FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Arkansas is just days away from Governor-elect Sarah Huckabee Sanders being sworn into office.
Although they backed democratic candidate Chris Jones throughout the governor’s race, the Washington County Federation of Democratic Women said having a woman in the governor’s seat, makes them excited for the future of women running for office.
Gracie Ziegler is the president of the Arkansas Democratic Women’s Caucus and said the number of women in leadership positions is trending upward. In Washington County, Ziegler said two new women are taking seats in the quorum court and city council.
Throughout the 2022 election cycle, Ziegler said just over 50% of Arkansans voted. She expects having a female governor to be a huge opportunity to boost voter turnout in future elections.
“It’s very much along the lines of ‘if you can see it, you can be it,’ and we don’t have a huge number of women in leadership positions in Arkansas or even in the country. As we’re helping registered voters and talking to parents that are voting and then bringing their kids in to vote, it’s great to see they have choices on the ballot and that those choices look like them,” said Ziegler.
Ziegler encourages us to keep up with the upcoming legislative sessions and to reach out to elected officials about what changes we’d like to see.
“The session does start next week and there will be a lot on the docket. Over 55 bills have already been filed. There’s a lot to discuss and we know that the discussions are going to be hot,” said Ziegler.
She said she wants to see how Sanders will work to improve Arkansas’ education system.
Sanders’ Arkansas LEARNS initiative is her plan to make sure children have access to quality education, a good-paying job, and a better life within the state. Ziegler said her organization of Democratic women agrees with that 100%.
She hopes that will open the door to talk about teacher pay raises, and Sanders will push opportunities for all children, regardless of their economic status and political party views.
Inaugural events for Sanders start Saturday, Jan. 7 in Little Rock.
On Saturday afternoon, Sanders will host a Freedom Fest, followed by Bourbon and Cigars with the First Gentleman event. The Freedom Fest will feature Arkansas performers like Joe Nichols and the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff Drumline.
Sanders’ inauguration is Tuesday and will begin with a prayer and worship service followed by her inaugural address and Governor’s Ball. Tickets to these events can be purchased here.