UPDATE: Two candidates announce for open Senate seat in Jonesboro | Arkansas Blog

Monday, August 26, 2013

UPDATE: Two candidates announce for open Senate seat in Jonesboro

Posted By on Mon, Aug 26, 2013 at 11:32 AM

click to enlarge DAN SULLIVAN
UPDATE: Two announcements today for the state Senate seat opened in the Jonesboro area by Paul Bookout's resignation. As yet, details of the special election aren't set.

* DEMOCRAT:  Steve Rockwell, a Democrat, who manages his family's printing and publishing business, said he wanted to run to restore "trust and dignity back into this office."

* REPUBLICAN: An announcement came from Dan Sullivan, CEO of Ascent Children's Health Services, which provides mental health services for children. His work with the company has included "legislative affairs," or lobbying. Behavioral health is a component of Medicaid services provided by the state. John Cooper, an AT&T retiree, announced earlier as a Republican.

On the Democratic side, Valley View School Superintendent Radius Baker has said he's considering the race and several Jonesboro Democrats have been talking up retired football coach Larry Lacewell. Several others will likely get in.

(Jonesboro, Arkansas) – Steve Rockwell, a Democrat, announced his candidacy for Arkansas’ State Senate District 21 today. His announcement comes just days before the specifics of the special Senate election will be decided.

Rockwell said, “I’m excited to announce that I will seek the office of Senate District 21. I am ready to turn the page and put the focus back on what is important: restoring trust and dignity back into this office, creating jobs, improving education, and promoting the middle class.”

Rockwell is known throughout the region for his community service and experience in managing a successful family publishing business with operations in Northeast Arkansas and several other states.

“It’s been an honor to grow our local family business in Northeast Arkansas into a widely-known entity. I’ve enjoyed raising our kids here, earning my degrees at ASU, and watching Jonesboro grow into one of the biggest and finest cities in the state,” said Rockwell. “It’s now more important than ever that we elect an experienced leader to continue that progress.”

Rockwell has worked with many business leaders, helping position Jonesboro’s economy for growth and prosperity. “Jonesboro and Craighead County need a strong leader like Steve to help keep our area on the right track. The economy in Jonesboro is growing. The time is now to further the progress of Governor Beebe’s leadership, helping businesses to create good-paying jobs,” stated former Jonesboro State Representative Joan Cash.

“We need representatives that work to create good public policy that helps create more jobs and restores citizens’ trust in government,” said Rockwell. “It’s time to turn the page. As your State Senator I will bring a fresh perspective as someone who has never run for public office and is not a politician. I’m a public servant, and I pledge to be a representative who will work to get things done for the people of Craighead County. People come first, period.”

In addition to his work at family-owned J.V. Rockwell Publishing, Corning Publishing, and Star Herald Publishing Companies, Rockwell is an Adjunct Professor of Political Science at Arkansas State University. Rockwell is also engaged in community service. He currently serves on the Dean’s Advisory Council for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at ASU as well as serving on the Board of Directors of Craighead Community Foundation. Rockwell is a former board member of City Youth Ministries, and served as Council President for Blessed Sacrament Church where he was a long-standing member of the finance council. He has two adult daughters and five grandchildren. His wife, Dana, taught in the Jonesboro School District for over 28 years and is currently Examiner and Advocate for Adult Education for Valley View Schools.


Dan Sullivan of Jonesboro officially announces his candidacy for Senate District 21 today. Sullivan, a former educator and current businessman, enters the race as a Republican.

“There are several issues right now in Arkansas State Government where very important decisions are being made. I want to make sure that the people of District 21 have a seat at the table when critical policies such as healthcare and education are being discussed”, said Sullivan.

Sullivan is a graduate of Arkansas State University where he played basketball for the Indians. He has over twenty
five years in the field of education serving as a teacher and coach, finishing his education career as Principal at South Elementary of Jonesboro and Craighead County Success School.

Currently, Sullivan is the CEO of Ascent Children’s Health Services, a company with over 400 employees and 10 clinics across the State of Arkansas. Prior to becoming CEO, Sullivan served as Ascent’s Vice President of Development and Legislative Affairs. As an advocate, Sullivan serves as the President of the Arkansas Behavioral
Health Care Provider Association. He also serves as an appointee to the Arkansas Child Care Licensing Review Board.

“I’ve spent the past 10 years as an advocate for the physical and mental health of our children, the most vulnerable citizens of our State. This has allowed me to spend time at the State Capitol working with the legislature and State agencies. I know the process of policy making and I know that I can be effective in acting in the best interest of the people of District 21”, said Sullivan.

Sullivan is married to Maria Stewart Sullivan of Monette, also a graduate of Arkansas State University. They have two children, Matt Sullivan and Ann Sullivan Ojeda. The Sullivan’s attend Southwest Church in Jonesboro, where Dan serves as a Shepherd.

The Sullivans are also active in the Wolflife Campus Ministry.

For More information, please contact Dan Sullivan at 870-275-2929 or by email at

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