Three Democrats are vying for the state representative position in House District 16 in the May 20 primary election.
Former state representative Efrem Elliott, former city official Kenneth B. Ferguson, and businessman and Realtor Winford A. “Win” Trafford II are seeking to replace state Rep. James Word of Pine Bluff.
When he announced his candidacy, Elliott pointed to his experience representing District 11 in the House of Representatives and serving as assistant Speaker Pro Tempore.
“My focus is and will always be what the community needs to move forward. Working together with the city and county government, we can bring jobs to the district and increase affordable housing while making sure our youth are not neglected,” he said previously.
He wants to continue the work he began in the 88th General Assembly. His experience includes chairing the Aging & Legislative Affairs- House Aging Subcommittee.
A former chief of police at Altheimer, Elliott also served as a staff member for former 4th District Congressman Mike Ross, a staff member for former state Sen. Henry “Hank” Wilkins IV and as director of security for the 6th Division of Circuit Court (Juvenile Division) of the 11th Judicial District West, which includes Jefferson and Lincoln counties.
A graduate of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Elliott has a bachelor’s degree in mass communications. He also graduated from the Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy at Camden. Elliott and his wife, Tracie, have three children.
Ferguson worked in Pine Bluff city government for 27 years. He was director of human resources from June 1982 until 2007 when he became the executive director for the Arkansas Workforce Board. He has been Arkansas Workforce Investment Director for four years.
His affiliations include being a member of the Governor’s Workforce Cabinet and former service as board member of the Martin Luther King Jr. Commission and the board of trustees for Southeast Arkansas College.
If elected to the House of Representatives, Ferguson previously said his top priorities would be to work to create jobs through economic development and support education and workforce training. He is committed to the constituents of District 16 and plans to work on behalf of their issues and concerns.
Ferguson is a 1973 graduate of UAPB, where he earned a bachelor of science degree in social science and is a 1969 graduate of the former Merrill High School in Pine Bluff.
He is a lifetime member of Saint Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Pine Bluff. Ferguson and his wife, Cassandra McFadden Ferguson, have four children and four grandchildren.
Trafford is a lifelong area resident, he said when he announced. A licensed real estate broker, auctioneer, and Realtor, Trafford is also a member of the Pine Bluff Advertising and Promotion Commission and serves on the commission’s finance committee.
“As a lifelong resident of Southeast Arkansas and a businessman, I share the same concerns of most Arkansas families and individuals,” Trafford said. “We must build and maintain effective and productive education systems, and work hard to create more and better job opportunities.
Trafford is president of Win’s Inc., which owns Trafford Real Estate, three building distributors and an online auction sales service.
He is a member of the West Pine Bluff Rotary Club and First Baptist Church of Pine Bluff where he serves on the administrative board, the building and maintenance boards, and is a member of the personnel committee.
He attended Ouachita Baptist University and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. He and his wife, Tracy Trafford, have two adult children.