NORTHWEST ARKANSAS (KNWA/FOX24) — Legislators representing Northwest Arkansas are ready to get back to work during the 2023 legislative session. The session started on January 9.
State Sens. Greg Leding and Bryan King are both ready to represent their districts.
Both are now representing new districts since the lines were redrawn with 2020 Census data. Democrat Leding is now representing District 30, which is made up primarily of the city of Fayetteville area.
Republican King, who has previously served in the house and senate, defeated former State Sen. Bob Ballinger to represent District 28. That district is made up of all of Madison and Carroll counties, western halves of Boone and Newton and northern portions of Franklin and Johnson.
Leding, who is serving on the Senate Education Committee, said schools and education will be a big topic for him this legislative session.
“Public education is been one of my top priorities as long as I’ve been in the legislature, and I want to do everything I can to protect it and strengthen it. But also, make sure that every kid in Arkansas has access to a world-class education,” he said.
King is concerned about where the state is allocating dollars and how that impacts education.
“One of the reasons we don’t have education dollars to tackle teacher salaries and some of those issues is because the exploding Medicaid budget is taking up a large percent,” he said.
He also wants to focus on dedication to the voters during his time in office.
“When I campaigned in the primary, it was about the corruption and the way Little Rock is run,” he said. “Even though Republicans have taken charge, there is still a lot of cronyism and corruption, and wasteful spending.”
Leding wants to see exceptions being added to Arkansas’ abortion ban.
“I think we need to broaden that exception for the health of the mother and add exceptions for rape, incest, fetal anomalies,” he said.
During his campaign, King made it clear he is anti-abortion.
When it comes to the surplus, King wants to see an increase in funding for public safety and jails.
“Republicans want to always talk about Democrats how bad they were on crime but the reason we have a crime crisis here in Arkansas is because of Republicans and they’re failing to budget on that issue,” King said.
Leding said he could see that money going to a number of issues.
“Whether it’s helping rural hospitals, whether it’s expanding broadband access, whether it’s repairing infrastructure, roads, water infrastructure,” Leding said. “There, we’re gonna see all kinds of ideas during the upcoming session.”
Leding and King will be working with each other quite a bit this session. Both are serving on the Joint Budget Committee and the Children and Youth Committee.
Click here to see King’s legislative profile to see what other committees he’s on and what bills he has filed.