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COVER


STORY


Trickling Up Former county elected officials bring unique experience, perspective to state Capitol


total of more than 100 years of experience in positions such as justice of the peace and county judge. As such, they know their constituency personally and rec-


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pproximately 15 of the 135 legislators who will convene at the state Capitol in January previously served as county elected officials. Tey hail from across the state and bring with them a combined


ognize their communities’ unique needs and talents. “Of the 3 million Arkansans, few can identify more than


three or four legislators, but you can rest assured most of them know who the sheriff, judge, coroner, assessor or collec- tor are in their county,” said Chris Villines, executive director of the Association of Arkansas Counties In addition to being accustomed to serving a constituency, these former county elected officials are familiar with govern- ment operations and the need to prioritize funding in the


budget process before they even reach the Capitol steps, ac- cording to AAC consultant Eddie Jones. “Tere is no better training ground for a legislator, in my opinion, than having served in local government,” Villines emphasized. “It is here that the mandates and policies of the state meet the practicality (or impracticality) of implementa- tion … To understand government from the ground up is an incredible advantage for our legislators with a county govern- ment background as they work through bills and study them from both a policy and administration standpoint.”


Editor’s Note: In this two-part feature we will identify mem- bers of the 90th General Assembly who have county government experience, highlight their work in the legislature to date and explore what their priorities will be during next year’s session.


COUNTY LINES, FALL 2014


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