The independent student newspaper of Iowa State and Ames since 1890

Iowa State Daily

Iowa State Daily

Iowa State Daily

Presidential candidate Asa Hutchinson discusses crime and border control in Ames

Daniel Jacobi II
Republican presidential candidate former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson speaks during the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition 23rd Annual Fall Banquet Presidential Town Hall on Sept. 16, 2023, at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa.

Former Arkansas Gov. and current Republican presidential candidate Asa Hutchinson pushed for an increase in arrests for people who break laws and a crackdown on border control during a Wednesday discussion at Aunt Maude’s in Ames.

Hutchinson discussed the current state of law enforcement, laying out a potential plan to enforce “rule of law,” arresting people who violate the law.

“The lack of accountability has encouraged the criminal element,” Hutchinson said. “I know how to stop that as a former federal prosecutor.”

Hutchinson served as the governor of Arkansas from 2015-23, an administrator for the Drug Enforcement Administration during the George W. Bush administration and worked in border and transportation security.

Hutchinson recalled protests in Arkansas following the death of George Floyd in 2020, mentioning the state’s capital, Little Rock, was “threatened.” According to Hutchinson, the chief of police and mayor were not making enough arrests. Hutchinson said he brought in the state police and National Guard, and made 70 arrests in one night.

“Guess what happened. The violence stopped,” Hutchinson said. “When you see smash and grab in our inner cities, when you see violence in Washington D.C., this is not the great country that I want. I want the rule of law respected, and it starts with border security, it starts with enforcement of our laws in our inner cities.”

Hutchinson continued, saying he brought in leaders of the protesting groups, and the leaders did not push for violence during the protests. Hutchinson then worked to create a task force involving the protest leaders and law enforcement members. 

Out of the task force in Arkansas came changes such as increased police training and a database to prevent members of the police force who have previously used excessive force from being hired elsewhere.

Hutchinson said he believes the Biden administration has failed handling issues such as energy policy, border security and global relations.

During the discussion, Hutchinson criticized Biden’s energy policies, saying he has removed some oil and fuel leases in the U.S., which caused him to go overseas to request more production due to a lack of supply.

“[Biden] goes to Saudi Arabia and says ‘Can you produce more?’” Hutchinson said. “One of the most embarrassing trips for the United States of America.”

Hutchinson’s plans include reopening canceled leases in Alaska to produce oil, relying on biofuel production in Iowa and finding a way to produce in the most environmentally friendly way while still producing internally.

During his time as a leader of border security during the Bush presidency, Hutchinson said it was not done perfectly, but would be an improvement over the current situation. 

“I know how to make sure the border patrol has the resources they need,” Hutchinson said.

Hutchinson said the biggest issue he is looking to tackle is the state of the economy. 

“I want the private sector of the economy to grow faster than the government sector,” Hutchinson said. “That means you are going to control government spending, you’re not going to print money that you can’t pay for, you’re going to be focused on the private sector and reducing regulations.”

Hutchinson’s plan includes reducing government regulations imposed, reducing cost of goods and creating a fair tax structure, which he said would lead to the creation of jobs in the U.S.

Mentioning a five-year waitlist for immigration to the U.S. from the Philippines, Hutchinson stressed a balance between “having a legal path here and also recognizing we’ve got to be able to control the workforce.”

Hutchinson said he disagrees with the federal government making decisions like this for districts, when communities can make a more representative decision for themselves.

During the Obama administration, Hutchinson recalled a notice sent to all school superintendents, guiding bathroom policies in U.S. school districts.

“They sent out a notice from the Department of Education, their Civil Rights Division, to all the superintendents directly, and said ‘You need to have transgender bathrooms. You need to open them up to whatever gender the child decides they are that day,’” Hutchinson said.

“I sent out a public notice saying all of our school superintendents can ignore this guidance,” Hutchinson said.

The event was one of 12 Hutchinson is planning to hold in Iowa during the week.

According to FiveThirtyEight data, Hutchinson is polling seventh out of Republican candidates both nationally and in the state of Iowa.

Leave a Comment
Donate to Iowa State Daily
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of the Iowa State Daily. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, send our student journalists to conferences and off-set their cost of living so they can continue to do best-in-the-nation work at the Iowa State Daily.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Donate to Iowa State Daily
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All Iowa State Daily Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *