Underwood challenges Dist. 90 incumbent

Posted: March 8, 2018 at 11 a.m.
Updated: March 8, 2018 at 5:20 a.m.

Kendon Underwood

Kendon Underwood

ROGERS -- Attorney Kendon Underwood will challenge incumbent Rep. Jana Della Rosa in the May 22 Republican primary for the District 90 state House of Representatives seat.

"I'm more of a limited government conservative," Underwood said Wednesday. That was shown most recently this week, he said, by Della Rosa's hesitation to support House Bill 1122. A provision of the bill would allow tax-exempt savings accounts for college to also apply to private and religious school expenses for younger children. Della Rosa supported the measure in its second vote after expressing concerns about the cost of the measure and other provisions.

Underwood would be more unwavering in his support for choice in schools, he said, and would work harder for lower taxes and to shrink government.

Underwood, 29, is a graduate of the University of Arkansas School of Law. He was raised in the Boone County town of Omaha and has lived in Northwest Arkansas since college, he said. He graduated from the law school with honors and practices at the Woodard Law Group in Bentonville.

This is Underwood's first bid for political office, he said. Della Rosa is running for a third term.

The winner of the GOP primary will face Democrat Kati McFarland in the Nov. 6 general election.

District 90 includes parts of Rogers, Lowell, Bethel Heights and Springdale. Arkansas House members serve two-year terms and have an annual salary of $39,400. Members can serve 16 years in the Legislature under the state constitution's limit on terms.

District 90 is one of the most contested House districts in the Northwest Arkansas region. It has not had an uncontested GOP primary since 2012, the first election with the district's current boundaries. Three-term incumbent Les Carnine won his last bid for re-election that year, after the current district boundaries were drawn after the 2010 U.S. Census.

Della Rosa defeated two Republican challengers in 2016 and faced two other candidates in the GOP primary for her first term in 2014. The district as currently drawn never had a Democratic candidate until McFarland's bid.

NW News on 03/09/2018