Asa Hutchinson: On the issues

Gun Rights

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Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson officially launched his campaign for the GOP presidential nomination on Wednesday.

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Here’s where he stands on some top issues:

Abortion

Hutchinson signed a near-total abortion ban into law in 2021, which included an exception for the life of the mother. Hutchinson said at the time that he would have preferred the ban also include exceptions for rape and incest.

After the Supreme Court overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade decision last year, ending the federal right to an abortion, Hutchinson said the court’s decision “will save lives.”

But he does not support a federal ban on abortion, instead arguing that policies dictating abortion access and restrictions should be decided at the state level.

“There’s some debate about whether you ought to have a national standard,” Hutchinson told Meet the Press NOW earlier this month. “I believe that the states is what we fought for, for years. It ought to come back to them.” 

Entitlements

“We have got to protect Social Security and Medicare,” Hutchinson recently told PBS NewsHour. He added that he does not support raising the retirement age to address the looming shortfalls facing those entitlement programs.

As governor, Hutchinson also championed adding a work requirement for the state’s Medicaid expansion. 

“We want them to have the health care coverage,” Hutchinson told NPR in 2019.

“But we also want to help them to get to work and to show them where the path is so that they can have an income,” he later added.

Ukraine

Hutchinson’s position as a staunch supporter of aid to Ukraine sets him apart from some other members current and potential presidential candidates who have said assisting Ukraine in its war against Russia is not in America’s national interest.

“We must not be near-sighted when it comes to offering assistance to the Ukrainian people in their conflict with Russia,” Hutchinson said in a February statement, later adding, “If we stand by and let this nation falter, it leaves a hostile Russia on the doorstep of our NATO allies.”

Transgender issues

As governor, Hutchinson had a mixed record on transgender issues. He vetoed a bill banning gender-affirming care for minors, criticizing the measure as “vast government overreach.”

“While in some instances the state must act to protect life, the state should not presume to jump into the middle of every medical, human and ethical issue,” Hutchinson said in 2021 as he vetoed the bill.  

But he also signed a measure barring transgender women and girls competing in school sports that aligned with their gender identity

Guns

After the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 and chaired a National Rifle Association-funded task force, which recommended more armed security and school staff.

Hutchinson did signal some openness to raising the age to purchase an AR-15-style rifle following recent mass shootings. 

“I think you’ve got to be able to talk about the AR-15-style weapons and whether that’s an 18 or 21 age, you have to at least have a conversation,” Hutchinson told CNN last year.

Immigration

Hutchinson has said President Joe Biden’s administration has a “consistent pattern of misguided decision” when it comes to immigration. He has criticized illegal immigration, and as governor Hutchinson sent national guard troops to the southern border.

“Legal immigration is the foundation of our diverse and prosperous society. However, the illegal crossing of individuals directly undermines our institutions and public safety and threatens the well-being of our children,” Hutchinson wrote in a Fox News op-ed earlier this year.

 2020 election

Unlike some other current and potential presidential candidates, Hutchinson has been clear that the 2020 was not stolen, as former President Donald Trump falsely claims. And he has said focusing on the 2020 election is a losing strategy for the GOP.

“I don’t believe the election was stolen and I respect the results,” Hutchinson said at a National Governors Association meeting in Jan. 2022.

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