The PAC, titled It’s Time to Fix Stupid AR, strives to “highlight the absurdity of some of the actions [of politicians],” Walker said.
“We say, ‘At least show common sense and demonstrate that when you’re making laws that impact Arkansans every day,'” Wroten said.
A group of about five Arkansans, including Walker, Wroten, their friend Dorothy Hall and others, launched the PAC recently as an activity of Arkansas Women Vote, which they also co-founded.
The First Chapter
It’s Time to Fix Stupid started in Kansas, and Walker said the website caught their eye and inspired them to start something similar in their home state.
“[People] are frustrated with the behavior of their legislature,” she said. “[It’s Time to Fix Stupid] is kind of snarky, but it’s trying to highlight some pretty important issues in a more humorous vein. We were taken by that. They had so many people inquire that they have actually set up a national website, and they are encouraging and allowing state chapters.”
So far, Arkansas is the only chapter listed on the It’s Time to Fix Stupid website. Like Kansas, the Arkansas group is nonpartisan.
“It seems like the last two or three or four years, it’s gotten really strange,” Wroten said. “It’s gotten weird, weird, weird. I don’t think it’s a partisan thing. There are stupid things that come out of Democrats, as well as Republicans and Independents. We have so few educated legislators compared to the nation.”
“We want to get them to stop making laws that are not needed or that have an adverse effect on Arkansans,” Walker said.
“We want to get them to use facts, figures, good sold research to make public policy. You might not always agree with the result, but if you felt like they were looking at research; if they were looking at outcomes; if they were doing a real evaluation before some of the laws were passed, it might be easier to say that they had the information. But, that’s not the way I see it.”
Wroten and Walker, who have known each other for about 30 years, have had long careers in the political arena.
Wroten worked for the University of Arkansas for 40 years, along with stints at the Arkansas Legislative Council and with the Clinton Administration. She retired as vice president of governmental relations at UA Systems. Walker was a teacher, state president of the Arkansas Education Association and led public policy campaigns as a consultant. She later worked for UA Systems as director of programs for the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute.
‘Stupid Primary’ and More
Through It’s Time to Fix Stupid AR, Wroten and Walker are focusing on women’s issues, education, health care and others of importance to Arkansans.
Its website features a section called, “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up,” where individuals all over the state are encouraged to submit stories about their legislators doing or saying what they consider to be stupid. The site also features a “stupid primary,” where people can nominate “legislators who failed to demonstrate common sense.”
The goal of forming the PAC, Walker said, is to encourage people to engage with the legislative process and to hold accountable the legislators who represent them.
“If you are a constituent of someone and they did or said something and you’re reaction is ‘that’s really stupid,’ we want the constituents to highlight those actions,” she said.
“We’re hoping that if you can begin to engage [constituents] on why they are frustrated about some of their [legislators’] behaviors, [that the legislator] will either choose not to run again or choose to listen to reasonable, rational arguments.”
For now, Walker, Wroten and a few volunteers are running the site with little to no budget. They say more volunteers, especially millennials, are needed to carry it out and help with social media.
“One of my concerns is capacity,” Walker said. “I say, ‘I’d love for this thing to go viral.’ I know intellectually what that means, but we need to capture that. I think a more playful, humorous approach to politics might do that for some of them. I’ve heard a lot about and read about and observed — [millennials] are more socially conscious.”