “I’m going to paraphrase Rep. Andy Davis — who I thought had a great quote — we need to turn the couch cushions upside down and see what change falls out.”

Fults — who lives a few miles from the Mayberry family in East End — said the Republican-controlled Legislature has the wrong priorities, especially when it comes to education.

“They’re off in la-la land looking at things that at the end of the day are not going to make a person’s life better,” she said. “I think those are the things we need to get back to.”

She said she would like to expand the state’s prekindergarten programs.

“We have a lot of kids, when they graduate high school, they are not college material, but yet there’s not a whole lot to offer them. They want to get an education, they want to get the training so they can get a decent job,” she said. “I don’t think those needs are being met.”

She predicted voters would pass the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act. Supporters are currently collecting signatures to put it on the ballot. In 2012, voters narrowly rejected medical marijuana.

Metro on 10/09/2015

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