WASHINGTON D.C.– Former Arkansas Senator Mark Pryor is pushing for confederate monuments to come down, and said President Trump must reach across party lines.
After serving in the Arkansas legislature and as the state attorney general, Mark Pryor was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2002. He said the financial collapse during his second term produced harrowing decisions.
“That was a very scary moment,” Pryor said. “We were on the precipice. We were just right on the edge of a global depression. If we didnt pass this bill, the stock market would collapse.”
Pryor defended the taxper bailout of failing banks, and he stands by his deciding vote supporting the Affordable Care Act.
“I think the Affordable Care Act vote, the Obamacare vote, was a major part of me losing my seat,” Pryor said.
Pryor is a Democrat. In 2008, he ran unopposed. At the time, his party had a strangle hold on Arkansas politics. After the 2016 election, there was a Republican takover not only in Arkansas, but also in Congress.
“There are people in Arkansas that have voted Democrats all their lives and in the last few cycles, they voted Republican,” Pryor said. “And so will they come back and kind of revert back to the democratic party. I don’t know. I think it’s up to democrats to make a good case.”
According to Pryor, partisanship got progressively worse during his time in Congress. In part, he blames the vast amounts of money being poured into campaigns.
“The people are naturally frustrated because they feel like Congress isn’t listening to them,” Pryor said. “Well, guess what, Congress isn’t listening to them, a lot of them aren’t at least. They’re listening to these big mega donors.”
On President Trump, Pryor strikes a more optimistic tone than many in his party.
“I’m a Democrat, but he’s my President,” Pryor explained. “I want to see our President be successful. I want him to be a great leader.”
He also weighed in on the brewing controversy over confederate monuments on public grounds.
“I’m a proud Arkansan,” Pryor said.” We were part of the confederacy, and we shouldn’t run away from our history, but when you have these guys around the country that rally around all that negativity and that hatred then maybe they ought to come down.”
There are parts of the job he misses, but Pryor believes he’s still making a difference. As a lawyer and consultant in Washington, he said one of the big issues he’s working on is the opioid crisis.