Josh Mahony, a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, visited Pine Bluff on Friday to tout his campaign plan. Mahony is running against Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton.
In Pine Bluff, Mahony said he sees a community on the rise.
“Pine Bluff is a great place,” he said. “There are so many great smaller communities in our state. We need to let people know that the future for kids in Pine Bluff or Dumas can be bright. If they want to go to community college for free, they should be able to. If they want to learn a vocation, they should be able to. We should be able to set them up with a career where they can live happy, productive lives.”
According to his campaign material, Mahony is a native Arkansan, non-profit leader and small business owner. Born on a farm in El Dorado, he owns a natural resources company. He said he’s familiar with the challenges facing entrepreneurs and local businesses, from rising healthcare costs to attracting and retaining a skilled workforce.
He also said he understands the frustrations of having to watch billion-dollar companies get tax breaks while mom and pop shops get crumbs.
In 2018, Mahony first got involved in electoral politics, running in the most Republican Congressional district in the state. He received 32.6 percent of the vote in his race against incumbent Republican Steve Womack in the state's 3rd Congressional District in November.
He said he made positive gains for the Democratic Party during the race by adding 17,000 more voters to support the Democratic candidate and energizing and engaging the activist base in a demographically changing part of the state.
Mahony is the founder of the New Leaders Council – Arkansas Chapter, which looks to recruit and train progressive millennial leaders that will one day be the next candidates, political entrepreneurs and non-profit leaders of Arkansas.
Regarding his opponent, Mahony said that Cotton has lost touch with the people of Arkansas.
"He left Arkansas for D.C. the first chance he had, and it's plain to me and a lot of folks that he's just using us for his own ambitions. I've had enough of it, and I believe the good people of Arkansas have, too," Mahony said.
In a recent phone interview with members of the media, the Arkansas Times reported that Mahony gave a passionate speech about why he is running against Cotton.
"Y'all, I'm pretty angry,” the Times reported Mahony as saying. “I'm angry that people in Washington keep telling us how great the economy is when I see so many people here in Arkansas that are busting their butts just to get by. I'm angry that last year, 18,000 people in my state lost their health insurance and that thousands more are being threatened by Washington insiders like Tom Cotton that don't give a damn if people live or die. I'm angry that the one man who should care is so busy kissing up to lobbyists and Washington parties that he's completely forgotten who he works for.”
On his campaign website, Mahony said he believes that “Arkansas needs a strong voice in Washington that fights for the people and not special interests. I will fight for wages that are equal to our hard work, make sure everyone has the opportunity to pursue an education that will bring them prosperity where they live, and insure that no person has to choose between feeding their family or paying for healthcare. I plan to continue taking this message across Arkansas so that every Arkansan has the ability to reach for their own American dream."