FORT SMITH -- River Valley residents decided who will serve them in the Arkansas legislature on Tuesday.
In the races for the state Senate, unofficial results on the Associated Press with 99% of the votes counted show Sen. Gary Stubblefield, R-Branch, defeated Libertarian Gabriel Andreuccetti, 32, for the District 26 Senate seat.
Stubblefield 21,035 (84%)
Andreuccetti 4,054 (16%)
Complete but unofficial results from the Sebastian County Clerk's Office with 99% of the votes counted show State Rep. Justin Boyd, R-Fort Smith, defeated Democrat Becky Ward in the race for the District 27 Senate seat.
Boyd 11,576 (64%)
Ward 6,566 (36%)
In the state House of Representatives races, unofficial results from the Associated Press showed 99% of the votes counted with Republican Chad Puryear defeating Democrat Caitlin Oxford for the District 25 seat.
Puryear 7,324 (69%)
Oxford 3,291 (31%)
For the District 49 House seat, Rep. Jay Richardson, D-Fort Smith, secured another term against Republican Max Avery, with 99% of votes counted according to the Associated Press.
Richardson 1,930 (58%)
Avery 1,381 (41%)
Republican Zack Gramlich beat Democrat Diane Osborne and Libertarian Stephen Edwards for the District 50 House seat, complete but unofficial results state from Sebastian County.
Gramlich 4,797 (63%)
Edwards 321 (4%)
Unofficial results showed Rep. Marcus Richmond, R-Harvey, ahead of John Catlett, an independent candidate, for the House District 52 seat with 50% of the votes counted as of press time, according the Associated Press.
Richmond 3,448 (85%)
Catlett 601 (15%)
Arkansas state senators usually serve a four-year term. State representatives serve two-year terms. Both earn an annual, base salary of $44,357.
Senate District 26 includes parts of Fort Smith northeast of the intersection of Massard Road and Zero Street, as well as southeast of the intersection of Massard Road and Horan Drive, according to the Arkansas Board of Apportionment website. It also includes parts of Barling, Greenwood and Lavaca, as well as portions of Franklin, Johnson and Logan counties.
Stubblefield, 71, has served in the state Senate since 2013, according to the state Senate website. He also served a term in the state House of Representatives that started in 2011.
Senate District 27 includes most of Fort Smith west of Massard Road and the Chaffee Crossing area in Fort Smith and Barling, along with land near Chaffee Crossing.
Boyd, 47, is in his fourth term in the House of Representatives and is pharmacist-in-charge and co-owner of Coleman Pharmacy of Alma. He said he believes continuing to work on the state's tax structure with a focus on the overall individual tax burden will both help residents of District 27 and make the district more competitive in attracting companies looking to expand in or move to the area.
Boyd said building good health care infrastructure is important in making District 27 appealing to companies as well. He also stressed the importance of improving roads and ensuring the community is safe through supporting law enforcement.
Boyd said he would continue to work to increase minimum teacher pay to help attract quality teachers to district schools.
House of Representatives
House District 25 covers Goshen, Elkins, Winslow, Chester, Mulberry and Mountainburg.
Puryear, 38, is a special education teacher for the Huntsville School District and sixth-generation farmer.
"I've seen the concerns with our school districts from the perspective of both an educator and as a parent, and I understand that need to support the parents and the students alongside our teachers," Puryear said.
"The rural schools, we need continued support to give our students that competitive edge as the workforce is changing.
"Want to make sure that the rural schools have the resources they need to prepare kids. We've got a changing workforce. There's a lot of opportunity for kids right now that may not go the college route, looking to get some career education stuff in there."
District 49 encompasses most of Fort Smith north of Garrison and Park avenues, as well as Midland Boulevard. It also includes a portion east of North 49th Street and south of North O Street.
Richardson, 51, is in his second term in the House of Representatives and is a mergers and acquisitions partner for Resolution Equity Partners in Fort Smith.
Richardson said he would work to address food insecurity in Fort Smith and Arkansas if elected. He would also continue to support law enforcement.
Richardson was a lead sponsor for House Bill 1680, which passed as Arkansas Act 747 of 2021, according to the Legislature website. This requires law enforcement agencies to adopt a policy that facilitates help for officers who have been involved in mentally overwhelming incidents.
Richardson said he believed more could be done to attract mental health professionals to school districts to help students. He also said he would work toward improving teacher pay and noted the economic importance of making it easier for small businesses to compete and grow.
District 50 covers the central and western portions of Fort Smith.
Gramlich, 29, is a middle school science teacher in the Fort Smith School District and small business co-owner.
Gramlich said his priority if elected is to keep Fort Smith a great city in which to live, work and retire. One example would be by funding schools and improving education to make students employable, thus attracting new businesses and creating jobs.
Another priority of his is ensuring the state is business-friendly so it can continue to grow.
District 52 encompasses all of Scott County and parts of south Sebastian County, including Hartford, Huntington and Mansfield. It also includes a majority of Yell County.
Richmond, 66, is in his fourth term in the Arkansas House of Representatives and is majority leader. He is also adviser to the president/chief executive officer of America's Pet Registry in Harvey and runs cattle on a farm in Scott County.
Richmond said he would work to ensure assessments on property remain stable to protect people living on fixed incomes. He also wants to continue reducing individual income taxes.
"One thing we can't afford to do is lower taxes on individual income and suddenly see rates increasing on other taxes, whether it's the sales tax or whether it's personal property taxes, that somehow or another the schools are not getting their revenue," Richmond said.
Richmond said he would like to try to, among other things, make Arkansas more competitive in hiring teachers and expand the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery to include providing scholarships for those looking to engage in "less traditional-type training," such as that at vocational schools.