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Received this e-mail today from former Lt. Governor and 2014 Arkansas Gubernatorial candidate, Bill Halter's (D. AR) campaign today:
The race is on.

Last week, Mike Ross threw his hat in the ring for the Democratic nomination for governor of Arkansas. As Bill welcomed Ross to the race, he promised an open, vigorous debate about the issues facing Arkansas families.

That's a good thing -- because there are real differences between Bill Halter and Mike Ross. On issues like education, jobs, and health care, Democratic voters now face as clear a choice as I've seen about the kind of state they want to call home.

Arkansas Lt. Gov. Bill Halter visits with supporters at his Jonesboro, Ark., headquarters Monday, May 17, 2010. Halter is challenging incumbent U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., in the May 18 primary election. (AP Photo/The Jonesboro Sun, James Byard)
So let's get to work.

From here on out, we need a strong show of support. Donate $5 or more to say you're proud to be on Team Halter:

As this primary campaign ramps up, we're focused on building the largest grassroots campaign the state has ever seen -- and your donation helps us do just that. We're growing our volunteer program, already more than 1,200 people strong, and spreading the word about big ideas like The Arkansas Promise.

If you're with us, chip in now:



Bud Jackson
Bill Halter for Arkansas

P.S. -- Another way to show your support is by adding your name to our growing Team Halter roster. Say you're in this to win now:

Halter came close to unseating conservative Democratic Senator Blanche Lincoln (D. AR) in 2010.  Let's help him beat another conservative Democrat in 2014 and win the general election.  Click here to donate:

Halter's big issue that he is running on is making education affordable for Arkansas students through his plan known as the Arkansas Promise:

Here's Halter's letter on the Arkansas Promise:

My fellow Arkansans,

Arkansas is at a crossroads, and this next election will set our state’s course for the next generation. The question is how do we prepare our people to compete and prosper in a rapidly changing global economy? Google, with over 32,000 employees and a market capitalization of $270 billion is younger than today’s 10th grade students. Facebook, with over one billion users, and valued somewhere around $65 billion, didn’t exist 10 years ago.  Many of the businesses that’ll be changing the world 10 years from now do not even exist today.

The critical ingredient for the success of leading companies is a well-educated, well-trained workforce. That is why I believe the single most important thing we can do to bring those kinds of businesses to Arkansas – and to help Arkansans find the best-paying jobs – is to improve access to higher education.

Young adults who receive a college degree today on average can expect to earn $1 million more over the course of their working live than similarly situated Arkansans who do not. But Arkansas currently ranks 49th out of 50 states in the percentage of our workforce with college degrees – behind Mississippi and ahead of only West Virginia.  And we’re not just competing with other states. Within two decades, China will have 200 million college graduates. That’s more than the entire U.S. workforce. Within the next ten years, India will produce four times as many college graduates as the United States.   We must meet this challenge.  It is time to give every Arkansas high school student the opportunity to attend college if they earn it.

I call it the Arkansas Promise.

Simply stated, if you go to high school in Arkansas, qualify for a lottery scholarship, maintain a 2.5 GPA and plan to attend college in the state, we promise to pay your college tuition.  The overall scholarship level would be set at the tuition level of the highest cost four-year public university in Arkansas. And we will pay for this investment without raising taxes, by combining the Lottery Scholarship, federal grant aid, philanthropic support, and additional Arkansas scholarship funds.

Several forward-leaning communities have made promises of opportunity through higher education for their students.  The Kalamazoo Promise, the El Dorado Promise, and the Arkadelphia Promise have provided hope for their communities.

But no state in America has made the same promise, and Arkansas should be the first.

The Arkansas Promise builds on the great success of the Arkansas Lottery Scholarship program.  To date, we’ve put $300 million in the scholarship fund and awarded nearly 100,000 scholarships. Many students who never considered college an option are now pursuing opportunities to achieve a better future for themselves and their families, while at the same time improving the economic prospects of their communities, and our entire state.

We are all shaped by our own experiences in life. I have spent over half of my career in the private sector working with highly innovative companies in information technology, telecommunications, biotechnology, medical devices, biofuels, and energy conservation that have created thousands of jobs. At every one of these companies, I’ve seen first-hand how essential higher education is in today’s world, and I want every Arkansan to get the knowledge and skills they need to succeed.

I believe that we ought to be a society where everyone has the chance to live up to his or her God-given potential. We can’t guarantee that everyone will succeed, but we can guarantee that everyone will have an opportunity to succeed if they work hard and they’re responsible. We hear politicians talk all the time about the importance of education. Well, let’s do more than just talk about it.

The pages that follow spell out in detail how we can do it and how to pay for it.  Some may find this too ambitious. But if you wouldn’t hire a football coach who doesn’t aspire to winning the national championship and have a plan to do so, then why would you hire a Chief Executive Officer of the state who doesn’t aspire to help make Arkansas the best state in America and have a plan to make it happen?

We have, as a country, long believed that this is the land where everybody gets a shot, no matter where you come from. When I was growing up in North Little Rock, we Arkansans called our state the “Land of Opportunity.” Together, we can once again live up to that aspiration.


Bill Halter

You can read more about the Arkansas Promise here:

Originally posted to pdc on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 02:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions and The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.

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