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Boyd, Ward facing off for State Senate District 27 seat

by Thomas Saccente | September 4, 2022 at 1:00 a.m.
State Rep. Justin Boyd (left), R-Fort Smith, and Rebecca Ward, a Democrat, will go head-to-head for the Arkansas Senate District 27 position in the Nov. 8 general election.

FORT SMITH -- Voters will determine who will represent a majority of the River Valley's largest city in the state Senate.

State Rep. Justin Boyd, R-Fort Smith, and Rebecca Ward, a Democrat, will go head-to-head for the Arkansas Senate District 27 position in the Nov. 8 general election.

Boyd defeated Kelly Procter Pierce for the Republican nomination for the seat May 24.

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, according to a map on the Arkansas Board of Apportionment website. 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, belong in the adjacent Senate District 26.

Boyd is in his fourth term in the Arkansas House of Representatives. He said his legislative experience has enabled him to develop relationships with others in state government allowing him to "hit the ground running" on his first day in the Senate should he be elected.

Boyd 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.

"You've got to find that right balance between investing in infrastructure and having an appropriate tax rate," he said.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed two bills into law Aug. 11 accelerating the reduction of the state individual income tax rate from 5.5% to 4.9% retroactive to Jan. 1 and its top corporate income tax rate from 5.9% to 5.3% on Jan. 1, 2023.

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.

Ward is semiretired from selling promotional material. She believes the skills acquired through her background and education, as well as her involvement in multiple local volunteer organizations, will make her a highly effective state senator. Those skills include research, financial analysis, negotiation and listening.

Ward said inflation seems to be one of the most important issues to people in her district.

"I think that, as a state Legislature, we can't directly affect the things that are going into the inflationary environment that we're in," Ward said.

However, Ward said she plans to help alleviate the inflation issue if elected by working to eliminate the state sales tax on groceries and clothing that costs less than $50, which would give people more money to spend. She would also push to set a state cap on the cost of insulin, regulate the cost of prescription drugs and increase teacher salaries.

In addition, Ward said she would try to ensure Fort Smith gets more attention from the state when the state contacts outside corporations about moving to Arkansas.

Ward cited an article from U.S. News & World Report ranking Arkansas 44th in the country in overall performance in several categories in 2021, including education, health care, economy and infrastructure.

Early voting for the general election starts Oct. 24.

Arkansas state senators usually serve a four-year term and earn an annual, base salary of $44,357 .

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State Senate District 27

Justin Boyd

Age: 47

Residence: Fort Smith. Lived in District 27 since 2012

Employment: Pharmacist-in-charge and co-owner of Coleman Pharmacy of Alma

Education: Master of business administration, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville; doctor of pharmacy, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences; associate’s degree, Westark Community College (now University of Arkansas-Fort Smith)

Political experience: State representative, District 77, since 2015; appointed to the Arkansas Board of Pharmacy, 2009, resigned 2014

Rebecca Ward

Age: 75

Residence: Fort Smith. Lived in District 27 since 2017

Employment: Semiretired from selling promotional material in association with the Grossman Marketing Group in Woburn, Mass.

Education: Master of business administration, Tulane University, New Orleans; bachelor of arts degree, Wellesley College, Wellesley, Mass.

Political experience: None


Print Headline: Boyd, Ward facing off for State Senate District 27 seat


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