On Thursday, June 1, Natashia Burch Hulsey announced her intention to challenge Republican incumbent French Hill for Arkansas's 2nd Congressional District seat. Hulsey, who has served in the United States Air Force and has owned a small business in the state, believes she has enough experience to address the concerns all Arkansans in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Below is our Q&A with Hulsey where she explains her thoughts on health care, President Donald Trump, and campaign finance policy.
THV11: What has compelled you to consider a run for Arkansas’s 2nd Congressional seat?
Natashia Burch Hulsey: After a lot of prayer, soul searching, and talking it over with friends and family, I found that politics is where I belong. I am passionate about advocating for things that I believe in. I have a heart for the people and there are so many things that I would like to change in Arkansas to help make the lives of Arkansans a little easier. My faith and passionate desire to see things change lead me to this position.
THV11: Would you run under a party affiliation? If so, which one?
Hulsey: If you asked my grandmother (Grammy) she would tell you first hand I have always been fiercely independent. Therefore, I am running as an Independent in 2018. When I first entertained the idea of running for the 2nd district and started researching deeper I saw areas in both parties where I agreed and disagreed. With that said, I do have conservative values and have always leaned Republican, but, I have a progressive mindset which could lead people to believe I am a staunch Democrat.
THV11: What about your background separates you from other potential candidates such as Republican incumbent French Hill or possible Democratic challenger Paul Spencer?
Hulsey: I have co-owned my own small business, so I understand what small business owners' face. I was in the Air Force as a photographer.
I have an educational background in communication, this sets me apart because right now there is a huge disconnect between politicians and constituents. I want to bring the people’s voice back into government. For instance, when French Hill and Tom Cotton held their joint town hall, French Hill would barely give a relevant response to the crowd. Granted the crowd at times was unruly, but the fact the crowd was unruly is indicative of the job Mr. Hill is doing.
Now, I am not saying everyone will be happy with the job of representative I am attempting to undertake. But, I can ensure the people I represent, I will answer all their questions face to face, and not over the phone.
THV11: What if any adjustments do you think should be made regarding campaign finance policy? If you were to run, would you accept any Political Action Committee (PAC) funds?
Hulsey: As a candidate spending time raising money, I understand the slippery slope of accepting money from particular groups with their own agenda. I believe the current PAC funding policy which is in place is in essence fine. I would accept PAC donations from committees which share my vision. In other words, I cannot be bought.
THV11: Recently, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare. Do you support the American Health Care Act? Which aspects of the nation’s current health care policy do you feel are nonnegotiable?
Hulsey: I believe in "amend and replace" for the PPACA. I do not support the AHCA.
It's nonnegotiable that people should lose their privilege to have health care because of pre-existing health issues.
THV11: This past legislative session saw two resolutions calling for amendments to the United States Constitution. The first, which was approved by Governor Asa Hutchinson, asked for a national “right to life” law, and the second, which failed after the session adjourned, sought to define “marriage” to be exclusively between a man and a woman. Where do you stand on these social issues? Would you consider yourself pro-life or pro-choice? Are you a support of same-sex marriage?
Hulsey: I believe in separation of church and state. I don't think the government should try to govern people and their beliefs. It creates a slippery slope of open doors for other religions.
I consider myself pro-life, however, I know the history of not having abortions available to women who want them. I would never get an abortion, but I will not stand in the way of others who choose to do so.
Same-sex marriage is legal. I'm not interested in wasting energy or tax-payer dollars to repeal it.
THV11: President Donald Trump recently announced that the United States would withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord. Do you support that decision? Do you think climate change is to some extent caused by human activity?
Hulsey: I do not support the decision Trump made. Whether or not a person believes in human related climate change, we should all fundamentally want to protect our air, water, and land. With the technology we have available it is nonsensical not to invest in new energy sources. Also, look into moving the American diet away from using animals as a main source of food, since industrial animal farming is the major source of pollution.
THV11: The Russia investigation has dwarfed much of the legislative action in Washington. Do you support the decision to appoint a Special Counsel to look into any connections between Russia and the Trump campaign?
Hulsey: I feel any politician should be investigated when they are suspected of undermining the American people.
We have reached out to possible Democratic challenger Paul Spencer and Representative French Hill for a Q&A session. We will publish those in the coming weeks.