As Democratic U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln seeks her third term, eight Republican hopefuls are also running for the Senate seat. All were in attendance to take questions from constituents.
Republicans vying for the party's Senate nomination sat before dozens of adults and UCA students who want to meet the candidates.
Judy Skinner of Conway says, "I hope to see change I can really believe in and not more of the same and Obama's kind of change."
UCA student Christopher Tollette says, "I want them be able to express what they are planning to do and discuss attainable methods of implementation."
All Republican nominees avoided criticizing one another and their Democratic opponents. The candidates were given 90-seconds to answer the following subjects:
Randy Alexander says, "Another thing that contributes is our national debt. It is currently at $1 trillion. That number is incomprehensible. A trillion seconds folks is 31,688-years; our debt is much higher than that."
On the financial crisis:
Curtis Coleman says, "The best thing we can do is get government out of our business, shrink government, we need to reduce regulations."
John Boozman adds, "The reality is we need enough regulation, but we don't need excessive regulations."
The forum continued with topics on trade with China, Iran nuclear development and stem cell research:
Gilbert Baker says, "Everyone on stage agrees, at least I hope they do. The pro-life decision is a principle that I won't waiver from."
Next, they agreed the Tea Party is the essence of what Americans are.
On the "Don't ask Don't tell" policy they agreed there is no reason to change it. Kim Hendren says, "What they might want to do is join themselves and see how they like it."
Illegal immigration was the last hot topic:
Randy Alexander says, "We need to build a fence, it is effective."
Jim Holt adds, "You show me a 30-foot wall; I'll show you a 31-foot ladder. The reason they continue to be here is because there is an incentive to be here."
U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln also faces Democratic challengers Lt. Governor Bill Halter and D.C. Morrison.
The debate between the Democratic candidates is set for April 23 at 7 p.m. at UALR in the Theater.
Statement from the Arkansas Democratic Party:
TONIGHT AT THE REPUBLICAN DEBATE
Will We Finally Get Some Answers?
Little Rock -Tonight, all eight of the candidates seeking the GOP Senate nomination are meeting for a debate in Conway hosted by the Conservative Forum of Faulkner County. With all of the Senate candidates in one room, maybe we will finally get to hear answers to many of the questions that voters have asked.
Which candidates other than Curtis Coleman want President Obama to "prove" his citizenship?
Who supports the Ryan bill in Congress that would privatize Social Security?
Do any candidates favor the flat or fair tax, which would be disastrous for middle-class Arkansas families?
Why did John Boozman vote against the job creation bill in House? Who else would have voted the same way?
Boozman voted for TARP. Would any of the other candidates have voted for it?
Do all the candidates stand by their 100% commitment to a full repeal of health care reforms? If so, how will they explain to Arkansans their opposition to closing the donut hole, kicking young adults off their parents insurance, bringing back denial of coverage based on pre-existing conditions, and kicking 481,000 Arkansans off health insurance?
With one of Arkansas's U.S. Senators being the Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, can you name one agriculture policy or decision you would differ with her on?
"Arkansans deserve to know where the Republican candidates stand on these issues. Hopefully after tonight we will have some answers on the real positions of these candidates, said Gabe Holmstrom, Senior Advisor to the Democratic Party of Arkansas. "So far the Republican debates have been more like sewing circle than anything else. It's springtime, it's baseball season, and its time to play ball. Who is going to be the first to start swinging for the fences?"