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Arkansas PoliticsCampaign Fact Check

TYLER DEES and His Victim Card

Let us preface this article with a few personal comments: 

Votes made by a sitting legislator are a big deal to Conduit and should be to all freedom loving people.  They are the primary tool by which economic freedom of Arkansans is protected or diminished.  Revealing voting records and claims made by candidates are not personal attacks but are necessary to retain an informed voting public.

Therefore, we do not doubt that the young man who is the subject of this article is one of high Christian principles and honest when he says that he feels called by his Christian faith to run for this senate seat.   However, at Conduit, we make it a practice to use past behavior of politicians (such as past votes, campaign promises, proven false or true claims, and identification of donors) to predict the future votes of legislators.  That is the spirit in which we offer this information article.

Tyler Dees is a candidate for Senate in Senate District 35 and is in a runoff against Representative Gayla H. McKenzie.

Tyler Dees accused the Family Council of being unfair to him by refusing to let him change his response to a question on the Family Council’s survey for its Arkansas Voters Guide. The survey asked candidates their position on: COVID: Letting private businesses terminate employees who are not vaccinated against COVID-19.

Dees responded “Support.”

Much later Dees wanted to change his answer to add comments saying he was against COVID mandates whether by government or by business. When the Family Council said it couldn’t make more changes, Dees make it look like he was being treated unfairly and pushed a victim narrative in political speeches and on social media.

His victim card (blaming Family Council) distracted voters from the answer he had given. But to do so he distorted the truth by omitting key facts.  To read his accusation against the Family Council click here to see a screenshot.

Because of what Dees was saying, several people contacted Family Council to complain about it being unfair to Dees. The attack on the Family Council’s integrity was so serious it responded and set the record straight in the article Addressing Rumors Regarding Race for Arkansas Senate District 35.

  1. Dees and every candidate had almost three weeks to let the Family Council know if they wanted any change in their survey response.
  2. Before printing the Voters Guide the Family Council sent every candidate a copy of their responses and asked the candidates to review them and make any changes they wished.
  3. Dees reviewed his survey and asked for some changes and the Family Council accommodated him by making the changes.
  4. When he was given the opportunity to make changes Dees did not request any change to his response saying he “supported” businesses terminating unvaccinated employees.

The Family Council’s response let Dees off the hook by not mentioning that it was Dees himself who was the source of the malicious rumors and by letting Dees include a statement saying he has nothing but respect for Family Council. (If Dees ever took responsibility for being the source of the attack on the Family Council or issued an apology for distorting the truth, we haven’t seen it.)

When Dees filled out the survey, he had no problem with saying he “supports” businesses terminating unvaccinated workers. When he later reviewed his responses and made changes, he still had no problem with his answer.

When did he decide his answer didn’t reflect his views? It appears it was after the Arkansas Voters Guide was posted online and many voters did not like his answer.

We can’t tell if Dees’ social media response is a reversal from his response on the survey or whether his new statement is merely carefully crafted words to distract voters. He sent mixed messages by saying he opposes mandates but then said he always wants to limit government from telling how to run businesses. Does that mean he is not for the mandates but still supports the ability of corporations to fire unvaccinated workers without state interference? It is not clear which he meant.

Some key supporters of Tyler Dees want corporations to be able to terminate unvaccinated workers. For example:

  • Donors to his campaign include liberal third generation heirs of Walmart who have a history of supporting liberal candidates and WOKE positions. Remember Walmart was one of the first to impose a vaccine mandate and terminated unvaccinated employees at its headquarters. Walmart representatives were also busy at the Arkansas legislature pushing WOKE positions.
  • Dees was endorsed by the State Chamber of Commerce. Years ago, many considered an endorsement by the Chamber as a good thing but not anymore. The Chamber has gone WOKE because of WOKE corporations like Walmart. At the Arkansas legislature the Chamber fought to let corporations fire unvaccinated employees and fought against a new law to protect minors from being subjected to chemical castration and other gender altering procedures, and now that the law has been passed the Chamber is fighting in court against those protections for minors.
  • Longtime Democrat and lobbyist Archie Shaffer III is a supporter and donor to the Tyler Dees campaign. We mention Shaffer because he is a founding board member of Common Ground Arkansas which has the goal to defeat the more conservative candidates in the Republican primary. Common Ground encouraged Democrats to crossover and vote in the Republican primary.

Use of the victim card may have worked in the primary. Now in the runoff some voters may still think he was a victim of Family Council and some may think his position is just like their position (regardless of whether they are for or against corporate vaccine mandates).

The greatest concern is not his position on vaccine mandates, it is the willingness to shift the blame for his answer to the Family Council, despite knowing he had been given the opportunity to make any changes he wished and the Family Council had done nothing wrong.

The runoff election for Senate District 35 between Tyler Dees and Representative Gayla H. McKenzie is Tuesday June 21st. Early voting begins seven days before the elections (Tuesday June 14th).

On the survey Representative McKenzie answered she opposes letting private businesses terminate employees who are not vaccinated against COVID-19. To read more about Representative McKenzie see the article REP. GAYLA MCKENZIE – Platform Hero Series.

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