Favorite

Too close to call 

House District 38 is one of the more interesting electorates in Arkansas. Best known for encompassing Little Rock’s Heights neighborhood, which is home to many of the state’s richest and most powerful people, the district is actually quite diverse, with low-income urban areas, high-end West Little Rock subdivisions, and everything in between. The result is a complicated political composition, almost evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, and further divided among moderates and liberals in both parties. The only way to survive in such an environment is to avoid any potentially controversial subjects. Enter David Johnson and John Parke, who are running this year for District 38’s open seat in the Arkansas legislature. Both men cite education as the most critical issue. "The big issue this year for candidates, voters, and legislators is funding facilities improvements," said Johnson, 36, a Democrat. "We need to find ways to make the legislature more efficient with education dollars, because we can still save more money and provide a quality education." His Republican opponent agrees, but he prefers to think about education in the context of economic development. "We need to get more and better jobs in Arkansas," Parke, 43, said. "We need to get people trained to hold down better jobs, and we need to get women coming off welfare trained to hold down more productive jobs." In terms of how their priorities translate into a legislative agenda, both men have expressed support for public school consolidation. However, while Parke says that consolidation should be reserved for schools where efficiency and performance standards are not met, Johnson would like to see a 900-student minimum for school districts (current law mandates a 350-student minimum). Johnson and Parke point to their careers and experiences as evidence of their readiness for public office. "I’ve been in the private business world for years, and I have had leadership positions in the community," said Parke, a Little Rock native who is the vice president of Democrat Printing and Lithographing Co. As chairman of the Museum of Discovery, he shepherded a merger with the Arkansas Children’s Museum, which he says demonstrates his ability to forge consensus. Johnson, who moved to Little Rock six years ago to join the Pulaski County prosecuting attorney’s office, believes that his knowledge of the law better prepares him to serve in the House.
Favorite

Sign up for the Daily Update email

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Warwick Sabin

  • Helena's disappearing buildings

    Preservationists hope to slow demolitions.
    • Mar 22, 2007
  • Trailers headed to Dumas

    Gov. Mike Beebe issued the following statement earlier today: Although this decision by FEMA to deny emergency funds to Desha County defies common sense, Arkansas will take care of its own people.
    • Mar 9, 2007
  • Youth Ranch robbed, vandalized

    According to a press release we just received: The Donald W. Reynolds Campus of the Arkansas Sheriff’s Youth Ranches (The Ranch) located near Fort Smith was vandalized overnight Thursday.  Items stolen during the break-in included all of the children’s saddles, food, tools and supplies from The Ranch’s carpentry shop and all equipment from its auto shop.  An investigation is underway with the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office.
    • Mar 9, 2007
  • More »

Readers also liked…

Latest in Cover Stories

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: State yanks PFH funds

    • So many innocent people hurt by their actions. People like myself who need Medicaid to…

    • on July 20, 2018
  • Re: Taking the widow's mite

    • He is a cosponsor...recorded in the Congressional Record as a cosponsor...and not only does he…

    • on July 19, 2018
  • Re: A deeper dive into a wider 30

    • There are a lot of state highways that should be county roads and city streets…

    • on July 19, 2018
 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation