LITTLE ROCK — Heber Springs Mayor Jackie McPherson, a Democrat, announced his candidacy Thursday for the 1st Congressional District seat now held by Republican U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford of Jonesboro.

McPherson, the first Democrat to announce for the seat, has served as mayor of Heber Springs for eight years. He previously served 12 years on the Heber Springs City Council.

McPherson made his announcement Thursday morning in front of the Heber Springs Community Center.

"I know the values of the of the First Congressional District because I’ve lived them," McPherson said in a news release announcing his candidacy. "I worked hard on the assembly line and in the restaurant business and I will bring that same Arkansas work ethic back to Washington."

He said he would work between party lines to get things done.

"We need a new voice who will do what we did in Heber Springs: work hard and bring folks together, so that we can finally stop the finger-pointing and get Congress focused on solving problems that matter," he said.

The 1st District includes 29 counties and stretches from the northern border with Missouri to the southern border with Louisiana. At its widest point the district runs from the mountains of Searcy County to the Mississippi Delta.