ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — We take a closer look at competitive races that will impact Northwest Arkansans on Election Day.

The 2nd Congressional District is in Central Arkansas. The counties include Conway, Faulkner, Perry, Pulaski, Saline, Van Buren, and White.

This election is a battleground race.

This race affects who will control the House in the 117th Congress. All 435 seats are up for election. Currently, the Democratic Party is the majority with 232 seats, the Republican Party has 198 seats, Libertarian Party one seat, and four seats are vacant. In this election, the Republican Party needs to win 20 seats to gain control of the chamber.

This district had been Democrat controlled for 20 years, but that changed in 2011 when Republican Tim Griffin was elected.

There are two candidates for the 2nd Congressional District race.

French Hill

French Hill (R) is the incumbent. The native Arkansan has represented central Arkansas’ District 2 since 2015. He graduated from Vanderbilt Universit with a degree in economics.

He founded and led the Delta Trust & Banking Corp.

Hill as served as a policy advisor to President H.W. Bush and Sr. Advisor to Governor Huckabee.

Joyce Elliott

Joyce Elliott (D) is an Arkansas native who was born in Willisville.

Elliott has a bachelor’s from Southern Arkansas University and a master’s from Ouachita Baptist University.

She has worked as a teacher in several states and has worked for The College Board.

She’s currently a member of the Arkansas State Senate District 31 through 2023.

KNWA/FOX24 asked the candidates to give their opinion to three generic questions pertaining to Arkansas

  • In Central Arkansas, in your opinion, what is a situation that needs to be dealt with, for example, roads, water systems, environment, community safety?
  • When the pandemic hit, in hindsight, what are the first three steps that need/should be done to protect people, in your opinion?
  • Black Lives Matter, what does this US-based international movement mean in Arkansas, in your opinion?

French Hill: At this moment, in the midst of defeating the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress needs to take action to help the thousands of struggling families, workers, and small businesses in Central Arkansas. We must vote to extend the Paycheck Protection Program, which has helped keep 51 million Americans employed. More than 43,000 Arkansas small business owners have been able to keep tens of thousands of Arkansans employed, both benefiting our economy and supporting families who have been negatively impacted by COVID-19. Further, we need to give Governor Asa Hutchinson key flexibility to spend CARES Act funding on long term infrastructure improvements like broadband. 

In order to protect our most vulnerable, we need to encourage our friends and neighbors to wear a mask, maintain social distancing in public spaces, and wash their hands to avoid spreading germs. After we do this, we must restore our way of life by defeating the coronavirus. We can do this by supporting our scientists and doctors as they perfect therapeutic treatments for speeding recovery from the virus and developing a vaccine.

We need to take this time to reflect on our nation’s past, and every community must reach out to their neighbors in order to better understand the pain of those who have suffered from discrimination. We have had a good dialogue in recent years in our neighborhoods to curb violence, engage in community policing, and become more inclusive. Only by addressing and debating these issues peacefully will we have a chance to heal and come together.

French Hill, US House 2nd Congressional District