Today's Paper Newsletters LEARNS Guide Fish Story Contest 🎣 Asa Hutchinson 2024 Today's Photos Public Notices Digital FAQ Razorback Sports Puzzles Crime Distribution Locations Obits

Richmond, Catlett going head-to-head for River Valley’s State House District 52 seat

by Thomas Saccente | September 25, 2022 at 1:00 a.m.
John Catlett (left) and Marcus Richmond .Candidates for House of Representatives District 52.

FORT SMITH -- Two candidates with a history in the state's House of Representatives are competing to serve in the House District 52 seat.

State Rep. Marcus Richmond, R-Harvey, and John Catlett, an independent candidate, are both vying for voter approval ahead of the Nov. 8 general election.

Richmond secured the Republican nomination for the District 52 position earlier this year, beating Mike Jones and Greg Bland after the May 24 primary election and a June 21 runoff election against Jones. Catlett didn't face any opposition.

District 52 encompasses all of Scott County and parts of south Sebastian County, including Hartford, Huntington and Mansfield, the last of which is in both counties, according to a map on the Arkansas Board of Apportionment website. It also includes a majority of Yell County, excluding eastern communities Centerville, New Neely, Ola and Plainview.

Richmond is in his fourth term in the Arkansas House of Representatives and serves as majority leader. Richmond believes he's the superior candidate due to listening to and representing his constituents' wishes better during his tenure than Catlett did while he was in the House.

He described District 52 as a conservative district, and said he and his fellow Republicans worked toward such ends as lowering the state individual income tax rate from 7% to 4.9% between 2015 and 2022.

Richmond said if elected, 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 while being careful to avoid unforeseen consequences in doing so.

"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.

In terms of education, 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.

Catlett represented House Districts 61 and 73 as a Democrat from 2011 to 2015. He works as a cattle and poultry farmer, as well as a part-time interim chief flight instructor at Ozarka College. He's also a retired Arkansas State Police trooper.

Catlett believes his background, which includes being raised and educating his two children in District 52, makes him the better candidate. He said he feels he knows the needs of the residents through his history of public service.

Catlett said he would try to ensure small school districts in rural areas, such as those in District 52, have the tax money they need to run as residents see fit should he be elected. He said local school district superintendents have expressed concerns to him about recruiting and retaining teachers.

Catlett said he would also try to keep taxes down and monitor how tax revenue is spent in response to inflation. He said the three "main things" residents pay taxes for include education, Medicaid and prisons, with another one of his goals being to address recidivism in the state prison system by rehabilitating nonviolent offenders.

"I really feel like that a trade, something they can go out and make a good living at when they get out of prison, I think that would be huge and they would turn into taxpayers and everybody wins," Catlett said.

Early voting for the general election starts Oct. 24.

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

House of Representatives District 52

Marcus Richmond

Age: 66

Residence: Gravelly; lived in State House District 52 since 2004

Employment: Adviser to the president/chief executive officer of America’s Pet Registry in Harvey; also runs cattle on a farm in Scott County

Education: Bachelor of science degree, Arkansas Tech University

Political experience: State representative, District 21, since 2015; Arkansas House of Representatives majority leader since Spring 2022, previously served 2018-20

John Catlett

Age: 61

Residence: Briggsville; lived in State House District 52 since the mid-1960s

Employment: Cattle and poultry farmer; part-time interim chief flight instructor, Ozarka College; former aviation program director, Ozarka College; retired Arkansas State Police trooper

Education: Bachelor of arts degree, Arkansas Tech University

Political experience: State representative, districts 61 and 73, 2011 to 2015; appointed Southern Regional Education Board, 2013-14; unsuccessful candidate for state representative, District 73, 2014


Print Headline: Richmond, Catlett going head-to-head for State House District 52 seat


Sponsor Content