SENATOR JAMES STURCH – Ignoring the Republican Platform
Pt 1 of Incumbents Who Ignore Their Party’s Platform
It is now less than four months until primary elections (May 24, 2022) and incumbent politicians will be hitting the campaign trail to convince you they have represented you well and deserve to be re-elected. Conduit has been highlighting things you might hear your politician say out on the campaign trail and what that might actually mean. You will soon hear your candidate talk about their voting record. They will likely focus on their easy votes or small issues, but they may leave out their bad votes.
So, if promises or platforms matter to you, we suggest you ask your candidate whether their votes align with their campaign promises and/or their party’s platform?
Since Conduit focuses on conservative issues and legislators’ voting records, and the Arkansas House and Senate are over 78% Republican, this series of articles will highlight Republican incumbents who consistently vote contrary to conservative values and in many instances contrary to the Republican Party of Arkansas Platform. We will start with an incumbent many consider the poster child for voting opposite the GOP platform, Sen. James Sturch, from Batesville.
Senator Sturch is seeking his second term as a state senator running as a Republican in the newly drawn SD22. When Sturch narrowly defeated incumbent, Senator Linda Collins, in 2018, he misled many regarding Sen. Collins’ record and promised he votes as a conservative Republican. Having been in the Arkansas Legislature since 2015, Sturch now has a lengthy voting record. It is now a simple matter to see that his votes repeatedly contradict the principles and platform of the Republican Party of Arkansas (the “RPAP”)[i]. Here are some of his worst votes and how they conflict with the GOP Platform.
SENATOR JAMES STURCH
VOTES CONTRARY TO CONSERVATIVE VALUES AND REPUBLICAN PRINCIPALS AND PLATFORM
- Voted multiple times for a gas tax increase (SB336 of 2019 and HB1726 of 2017)
- Voted for $300 million in tax increases (HJR2018 of 2019)
- Voted for an increase in fees on water bills (HB1737 of 2019)
- Voted for an increase in fees on cell phone bills (HB1564 of 2019)
- Voted for a new Internet Tax (SB576 of 2019)
- Was the deciding vote to allow local tax increases at special elections when voter turnout is low (SB723 of 2017) Note:James Sturch first voted FOR the legislation, then under a procedural move, he walked away from his seat in the chamber causing his vote to be stricken, causing the legislation to fail by a single vote. This move has been named the “Sturch Lurch” – where you vote FOR something, then lurch on over to voting AGAINST it when special interests tell you to. See video evidence of this HERE.
- Voted against an unemployment tax cut for businesses (HB1405 of 2017).
8.Voted against a ban on the teaching of Critical Race Theory (SB627 of 2021)
9. Voted multiple times against school choice and educational scholarships for children (SB680 of 2021; SB539 of 2019; and HB1222 of 2017)
10. Voted against teachers increased tax deduction for school supplies (HB1157 of 2021)
PUBLIC RIGHT TO KNOW
11. Voted for FOIA exemptions to hide documents from the public (SB373 of 2017)
VALUE OF LIFE
12. Voted for putting a price tag on human life in lawsuits (SJR8 of 2017)
OTHER IMPORTANT ISSUES
13. Voted for mandatory face masking (SB590 of 2021)
14. Voted against expanded telemedicine for children and the elderly during COVID19 (HB1063 of 2021)
15. Voted for the growth of Arkansas government by more than 20% through the continuation and expansion of Obamacare Medicaid Expansion in Arkansas, expanding welfare for those able-bodied adults who can but chose not to work. (SB96 of 2015 and SB343 of 2015)
POOR SCORE ON ECONOMIC FREEDOM FILTER
Conduit for Commerce scores the votes of legislators based on Conduit’s Economic Freedom Filter. The Economic Freedom Filter analyzes bills that do the following:
- Increase or decrease the size and scope of government
- Increase or decrease dependency on government
- Spend money we do not have
- Increase or decrease transparency in government
Senator Sturch continually scores poorly based on the Economic Freedom Filter. He has never been recognized as a Hero of Freedom by the conservative organization. Below is a breakdown on his showings on the scorecards, released after each of these regular legislative sessions.
|James Sturch Voting Record – Conduit for Commerce Scorecard History
(There are 35 Senators and the higher the rank the worse the score in comparison to other Senators.)
|2015||Ranked in the bottom 50%.
Primary Issues–Obamacare Medicaid Expansion & Tax Increases.
2022 REPUBLICAN PRIMARY
Although period for filing as candidates has not started, Senator Sturch currently has two announced primary opponents for the May 9, 2022 primary – conservative Republican State Representative John Payton and Ronald Laslo.
Although state party rules prohibit Republican County committees from endorsing a candidate in a primary, there is a way they can “not recommend” people vote for a candidate. Republican County Committees may, by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the members present at any regular or duly announced special meeting, vote that a particular candidate “is not recommended.” (Article 1, Section 5(A)(1)).
HOW SENATOR STURCH’S VOTES CONFLICT WITH THE PRINCIPLES AND PLATFORM OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY OF ARKANSAS
The 15 votes listed above conflict with conservative values. We believe to various extents the votes conflict with statements in the platform and principles of the Republican Party of Arkansas. We provide examples below that we believe show a conflict but judge for yourselves by reading the full platform and principles of the Republican Party of Arkansas Platform
Votes on items 1-6 conflict with: the 6th Principle of the RPAP – “Lower taxes to produce economic growth” and the Preamble of the RPAP – “We recognize the importance of lower taxes to spur economic growth and to ensure that individuals reap more of the benefits of their hard work.”
