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MOUNTAINBURG — Donald McKinney, 41, of Mountainburg announced his campaign for the state House District 81 seat on Thursday, a seat currently occupied by Rep. Bruce Coleman, R-Mountainburg.

McKinney is running as a Democrat.

“My main focus is labor, the people who work with their hands, the people who build this country,” said McKinney, a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union. He also would support Arkansans in uniform and veterans. McKinney is a retired member of the Arkansas Army National Guard, in which he served 21 years before retiring in 2016, he said.

“Our representation right now just isn’t getting it done for this part of the state, and there’s a growing consensus that it’s time for new leadership,” McKinney said. “I see a real opportunity here to improve the lives of Arkansans in Crawford and Washington County.”

The district’s schools need a larger share of state support, McKinney said. Economic development would also be a major priority for him, he said. This is his first bid for elective office, he said in a telephone interview Thursday.

He would repeal the state’s right-to-work law if he could, McKinney said. That provision of the state’s constitution allows Arkansas employers to hire non-union workers even if the labor force at a business votes to unionize. This undercuts a union in dealing with employers.

“I want to change it in ways that will benefit the worker and not the company,” McKinney said.

District 81 extends from Alma in Crawford County in the south to eastern Fayetteville in Washington County in the north. Coleman prevailed over his last Democratic opponent in the 2016 election, garnering 72 percent of the vote.

McKinney was born in Fort Smith and and lived in Mountainburg for the past 10 years, except for deployments by the National Guard, he said.

Print Headline: Mountainburg Democrat announces bid for House

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