Can fresh faces help Democrats in legislative races? Here's one from Dardanelle. | Arkansas Blog

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Can fresh faces help Democrats in legislative races? Here's one from Dardanelle.

Posted By on Sun, Oct 4, 2015 at 7:34 AM

click to enlarge LESA WOLFE CROWELL
  • LESA WOLFE CROWELL
The Obama years propelled the Arkansas Republican Party to dominance in state political office sufficient to begin prompting party switches among the minority party.

Is all lost? Well, there have been a scattering of signs of hope for a comeback, particularly in some fresh faces for candidacies in the legislature. Here's another, sent along by a blog friend up the Arkansas River Valley.

Lesa Wolfe Crowell, a parole agent from Dardanelle, will run as a Democrat to try to take back the District 73 seat won two years ago by Republican Mary Bentley of Perryville, who I recall was mostly about abortion in her first race for District 73.

Crowell, an Army veteran who served as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne, is a certified law enforcement instructor and Arkansas Tech graduate. She says:  "I am not a single issue candidate. Issues on the state level, such as prison overcrowding, have a tremendous impact on local law enforcement and I want to bring those concerns to Little Rock from a first person perspective. Another primary focus of mine will be the correlation between high school dropout rates, drug use and recidivism, but I will also bring the voices and concerns of rural farmers and factory workers with me when elected. District 73 has abundant natural resources and a large diverse workforce, so cultivating new job opportunities for the people in this area will be another objective."

She says people in Yell, Pope and Perry counties tell her they feel under-represented. "As a female in male-dominated careers throughout my life," she says she's up to the challenge.

The grit is welcome. It'll be necessary for Democrats simply to hang onto their current minority percentage, never mind increasing it.

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