"Absolutely not. Absolutely not. "
One of the election's biggest surprises came after election day.
Republican Davy Carter became Mr. Speaker thanks to a historic bi-partisan vote, made up mostly of democrats.
"Is it fair to say medicaid is the biggest issue in the session? "
"Absolutely, by far the biggest issue. "
"You just said nobody's grandpa is going to get kicked out on the street, how do you do that when you're short 300 million dollars? "
"we plug the hole today and we do that with surplus money that we're fortunate to have and we do that in combination with surplus an projected growth that has been forecasted in the governor's budget. "
Next, carter says lawmakers need to find out how to get Medicaid, which currently covers mostly low income children and nursing home patients, out of the red.
"We have to do it. Somebody has to do it."
Only then, carter says can they even begin to discuss whether to expand Medicaid to insure an additional 250-thousand Arkansans.
"Today I'm not convinced that wee can afford to do it. I'm still listening and this is an evolving process. "
Carter says there's not a timeline for the expansion...it could be decided next week or next year.
"You cannot look at it in a vacuum, there's not an easy answer. "
But he says he's ready to take it on.
"What is the quality you are bringing to this whole situation that you think will serve you best "
"man, that's tough, you're going to make me reflect. "
"no matter how difficult the political pressure from either side, when it comes down to making tough decisions and calling something like it , I was raised that way I work for people who are that way, I think we need a little bit more of that. "
On Monday he'll stand before 99 house members and see if he can lead them to answers for our state's biggest questions.