Joe Birch's candidate profile: John Boozman - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Joe Birch's candidate profile: John Boozman

John Boozman John Boozman

By Joe Birch - bio | email

PHILLIPS COUNTY, AR (WMC-TV) - Arkansas' only republican congressman may soon be promoted to the U.S. Senate.

Running as the GOP candidate against incumbent democratic Senator Blanche Lincoln, John Boozman wants to cut taxes, repeal health care reform, and eliminate the IRS.

"Right now there are 65,000 pages of regulations of IRS," Boozman said in a recent interview. "There are more IRS field agents than FBI and CIA put together."

He also believes America would be better served by a flat sales tax, replacing the current tax code.  The soft-spoken John Boozman soon may become Arkansas' leading conservative voice:

"What we've got to do is empower businesses," he said. "We do that by cutting your taxes, cutting the regulation and allowing them to create jobs that will last."

Married with three daughters, the soon-to-be 60-year-old congressman rolled his statewide bus tour into Eastern Arkansas this week. Rolling through Phillips and Lee Counties, we learned Boozman grew up in Fort Smith, played football for the Arkansas Razorbacks, and then graduated from Memphis' Southern College of Optometry.

"I'm an optometrist, eye doctor, and small businessman, so I know how difficult it is being a small business person," he said.

Boozman also served seven years on the school board in Rogers in Western Arkansas, while also raising cattle. He left the eye care business in 2001, winning a seat in Congress. Now he's challenging two-term incumbent Lincoln, the first Arkansan to chair the Senate Agriculture committee.

"If you look at my record, you'll find I voted with agriculture, represented them with as good a voting record as anybody else in the delegation," he said.

Action News 5 asked if he would concede that Lincoln is in a better position right now to deliver for the state of Arkansas.

"It depends on what she's delivering," he said. "She delivered a health care bill; was very proud to be the deciding vote. I want to be the deciding vote to repeal it."

If he wins, Boozman says he's been assured of a seat on the Senate agriculture committee. Endorsed by Sarah Palin, he is a GOP loyalist with a record following the party's playbook.

"The reality is, President Obama inherited a difficult situation," Boozman said. "He had the opportunity to lead us and improve that situation. Instead, he made a difficult situation much, much worse."

Lincoln defeated Boozman's brother, the late Fay Boozman, to win a seat in the Senate in 1998.

John and Fay Boozman started a full service eye practice in the late '70s with five employees. By 2001, the practice had 85 employees, including 10 doctors.

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