Votes on items 1-5 also conflict with the Government Reform Section of the RPAP – “State government must continue to live within its means . . . We strongly believe Arkansans are best able to spend the money they earn and deserve to be free from the hassle of burdensome taxes and fees.”
Vote on item 6 also conflicts with additional parts of the Government Reform Section of the RPAP – “Reform of government begins with the election of trustworthy and qualified Arkansas Republicans to office at every level of government. This will ensure responsible and effective management of our state’s fiscal and natural resources and honor the hardworking taxpayers.” and “By the will of Arkansas’s citizens, the Republican Party of Arkansas is the majority party in our state for the first time since Reconstruction and has therefore been given the responsibility to set policies that reflect this will. “We are opposed to any effort by special interests who would thwart the will of the people . . . “
Vote on item 7 conflicts with the Economic Prosperity and Job Growth Section of the RPAP – “People create businesses; businesses create jobs; government does not!” “Arkansas’s small businesses are the drivers of our economy.” “In order to continue moving forward in our economic recovery, businesses in Arkansas need to operate freely from overly burdensome regulation and over-taxation.”
Vote on item 8 conflicts with the Preamble of the RPAP – “we are created equally with individual freedoms and liberties . . . “ and “. . . join us on our continuing journey to realize a positive conservative vision of a strong and modern Arkansas.” AND the Education Section of the RPAP – “. . . our children must be given the tools to succeed in their chosen fields through education.” “Every education decision we make is with the students and parents first in our minds!” “Arkansas’s children deserve a world-class education, developed by parents, educators, and leaders accountable to our citizens . . .” AND the Freedom Section of the RPAP – “We are being created in God’s image; and as such, we believe all Americans should have equal opportunity to succeed regardless of race, nationality, origin, gender, or creed and should be granted no special preferences based on this criteria.” “Equality of individuals before the law has always been a cornerstone of our party. Bigotry has no place in our state. Arkansas Republicans denounce those persons, organizations, publications, and movements that practice or promote racism . . .” “We believe that an Arkansas family has the primary responsibility for its own welfare, including the education and moral training of its children.”
Vote on item 9 conflicts with several parts of the Education Section of the RPAP – “Arkansas’s children deserve a world class education, developed by parents, educators, and leaders accountable to our citizens, regardless of their zip code. This requires openness to every type of education system available: homeschooling, distance learning, public school, private school, charter school, and vocational or technical school.” “Every tool should be given equal consideration and be utilized in a manner that puts the student’s needs above all ‘to secure to the people the advantages and opportunities of education.’” “Every education decision we make is with the students and parents first in our minds!” “Every opportunity for every family to enroll each child in the school of its choice should be secured by government and offered to Arkansas families. Parents must have the ability to make informed choices regarding the education of their children and should not be restricted by lines on a map or the cost of tuition.” “to become greater players on the global stage, our children must be given the tools to succeed in their chosen fields through education.”
Vote on item 9 also conflicts with the Individual Freedom Section of the RPAP – “We believe that an Arkansas family has the primary responsibility for its own welfare, including the education and moral training of its children.”
Vote on item 10 conflicts with Education Reform of the RPAP – “we strongly salute the efforts of educators across our state.”
Vote on item 11 conflicts with the Preamble of the RPAP – “Regnat Populus, the People Rule.”
Vote on item 11 also conflicts with the Government Reform Section of the RPAP – “We firmly support transparency and openness at every level of government. Those elected, appointed, and employed in government work for the taxpayers of this state and must provide public information when requested . . .”
Vote on item 12 conflicts with the 2nd Principle of the RPAP – “The sanctity of life”, the 9th Principle of the RPAP – “The equal and just enforcement of the law”, and the 10th Principle of the RPAP – “Separate and equal branches of government”
Vote on item 13 conflicts with the fourth principle of the RPAP – “Individual freedom and liberty secured by a limited government”.
Vote on item 14 conflicts with the Preamble of the RPAP – “. . . repair, renew, and restore – in an expeditious and safe manner – our dynamic economy rooted in free enterprise, economic freedom, and personal liberty.”
Vote on item 15 conflicts with the the 3rd Principle of the RPAP – “Individual responsibility and initiative”, the 4th Principle of the RPAP – “Individual freedom and liberty secured by a limited government”, and the Individual Freedom Section of the RPAP– “Healthcare is not a right; it is a service. As a compassionate society, we will aid those in need; however, a government takeover of healthcare is detrimental to the entire health care system.” “Arkansas Republicans support the freedom of every Arkansan to choose the health insurance plan that best suits his or her needs, as well as the freedom not to choose without the threat of reprisal from the federal government through taxes or fines.” “We strongly support the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and its replacement with laws where Arkansans have multiple patient-centric health choices and states have full flexibility and authority to design a Medicaid program that best fits their needs through federal block grants.”
Other Conduit Articles Highlighting Sturch’s Record:
[i] It is recognized that the Arkansas Republican Platform has been revised since 2014. However, the votes cited in this article were likewise inconsistent with the Arkansas GOP Platform at the time these votes were cast.