Judy Riley, Democrat

How long have you lived in the area of District 44? 30 years

What do you believe qualifies you to be District 44 state Representative?

I was raised on a small poultry farm in northwest Arkansas where I learned the value of hard work. My parents instilled a sense of others before self and encouraged us to either pay back those to who helped us or pay it forward to those who would come after us. My adult life has been serving as a county Extension agent, primarily in White County. I worked with farmers, families and youth in small towns and communities, helping them improve their skills and quality of life. I am currently an adjunct instructor in Family & Consumer Sciences at UCA.

While working with the Cooperative Extension Service, I had the opportunity to bring the resources of the University of Arkansas to local families. I see this job as an opportunity to bring the resources of the entire state to District 44. Because of this background, I know that everyone wants the best education for their children, an economy where good jobs area available, roads that are high quality and communities and towns that are safe to live in.

More importantly, I have no personal agenda in this race; I want what is best for everyone in the district. I will work to build consensus and not be divisive. I would put people over politics.

What do you believe to be the most important issue facing Representative District 44?

Strengthening the public school systems in this district is the most important issue. I believe the best way to encourage economic growth is to continue to improve educational opportunities. A skilled work force is the key to economic growth. I want to continue the progress we have made, improving it where possible.

How would you meet the issue?

I would look to local school administrators, teachers and staff to learning the needs of our local public schools. I would look for examples of the best practices of school systems, administrators and teachers and find ways to share their experiences with their peers. I would work to support teachers by streamlining their paperwork while still meeting state requirements and standards.

What would be your top three priorities if elected, and brief explanations why?

My first priority would be to continue to listen to the residents of the district. As in this campaign, I would continue to make my home and cell numbers available to everyone. I would visit towns and communities on a regular basis to keep in touch with their needs and concerns.

Other priorities in addition to education would include improving roads - specifically, the state highways that crisscross this district. Some are in dire need of repair. I would look for support for volunteer fire departments; the safety of our families depends on the equipment, training and support they receive. And I would investigate possible ways to provide low cost Internet service to rural areas.