Ronetta J. Francis, founder and CEO of Francis Dynamics Consulting has declared her intention to enter the upcoming race for the District 1 Arkansas State Senate seat. Francis is currently a corporate ethics and compliance executive. Francis is a former Walmart executive, and she also has an extensive legal background as a senior trial attorney in Texas with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Running as a Democrat, she faces Bart Hester, now in his sixth year representing Arkansas’ first district. Francis’ campaign is the first true challenge Hester has faced during his tenure, having run unopposed in the general election during the previous two cycles.
For his part, Hester is unconcerned with her challenge and does not plan to shift his campaign strategy now that he faces opposition, planning instead to let his legislative record speak for itself. “I think I’ve represented the beliefs and wishes of my district well, I’ve done a pretty good job with that,” says Hester.
Francis hopes to bring a new sense of inclusivity and integrity to her district. “District 1 is home to the most successful corporation in the history of the world and a world-class museum of American art. What we have built here is the pride of the Natural State,” says Francis. “Arkansas is at the tipping point of a major reputational rebranding efforts, and with its exciting and expansive growth, Northwest Arkansas is poised to lead these efforts. We need the right leaders in the room, who not only support and embrace the region’s continued economic growth but also its richly evolving demographics.”
Francis specified healthcare and educational improvements as cornerstones of her campaign. “Communities can’t be strong without access to affordable, excellent health care options or secure, healthy food choices,” says Francis. “We are learning that more and more Arkansans have to choose between their prescription drugs and putting food on the table, and I think that’s wrong.”
As for educational improvements, Francis focused on supporting teachers. “The very best way to make sure that every child in Arkansas has access to opportunity is to make sure that every child in Arkansas has access to an excellent public school,” says Francis. “We do this by compensating excellent teachers so that districts can retain them and funding wrap-around support services for students. No teacher should have to pay out of their pocket for supplies they or their students need.”