The motto of the Ken Aden campaign is "People First, Politics Last" and Aden discusses his policy positions and strategy for unseating Republican incumbent Steve Womack.
During an end-of-year meet and greet on Dec. 28 in Fayetteville, Arkansas, Ken Aden spoke to a group of thirty. At that meeting, I was introduced to a candidate who told the audience we "should look out for each other and put people first then our country would be a much better place."
One should not take Aden's unassuming nature or seemingly small frame as signs of weakness. Aden is a military veteran who saw combat in Iraq and Afghanistan and it appears this former Staff Sargeant is not one to back down from a fight. A fight with incumbent Rep. Steve Womack (R-Arkansas) is one Aden has chosen because he wants to represent the people of Arkansas' Third Congressional District.
Aden boldly asserted his positions on a number of issues during that meeting. For example, he was critical of large corporations that do not pay their fair share of taxes, noted that it would be "criminal" to cut Social Security or Medicare because they are "contracts" with people, and vowed to push for policies that would help homeless veterans and those who are having trouble paying their "light bills or putting gas in the car or food on the table." The challenges facing veterans, in the words of Aden, are "not only wrong, it is disgusting."
Ken Aden, Democrat for U.S. Congress, talks to supporters. Fayetteville, Ark.
A post by Ken Aden on his Facebook page states the following: Here is my message to Mr. Womack. WE the people of NW Arkansas are going to ensure that you do not get reelected in 2012. We are going to put PEOPLE FIRST!
In a follow-up interview with Aden, I asked him to discuss his strategy, as a Democrat, for winning in Northwest Arkansas, which has such a high concentration of Republicans especially in Benton County? It should be noted that, although Republican incumbent Womack only has an approval rating of 44 percent, he did win the open seat in 2010 with 72 percent of votes in the general election, and the Third District is "home to Arkansas’s largest concentration of Christian conservatives."
The condensed version of our strategy will be a "shock and awe" style retail political ground game. We have already launched this aspect of the campaign in three crucial counties. We will combat the heavily Republican populous with certain "watershed issues" that affect everyone across the political spectrum. For instance, the massive influx of Republicans/tea partiers in this district are heavily opposed to any cuts to Medicare and Social Security. Remember one of the biggest lies told about the Affordable Care Act was that it would affect these programs. Another strength to our campaign is the fact that we are not beholden and will not be beholden to anyone other than the people of the third district, be it corporations or our own political party. Our plight as a country has been caused by failed policy from Republicans and Democrats. We must not make excuses for such travesties as an unconstitutional Defense Authorization Act of 2011, the continuation of offshore tax havens for a select rich few, or the utter blind eye being turned to oil subsidies and tax credits for Lear jets. It matters not at all who is in the White House when these things are not being addressed. You would be hard pressed to find a working class Republican or Democrat who would fight for policy like this. The bottom line is, it’s not about Republican politicians and Democratic politicians, it’s about people who were sincere when they took their oath to protect the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic and people who saw their elected office as a conduit to funnel corporate money into their pockets.
Aden was also asked to look at Womack's voting record, discuss one or two of his votes that he disagrees with, explain why, and discuss what his positions would be on the issues in question.
One of the many votes that hits close to home is his standing vote for disastrous free trade agreements. While his constituents suffered, Womack voted to make it easy for their employers, some of whom were contributors to his campaigns, to move their jobs. He then talked about all the cheap goods that free trade brings, without mentioning the difficulty the unemployed have in buying products—like refrigerators—without an income from a job. The bottom line is that NAFTA has been horrible for our state. At one time Mr. Womack said that NAFTA was bad and now he votes to support it, and thus supports the exporting of our jobs, here in the 3rd District, overseas. An example of this would be Whirlpool plant-closing in Ft. Smith.
The closing of a Whirpool plant, that Aden is referring to, impacts 1,000 employees in Ft. Smith, Ark. and involves the shipping of the production of side-by-side refrigerators to a plant in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico.
Ken Aden talks to attendees at "meet and greet" event. Fayetteville, Ark. 12/28/11
Aden also reiterated his opposition to cuts in Social Security and Medicare. "Another major issue which concerns me are the proposed cuts to Medicare and Social Security," said Aden. "Recently Mr. Womack has gone on record to say that the reason why our country is in debt is because of things such as Medicare and Social Security, for example. To that I would say 'wrong answer Mr. Womack.' For the last 9 years in wars overseas we have spent on average of close to 19.2 million dollars an hour. I believe that first cuts to curb the federal deficit must be made there, NOT with our Medicare and Social Security. These programs shouldn't even be an option to cut, and any attempts to do are criminal in my opinion."
As indicated above, the Ken Aden for Congress campaign's strategy is "a 'shock and awe' style retail political ground game." What might leave some voters pleasantly shocked and then in awe of Aden is that he gives out his personal cell phone number and invites folks to "feel free to call me directly at 479-857-2124." The ground game for the Aden campaign also involves numerous "Meet the Candidate" events, appearances at Democratic events, and other gatherings. Upcoming events include a "Rockin Pig Party" at the Rockin Pig Saloon in Eureka Springs on Jan 15th and a "Pizza Greet" at Gusano's Pizzeria in Bentonville on Jan. 16th. Attendees are invited to ask Ken Aden "any question about why he is running for office and just what he would like to do to make the 3rd Congressional District the best that it can be."