Banker Candidate Q&A With French Hill

Meet Congressman French Hill, former Chairman & CEO of Delta Trust & Banking Corp., and incumbent for U.S. House of Representatives 2nd Congressional District.

What inspired you to run for office?

I've always believed in public service and believe that all citizens should help their communities through public service, whether that’s running for the school board, local city council, or even running for U.S. Congress. The first campaign that I volunteered for was in 1966, when Win Rockefeller ran for Governor of Arkansas.

My service in Congress is my third tour of duty in public service in Washington. I was a staffer on the U.S. Senate Banking Committee in the 1980’s, and then, in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, I worked for Pres. George H. W. Bush as a senior economic policy advisor in the White House.

Why is it important for bankers to be involved in, and knowledgeable about, politics – particularly at the local level?

A successful banker is always aware of the priorities and objectives of their community at the local, county, and state levels. Therefore, it's essential that all of our Arkansas bankers and members of our boards of directors are knowledgeable about our state and local leadership. This allows our banks to be better community advocates for economic development and in recruiting and electing quality public service candidates.

You’re running to represent central Arkansas in the U.S. Congress, what importance does service to your community in this capacity have?

Serving in Congress is a perfect blend of the skills that I learned as a banker, a Rotary Club president and chairman of the Regional Chamber of Commerce. I love working with Arkansas citizens as well as local leaders, like our mayors and county judges, to help them accomplish their objectives to improve their community.

Serving in Congress is a humbling and rewarding experience, and I have treasured the past three and one-half years serving the people of the Second Congressional District right here in central Arkansas.

Elected officials provide a voice for their constituents...what does that responsibility mean to you?

Serving as Member of the U.S. House of Representatives obligates each Member to be a voice for citizens’ concerns about federal policy. But, it also gives them the serious responsibility of assisting these same citizens with issues before the federal government, which they are facing. This includes claims before the IRS, the Veterans Administration, and the Social Security Administration. It also includes helping citizens with last-minute travel needs – especially getting a passport before a big family vacation. So, in addition to advocating for our citizens and our local towns and cities in Congress, it's also a real honor to serve our individual families and help them straighten out challenges that they have with the federal government.

What is the importance of voting as a banker, and as an Arkansan?

One of our fundamental obligations as a citizen of the United States is to vote. There's no more important matter when it comes to ensuring that we have thoughtful, quality leaders to serve in positions of public trust, such as our school boards, city councils, or quorum courts – or as leaders of our state or nation. I still recall the pride in casting my first vote in 1976, America's bicentennial year. I believe every citizen should get involved, learn the issues and candidates, and be active by casting their vote each election.

This Banker Candidate Q&A is a follow-up to the article “From Making Loans to Making Laws,” published in the August 2018 issue of The Arkansas Banker.