NORTHWEST ARKANSAS, Ark. (KNWA/FOX24) — Three people are running to be the next U.S. House Representative for Arkansas’ District 3 in the November midterm election.
The district has changed based on data from the 2020 Census. The new map includes Benton, Washington, Madison, Carroll, Crawford and the northern half of Sebastian Counties.
Republican incumbent Steve Womack has been serving District 3 since 2010.
“I’m the only member, the only member of Congress, that’s been there more than a couple of months, that has never missed a vote,” Womack said.
Democrat Lauren Mallett-Hays is a mom of three who works as a speech language pathologist at Washington Regional Hospital.
“I’m running because being on the front lines during the pandemic really was eye-opening to the discord that was causing division in our communities,” Mallet-Hays said.
Michael Kalagias is running as a Libertarian. He’s a Navy veteran who also has experience as a volunteer firefighter.
“I’ve always served,” he said. “I’ve served my country. I’ve served my community. I’ve served the public, and that’s what we should expect from our political people.”
Since the overturning of Roe v. Wade, many are looking at what Congress will do next on reproductive health rights.
“At the point of conception, a unique individual human life has begun,” said Kalagias. “And that unique individual human life has all the rights and all the protections that any other person has.”
“We’ve told half of the American population that they are not able to make an informed decision about their own health care and their own lives and that it should be in the hands of the government,” said Mallett-Hays. “I don’t think that is the right decision.”
“What the Supreme Court did was it did exactly what it should have done is send it back to the States,” said Womack. “That’s the next lowest level of government. If you read the Constitution the way I do, I think there are a lot of things that should be reserved for the states.”
With all the growth happening in District 3, each candidate thinks there are things that can be done at the federal level to help the area grow responsibly.
“One of the big ways I think we do that is we improve our public transportation,” said Mallett-Hays. “I really am interested in bringing light rail to this area, especially between the Northwest Arkansas corridor to Fort Smith and eventually down to Little Rock.”
“We need federal dollars to help us finish I-49, particularly in the south, when we get down to Alma,” said Womack. “We don’t have an answer and the funding for what we’re going to do on 412 going east where we have a lot of road surface out there, the old 68 highway. That is going to require a lot of planning.”
“We need to fix our immigration policy,” said Kalagias. “We have millions of immigrants that come to the United States looking for the American dream and they get here and we don’t let them work.”
Making sure the economy works for the Arkansans of District 3 is a big priority.
“We need to address the debt,” said Kalagias. “We are $31 trillion in debt and that’s larger than our entire economy. It’s not sustainable.”
“How do we continue to make Arkansas the place for companies to come to increase the jobs here?” said Mallett-Hays.
“We need to create the conditions under which our Northwest Arkansas economy can continue to thrive,” said Rep. Womack. “Everything from the valley of Fort Smith to the Missouri border. I think we’ve done a very good job of advocating for a lot of those needs.”
Early voting for the November midterm starts on Monday, October 24th.