FORT SMITH, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Located in the southwest part of Arkansas, District 4 includes more than two dozen of the state’s 75 counties.
The seat is currently being held by Republican Bruce Westerman.
Democrat William Hanson and Libertarian Frank Gilbert are hoping to unseat him.
My family has been in Arkansas almost as long as Arkansas has been a state.WILLIAM HANSON (D)
I’ve been involved with politics most of my adult life.FRANK GILBERT (L)
Seeking out his fourth term, Westerman, who’s from Hot Springs, is the only congressman in the country with a graduate degree in forestry.
His Trillion Trees Act, calling for the U.S. to join a worldwide tree-planting effort, has gained White House attention.
“The Trillion Trees Act is all about conservation and leaving the world in a better place than when we found it,” Westerman said.
Hanson is an attorney and a former law professor.
The Camden native’s focus is on creating jobs and education.
“That would be one of the first priorities I have,” Hanson said. “Making sure I connect the colleges with the industries and to be a little bit more aggressive about trying to attract business to the state.”
Gilbert, the former mayor of Tull, a small town in Grant County, said he knows he’s unlikely to win, but he’s running to let Arkansans know there are more options.
“The Democrats and the Republicans have run this nation and this state for 106 years and we are in a mess,” he said.
When it comes to handling COVID-19, Hanson thinks there should be a national mask mandate, while Gilbert believes it’s unnecessary.
“The ones who have the most strenuous mandates are the ones who have the most deaths too,” Gilbert said.
Westerman said he agrees, and thinks the focus should be on getting more antigen tests.
“I think this would be great in helping us to get back to work and get back to school and to a more normal lifestyle if the FDA approved these test,” he said.
As racial tensions are high nationwide, KNWA/FOX 24 asked each candidate how they’d deal with racial injustice.
It has to do with respect, and treating people the way we want to be treated on a daily basis.REP. BRUCE WESTERMAN, (R) ARKANSAS
Hanson believes there are flaws within the criminal justice system that need to be addressed.
We need to have drug courts, we need to have different types of courts as an alternative to incarceration.WILLIAM HANSON (D)
Gilbert said police and city leaders need to be held accountable for any wrongdoings within their communities.
I hope that cooler heads will prevail at some point and we’ll begin to look at the idea that the police, the mayors, and others should not be protected by the law for their own actions.FRANK GILBERT (L)
All candidates said they’re committed to serving Arkansans in this time of divide and want to encourage voters to exercise their right to vote — no matter who they choose.