Leader Blues

Monday, May 18, 2009

TOP STORY >> Dismang eyeing Capps’ Senate seat

Rep. Jonathan Dismang (R-Beebe) is considering a race to succeed Sen. John Paul Capps (D-Searcy), who is term limited.

Dismang, 29, has filed the necessary paperwork with the Secretary of State’s Office to form an exploratory committee to run next year for the Senate in Dist. 29, which includes southern White County, a portion of Faulkner County outside of the Vilonia area and the Jacksonville area.

Dismang, a freshman representative from House Dist. 49, which encompasses most of rural White County, says many people have encouraged him to run.

He says he wants his candidacy to be “driven” by the people back home, so he will be visiting around the district to meet with people and discuss his potential run.  

“I want to see if it would allow me to better serve the people of White County, and to make sure that I am the right person to represent the people in Jacksonville and Faulkner County.”

Gov. Mike Beebe held the Senate seat for many years.

“Gov. Beebe and Sen. Capps are two people who have brought a lot to the state politically, and two people that I really admire,” Dismang said. “I hope to provide the same strong voice and common-sense representation the people of Dist. 29 have enjoyed under their service.”

Dismang received recognition early in his first session by becoming vice chairman of the freshman caucus and then by being named one of the top six freshman legislators of the 87th General Assembly.  

During the session, Dismang sponsored a bill that would have removed the state income tax on active military duty pay and another bill that would have disallowed a gas company’s use of eminent domain for the acquisition of gathering lines.  

The income-tax exemption passed in the House, but it was pulled down in the Senate Revenue and Tax Committee. His bill limiting the use of eminent domain died in the House Agriculture Committee.

“With the exception of a few cleanup bills, all of the legislation that I introduced was constituent-driven. While the passage of the bills I introduced may have been limited, I really feel like my fellow members have a better understanding and respect for the issues we are facing back home.”  

Dismang’s exploratory committee will be led by former White County Judge Bob Parish, Jeff Hoggard and David Staggs, also of White County, and Rep. Jane English (R-North Little Rock).