Douglas says he’ll seek re-election to House
BENTONVILLE — Rep. Dan Douglas, R-Bentonville, is running for re-election, he announced Friday.
A cattle farmer and commercial real estate manager, Douglas has served three terms in the House. He is chairman of the House Agriculture, Forestry and Economic Development Committee. He also is a member of the Joint Budget Committee where he serves on its powerful Special Language Subcommittee, which has sway over finer details of state financing. He is also a member of the House Revenue and Taxation Committee.
Douglas has no announced opponent for the May 22 Republican primary or the Nov. 6, 2018, general election. He served four years on the Benton County Quorum Court before being elected to his first term in 2012.
If re-elected, his legislative priorities would be to expand career and technical education, put the state’s highway system on a more secure financial footing and “shutting down, downsizing or privatizing parts of government if that’s what we need to do” to balance the state’s budget, he said.
A prime prospect for such a reduction and possible privatization is the state Department of Information Services, which runs the state’s computers, telephones and other information systems, Douglas said. “That department spends $106 million a year,” Douglas said. “That is $35 for every man, woman and child in Arkansas. I think we ought to at least issue a request for proposals from private businesses to see if there isn’t some business out there that could run it more efficiently. Let’s at least take a look. To me that’s a no-brainer.”
“We keep talking about cutting income taxes, which I’d love to do, but we’ve got to cut spending if we’re going to be able to do that,” he said. The state has successfully cut taxes in recent legislative session but cannot keep up the recent pace of tax reduction unless it finds significant savings and continued growth in the state’s economy. Encouraging such growth is one of the main reasons behind his emphasis on career education that teach practical job skills and on securing more state taxpayer money for highways, he said.