FAYETTEVILLE -- Two of the three candidates in House District 23's Republican primary stressed the rural district's need for infrastructure -- roads plus water and sewer service -- during a candidate forum Wednesday.
Candidates Kendra Moore, a Lincoln School Board member, and Jim Wilson, a Washington County justice of the peace, came to the 3 p.m. forum hosted by the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce and held at the Fayetteville Public Library. Primary candidate Byron Suggs did not attend. The chamber started these legislative forums Tuesday. The chamber's next forum is for state Senate District 29 candidates at 6:30 p.m. today. The primary is May 24.
District 23 extends from the state line with Oklahoma in the west to Greenland, West Fork and beyond in the east. It reaches beyond the Savoy community in the north and includes the Cane Hill and Clyde communities in the south. The district includes the towns of Lincoln and Prairie Grove.
Anyone driving on U.S. 62 in the afternoon in the district can see the need for the road's expansion, Wilson said. Highways are under the administration of the independent State Highway Commission, but legislators should exercise whatever influence they can, he said.
Moore, owner of a building restoration business, and Wilson agreed the district needs help to extend and expand water and sewer services. Lack of such services compounds the problem of declining enrollment in the district's school systems, Moore said. Wider availability of those services would allow more home building and bring in new families and help small businesses, she said.
Both candidates stressed they are socially conservative. Wilson touted his experience in government, including his time on the Quorum Court and as an administrator in the state Health Department and on the staff of then-Gov. Mike Huckabee. Moore cited her experience on the School Board and in business, pointing to her efforts to revive the Lincoln town square by acquiring and renovating seven buildings there.
The primary is May 24. State law requires a runoff if no candidate gains a clear majority -- 50% plus 1 or more -- in the primary. This is to ensure no candidate advances to the general election with only a plurality of the primary vote. The runoff, if needed, will be June 21 between the two candidates who receive the most primary votes. The winner will face Libertarian candidate Ryan Hanson in the Nov. 8 general election. No Democrat entered the district's race.
House members serve two-year terms and receive a base salary of $44,357.