Former Yell County Judge and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Director James Lee Witt announced Tuesday that he will run for congress in Arkansas' fourth district.
"I've spent my adult life bringing people together at the toughest times of their lives and dealing with disasters," Witt said during his announcement press conference. "Nowhere needs disaster relief more than Washington. No place needs to be brought together more than Congress."
The Arkansas GOP released the following statement Tuesday morning in anticipation of Witt's announcement:
“The last thing hard-working Arkansas families need in Washington is just another self-serving politician like James Lee Witt. Anyone who could stomach turning a tragedy like Hurricane Katrina into an opportunity to exploit victims for a profit does not deserve to represent this great state.”
Witt answered the criticism by saying the rates his company charged during cleanup in Katrina were approved by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) and FEMA, and were accepted in a competitive-bid process. He also said they were audited to make sure everything was done appropriately.
Witt will challenge Janis Percefull, of Hot Springs, in the primary for the congressional seat being vacated by Tom Cotton, who is challenging incumbent Mark Pryor for his seat in the Senate.
Also on Tuesday, Beth Anne Rankin announced that she will not be running for the congressional seat again in 2014 after being defeated in the primary by eventual winner Tom Cotton, according to TalkBusiness.net.