At debate, Sarah Sanders defends avoiding Arkansas press

Oct 21, 2022, 12:12 AM | Updated: 4:16 pm
Republican gubernatorial candidate Sarah Huckabee Sanders answers a question during the Arkansas PB...

Republican gubernatorial candidate Sarah Huckabee Sanders answers a question during the Arkansas PBS gubernatorial debate on Friday, Oct. 21, 2022, in Conway, Ark.. (Tommy Metthe/The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette via AP)

(Tommy Metthe/The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette via AP)

CONWAY, Ark. (AP) — Former White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders defended her avoidance of local media in her bid for Arkansas governor on Friday as she appeared in her only debate ahead of next month’s election.

Sanders, the Republican nominee who is heavily favored in the November election, has conducted few local interviews during her bid for the state’s top office. Sanders had agreed to only one debate with Democratic nominee Chris Jones and Libertarian Ricky Dale Harrington.

Sanders said she’s been speaking directly to voters by campaigning around the state.

“Freedom of the press is incredibly important, but with freedom of the press comes a great deal of responsibility,” Sanders said. “When they don’t live up to their end of the bargain, it forces some of us to go outside the box, which I have done every single day for the past two years.”

Public polling has shown Sanders leading by double digits and she’s shattered fundraising records in the predominantly Republican state. Early voting begins Monday in Arkansas.

During her two year term as former President Donald Trump’s chief spokeswoman, Sanders scaled back televised news briefings after repeatedly sparring with reporters who aggressively questioned her. Sanders often sought to justify the lack of formal briefings by saying they were unnecessary when journalists could hear from Trump directly.

Jones, an ordained Baptist minister and nuclear engineer, said voters deserve to hear more from Sanders.

“The more we have leaders who are unwilling to show up and answer the tough questions in front of crowds that don’t agree with them and with media that don’t agree with them, the further we’ll get away from the strength of our democracy,” Jones said.

Sanders’ comments come a day after outgoing Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who held more than 200 news briefings during the COVID-19 pandemic, praised the role of the press. Hutchinson, who has endorsed Sanders, is leaving office in January due to term limits.

“While it is challenging for those in public office, your work is essential,” Hutchinson said Thursday night at the Arkansas Press Association’s Press Freedom Gala. “And it is an incredibly important part of the checks and balances that we have in our society and in our freedoms.”

The hourlong debate held by Arkansas PBS didn’t include questions that have dominated other campaigns nationally, including abortion access and the Capitol riot.

Sanders, who has vowed to use the office to fight President Joe Biden’s policies, repeatedly invoked an education plan she recently released that calls for improving literacy rates. She also said she believes the state can afford her plan to phase out the income tax. Sanders hasn’t released a detailed timeline for the tax cut plan.

“We have to do it responsibly but we do it with growing our own economy and cutting out the waste and fraud and abuse that exist in our government spending as it is now,” she said.

During the debate Jones touted his “PB&J” platform that he says stands for preschool, broadband and jobs. Jones said he was worried about the impact eliminating the income tax could have on state services.

“The math has to add up,” he said. “You cannot eliminate 55% of the state revenue and then not cut something.”

Sanders also said she would have signed into law the state’s ban on gender affirming care for minors, a prohibition that is the subject of a federal trial this week. The Republican Legislature last year enacted the ban, overriding a veto by Hutchinson.

“Kids are not capable of making life altering decisions like that,” Sanders said, comparing the prohibition to minimum ages for drivers licenses, drinking or smoking.

Arkansas was the first state to enact such a ban. Multiple medical groups, including the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, oppose the bans and experts say the treatments are safe if properly administered.

Jones and Harrington said they both opposed the ban and that parents should have the right to make that decision.

“Are my children my children or do they belong to the government?” Harrington said.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Shoppers looking for bargains enter an OshKosh children clothing store, Monday, Nov. 21, 2022, in M...
Anne D'Innocenzio and Cora Lewis, Associated Press

Shoppers hunt for deals but inflation makes bargains elusive

Consumers holding out for big deals -- and some much-needed relief from soaring costs on just about everything -- may be disappointed as they head into the busiest shopping season of the year.
11 hours ago
FILE - The Twitter splash page is seen on a digital device, Monday, April 25, 2022, in San Diego.  ...
Associated Press

Musk plans to relaunch Twitter premium service, again

Elon Musk said Friday that Twitter plans to relaunch its premium service that will offer different colored check marks to accounts next week.
11 hours ago
FILE - Sandra Cruz Torres, mother of Robb Elementary massacre victim Eliahna Torres, chats with Bet...
Associated Press

Uvalde mom sues police, gunmaker in school massacre

WASHINGTON (AP) — The last conversation Sandra Torres had with her 10-year-old daughter was about her nervous excitement over whether she’d make the all-star softball team. Hours later, Eliahna Torres was one of 19 children and two teachers massacred at their elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. With little closure and few answers about law enforcement’s […]
1 day ago
FILE - Actor Danny Masterson appears at the CMT Music Awards in Nashville, Tenn., on June 7, 2017. ...
Associated Press

2 sick jurors lost from deliberations at Masterson trial

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Two deliberating jurors at the rape trial of former “That ’70s Show” star Danny Masterson were dismissed Monday because they have been diagnosed with COVID-19. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charlaine F. Olmedo replaced the jurors with two alternates and told the panel to start over with deliberations. The jurors were […]
1 day ago
This combination of photos shows, Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., speaking to reporters on Capitol Hil...
Associated Press

Georgia runoff: Early voting for Warnock-Walker round 2

ATLANTA (AP) — In-person early voting for the last U.S. Senate seat is underway statewide in Georgia’s runoff, with Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock working to get the jump on Republican challenger Hershel Walker who is putting less emphasis on advance balloting. After winning a state lawsuit to allow Saturday voting after Thanksgiving, Warnock spent the […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Groups ask EU to drop carbon removal from climate plans

BERLIN (AP) — Scores of environmental groups issued a joint appeal Monday for the European Union to drop carbon removal methods from its climate plans, arguing that some of them rely on untested technology while others may not absorb as many greenhouse gas emissions as claimed. The EU’s executive Commission has proposed creating a system […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
At debate, Sarah Sanders defends avoiding Arkansas press