NORTHWEST ARKANSAS, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — District 91 covers a great portion of Benton County.
It’s home to Northwest Arkansas National Airport and farmlands.
With State Rep. Dan Douglas set to retire, two candidates have their name in the hat to replace him: Republican Candidate Delia Haak, an adjunct professor at John Brown University, and Democratic Candidate Nick Jones, an Air Force veteran.
“It worried me about who was going to run and who was going to fill that seat,” Jones said. “If not me then who and if not now then when?”
This is why Nick Jones entered into the running for District 91.
Delia Haak was inspired by her seven grandchildren.
“If i’m expecting them to be invovled in their future and what impacts them, I should be willing to run,” Haak said.
With a career in education, Haak is an advocate for letting parents decide where their child goes to school. She also wants there to be more opportunities for students.
“I would like to see a techinical and career education institute here in Western Benton County similiar to Northwest Techincial Institute in Springdale,” Haak said.
Jones says the health crisis is revealing flaws within the current education system
“This pandemic has really shown a disconnect for those with special needs or ESL students, how are they getting their services,” Jones said. “We need to ensure adequate and equitable funding I think and making sure those services are met.”
Like with education, both candidates agree our infrastructure could also use some work.
“We still got large potholes that I drive over every day going to work and stuff – having those rural roads you need access to those services,” Jones said.
“The infrastructure is not there I live on a dirt road out in the county – often times I get good connection other times I don’t,” Haak said. “Those are real issues.”
With Northwest Arkansas National Airport in the heart of District 91, urbanization is a worry for some residents. Here’s how each candidate says they’ll address it.
“A lot of our cities are growing in unincorporated areas so they’re not hooked into a wastewater treatment plant or so on so we need to make sure all of those things are done in ways that help us grow,” Haak said.
“I think trying to explain that, trying to really bridge that divide and explain the necessary growth that’s needed but also on that growth side,” Jones said. “We have people that really enjoy this rural area, how can we balance the two.”
With District 91 covering much of a rural area, each candidate talked about how they will be a voice for farmers and help support the agricultural economy.
“I’d love to see a commercial kitchen,” Haak said. “There’s a way we can support local home grown food but also larger operations of farming.”
“A lot of that comes from the federal government so as a representative of those farmers we need to advocates for them,” Jones said.
Haak says she’s passionate about education and will make sure your tax payer dollers are spent efficiently.
Jones says he wants to tackle childhood poverty and have more resources accessible for mental health and substance abuse.