The Arkansas District 25 state senate race pits Democrat state Sen. Stephanie Flowers against Libertarian candidate David Dinwiddie in the Nov. 6 general election.
Stephanie Flowers, who defeated challenger Efrem Elliott in the Democratic primary in May, seeks re-election to the state senate after representing the former District 5 in the last legislative session.
“My three terms in the house and one term as a state senator is experience that is good for my constituents,” Flowers said. “I will admit that there is a steep learning curve in the legislative process but I think I’ve come a pretty long way.”
Flowers said that her years as an Arkansas politician have allowed her to become familiar with the procedure by which state and federal funds are distributed to local municipalities.
“It can be a challenge to wrap your head around the state budget,” Flowers said. “I look at the number of appropriations and the amount of money distributed to state agencies and look at how those funds are translated into services provided to my constituents.”
“Sometimes that is very frustrating to me,” Flowers said. “The magnitude of the amount of money provided versus the end result of the services.”
Flowers said that the motivation behind her first campaign for office in 2004 continues to motivate her today.
“Ever since my election to the state legislature in 2004, education has been a focus of mine,” Flowers said. “I look at how efficiently dollars going to school districts translate into children graduating from high school. District 25 takes in parts of six counties and there is a great diversity of public schools within this district.”
Flowers said that education is crucial.
“A good education is a necessary foundation for the economic well-being of a community,” Flowers said. “I am proud of the parental involvement legislation that I sponsored which was passed last year to ensure that school districts keep parents involved and hopefully we will see the fruits of that law shortly. The legislation I sponsored that was passed in 2009 requiring regular maintenance and inspection of public school buildings is something else I am proud of. I believe that these are major accomplishments and should have an impact on all Arkansas school districts.”
Flowers said that responding to constituent needs is of great importance to her.
“I see my role as a senator in part to be one of responding to my constituent’s concerns and doing what I can to help them,” Flowers said.
Libertarian candidate David Dinwiddie wants to drastically improve the efficiency of state government.
“My main goal is to consolidate state government agencies, boards and commissions from the over 400 that exist now down to 300,” Dinwiddie said. “Governor [Dale] Bumpers did the same thing. As an example, the state has a barber’s board and a cosmetologist’s board. They are similar enough that we could consolidate them into one board. I served on the board of the local water company and after we put in a new well, we had three different state agencies that each took a water sample.”
Dinwiddie said that in 2011, tax cuts were made without any prior consideration of what would be cut.
“The legislature passed tax cuts in 2011 but left the cutting up to the discretion of Governor [Mike] Beebe,” Dinwiddie said. “Tax cuts without consolidation of government is putting the cart before the horse. First, make government smaller and then you can safely lower taxes without disrupting services.”
Dinwiddie said that a uniform pay scale for school superintendents and college presidents needs to be enacted.
“When Governor [Mike] Huckabee was dealing with the Lakeview case he asked the [Arkansas Department of Education] how much superintendents are paid and how the pay is decided. They could not give him an answer.”
“The University of Arkansas has a printing press that could be used to print college textbooks and save students money on them,” Dinwiddie said. “Colleges won’t tell you how much they pay for textbooks. We need to look at making them more transparent. Some states have passed laws that require colleges to offer what is normally a bundled pack of books and a CD with a pass code as separate items. We should look at that here.”
Dinwiddie served in the U.S. Navy for 14 years as a submarine mechanic.