Debra Hobbs: Add Job Applications to Government Aid

LITTLE ROCK - A Republican candidate for governor said Tuesday that too many people "have learned how to work the system" and that she would want anyone receiving government assistance to also fill out a job application when applying for aid.

State Rep. Debra Hobbs, R-Rogers, speaking to the Political Animals Club, decried the poor stewardship of government money. Meeting with reporters afterward, she said people receiving unemployment benefits or welfare checks should be required to apply for work.

"I'm for helping people, but not for (just) giving them a check," Hobbs said.

She said later the job applications should be required only of able-bodied people. "I'm not stigmatizing everyone who is receiving benefits," she said.

People receiving unemployment benefits already are required to seek work. Without providing statistics or specifics, Hobbs said there are too many cases when people make only cursory checks and remain on government aid.

In her remarks to the group at the Little Rock Club, Hobbs said the country had to spend the money it has wisely rather than just take in more and distribute it inequitably.

"People who have learned how to work the system are making more money" than people not receiving government aid, she said.

Hobbs entered the race in May and will face former U.S. Rep. Asa Hutchinson and Little Rock businessman Curtis Coleman in the Republican primary. She has been in the state House since 2009 - she was unopposed in all elections - after serving in local politics.

Former U.S. Rep. Mike Ross is the only Democratic candidate. Former Lt. Gov. Bill Halter left the race this summer.

Two-term Gov. Mike Beebe, a Democrat, cannot seek re-election because of Arkansas' term-limits law.

Hobbs trails the other candidates in fundraising but said Tuesday that, at present, she isn't worried about the ability to push her message across as the campaign goes on. Hutchinson reported having $649,148 in the bank at mid-year while Coleman reported raising $101,714 in the three months ending June 30, including a $25,000 loan he gave his campaign.

Hobbs transferred $7,125 from her state House fund to the governor's race.

"People give to the people they think are going to win," Hobbs said. "They've been campaigning for a year. I've been campaigning for two months."

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