SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The Primary Election will decide who will be on your ballot for the District 19 legislative race in November.
The Republican race only has one candidate, but Democrats have to narrow the field.
The State Representative race for District 19 has three candidates. One republican, Steve Unger, and two Democratic candidates, Paula Irwin and Richard Billingsley, making the primaries an important election for them.
Each candidate has a focus on infrastructure. For Unger and Irwin, they’re hoping to push the construction for the 4-12 byway in Springdale.
Unger said the roads in the area need to grow with the cars and people. Irwin is hoping to see traffic move more efficiently.
“I’m excited about some of the road plans and for and frankly, I would like to preserve what’s charming about this place, including our green spaces and cut down on the gridlock,” said Unger.
The infrastructure Billingsley is most interested in is building up our railroad system, creating more jobs in the construction phase and once it’s completed.
“We can have a food truck at the train station, for instance. It’s just really a boom across the nation. We can make it work here in Arkansas,” said Billingsley.
Unger and Billingsley said they’re advocating for changes in taxes. Unger is hoping get rid of state income taxes.
“What you’d see then is basically an economy that would boom, there’s a lot of ways to raise money other than a income tax,” said Unger.
Billingsley wanting to lower sales tax by two cents, saying his District is suffering from inflation.
Another item each candidate is looking at is how to better education in the area. Unger wants to create more opportunities for vocational students, which he said is the issue he will pour most of his energy into.
Billingsley wants to find ways like solar powered schools to lower costs and give teachers raises with the money saved.
Irwin thinks broadband expansion and staffing schools is most important, saying the pandemic showed the area what resources school needs. She also thinks schools need more support staff.
Another item Irwin is interested in making improvements in is the state’s Veterans homes and acccess to affordable health care for the aging population.
Overall, each candidate is excited to represent an area they’ve lived in a long time and love.
Early voting lasts until May 23, the day before Election Day. Polls are open from 8 AM to 6 PM Monday through Friday, and 10 AM to 4 PM on Saturdays. On the Monday before Election Day, polls will close at 5 PM.