BENTONVILLE — Rep. Jim Dotson, R-Bentonville, is seeking re-election and faces a primary challenge in May. The winner will have a Democratic opponent in November.
Dotson ran unopposed in 2016 in the primary and general election. He defeated his 2014 Democratic opposition with 70 percent of the vote after winning his GOP primary the same year. He seeks his fourth term to represent House District 93, which covers much of Bentonville, parts of Centerton and extends as far south as Cave Springs.
“You know exactly what you’re getting with me,” Dotson said of his candidacy.
“I think I’ve had a proven record of conservative leadership,” said Dotson, a former Republican Party whip in House leadership. Dotson declined to run for that post again, citing his appointment as co-chairman of the Arkansas Legislative Council. The council oversees government when the Legislature is not in session and has a major role in budget planning for upcoming sessions. Dotson wanted to devote his time to that role and give others an opportunity to assume a post in party leadership, he said.
His most substantial legislation to become law, Dotson said, is a bill that requires state agencies, the Legislature and the governor to make periodic reviews of state regulations. Act 781 of 2017 imposes a 24-year “sunset” provision on state regulations. “The goal is to clean out the closest, so to speak,” Dotson said.
Dotson is best known for his support of education savings accounts such as House Bill 1222 of 2017. That measure would have allowed tax-exempt savings accounts that could be used to cover a range of education-related expenses from private school tuition to speech pathology. The measure was defeated in the House over concerns of its impact on public schools.
Changes in federal law allow tax-exempt college savings funds to be used for much of the same purposes. An amendment enabling that exemption to apply to state taxes passed the House on Tuesday during the Legislature’s fiscal session.
Dotson was one of 55 members who voted for the bill, sponsored by the Joint Budget Committee.
“I will continue to support education for everyone, including public schools, charter schools, home schooling and private schools,” Dotson said. “Whatever best suits each student’s unique needs.”
Dotson faces first-time candidate Gan Nunally in the Republican primary. The winner will face Gayatri Agnew, a Democrat and first-time candidate, in November.
Dotson is an agent for the Gibson Real Estate company in Rogers.
The primary is May 22, and the general election Nov.
- 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.
Doug Thompson can be reached by email at dthompson@nwadg. com or on Twitter @NWADoug.