GRAVETTE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Longtime Gravette resident Jay Oliphant announced Thursday, Jan. 20 he is running for state representative in the newly drawn District 12.

The new district includes Bella Vista, Gravette, Hiwasse, Decatur and Sulphur Springs, as well as parts of Western Benton County and Maysville.

Oliphant is currently serving his 10th year on the Gravette School Board and is the current president. According to press release, he has been a CPA for over 35 years and leads a business unit for Affirma, a technology services firm that has reportedly brought over 70 technology jobs to Northwest Arkansas.

“I want to use the experience I gained in my 40-year career and service to focus on quality education emphasizing local control, infrastructure development, healthcare, and finance to help our community and state keep taxes low and use them efficiently,” said Oliphant.

Oliphant said he hopes to work on “real issues,” including providing excellent education for children, supporting responsible development, and lowering the cost of health insurance for local healthcare.

“I’ve been blessed with an outstanding education and career and see serving as State Representative as a way to broaden my service to our community,” continued Oliphant. “The recent opening of the Bella Vista By-Pass section of I-49 will bring substantial development and change to our district. We need to balance those opportunities with maintaining the beauty and agricultural heritage of our wonderful corner of the Natural State.”

Oliphant earned three degrees at Rice University, including a master of business and public management, a master of accounting, and a bachelor of arts in managerial studies and economics.

The current District 92 seat is held by Gayla Hendren McKenzie, who has announced that she is running for the new Senate District 35.