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Arkansas Democratic Party leader talks politics post-legislative session

Arkansas Democrats gathered in Fort Smith last weekend to discuss strategy after the recent legislative session, where Republicans made huge gains. The GOP supermajority in the legislature passed a crime bill, a tax cut, and a package of conservative education policies, which Democrats do not support.

Speaking with KUAR News, Arkansas Democratic Party Chair Grant Tennille said he hopes the legislation will backfire on conservatives.

“There are more people who dislike what they did during the recent legislative session than we have counted among our number in the past,” he said.

When going to the State Capitol during the Arkansas LEARNS debate, Tennille said he met many teachers and Arkansans who regretted voting for Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

“We’re seeing some openings,” he said in his speech to the party. “She’s overcooked the eggs.”

Tennille said he tries to open people up to the ideals of the Democratic Party through conversations and going door-to-door.

“The most important thing to do is to talk less and listen more,” he said.

When talking to voters, Tennille said he listens to people’s pre-conceived notions about the Democratic Party and then counters with the line: “that’s not what the Democratic Party believes.” In his conversations, Tennille has noticed that guns seem to be the most contentious issue. He says explaining that Arkansas Democrats are not anti-gun is often a “breakthrough moment”

Tennille said he had become “obsessed” with comments the Founding Fathers made about public education, in the wake of conservatives passing the LEARNS bill which would use public money to fund private school education.

“The founders believed that every citizen of the United States rich or poor have a responsibility to the new nation that could not be discharged without a basic education,” he said in his speech.

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