The sole Democrat running for the Arkansas Senate District 27 seat describes herself as a proud grandmother, a lifelong gun owner and a churchgoer.
Becky Ward, 74, is running for the position, “and I want people to know that Democrats do not have pointy tails, horns and carry a pitchfork. We are not the spawn of the devil. We can be regular people just like them,” she said.
“The second reason I’m running is it’s extraordinarily dangerous to have a one-party state,” Ward said.
Ward credits her grandchildren for part of the reason that she is running for the seat.
“I want them to live in a world that is at least as good as the world I lived in,” Ward said.
Ward, who is retired, was born and raised in Fort Smith but lived in 11 different areas once she left the city. She has been back for almost five years.
She made a career out of selling premiums and promotions, which she described as a good training ground for politics.
When Ward moved back here, she got involved with the Democratic party.
Ward is concerned about Fort Smith’s economy.
“I think Fort Smith has gotten left behind in some ways,” Ward said, saying that the state tends to direct business to Northwest Arkansas or to Little Rock.
“We have a lot going here,” she said about Fort Smith.
She said she wants to get Fort Smith its fair share of money and attention from the state.
Ward also wants to focus on getting more money to Fort Smith schools. She said that the district will get better teachers if officials can afford to pay them more.
“I think if we have better teachers we’ll have smarter kids,” Ward said.
Ward would also like to address the division she sees in the country. She wants people on both sides of the aisle to quit viewing each other as enemies.
“You and I may disagree on politics, but we don’t have to be disagreeable,” Ward said. She later added, “Compromise is not a dirty word.”
Ward’s husband Jerry Ward is running for justice of the peace for District 11.
She said she and her husband both deeply care about Fort Smith. Because Ward does not have a Democratic opponent in the primary elections, voters will choose between her and her Republican candidate Nov. 8.
“I would like people in Fort Smith to see that a regular normal grandma, who has a lot of the same things a lot of things that are important to her are important to you, can run for office on the Democratic ticket,” Ward said.
Alex Gladden is a University of Arkansas graduate. She previously reported for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and The Jonesboro Sun before joining the Times Record. She can be contacted at [email protected]