Early voting starts today in Arkansas for the March 3 Nonpartisan and Preferential Primary Election. Mailboxes have filled with campaign mailers, and campaign signs have sprouted across the landscape in Northwest Arkansas. Mailers and campaign signs make it hard to distinguish the message from the messenger. It’s a safe bet that most candidates running in this election are seeking to distinguish themselves as the most qualified, business-friendly, conservative candidate on the ballot.
What exactly does it mean to be a business-friendly candidate in Northwest Arkansas, the fastest growing county in our state and part of one the fastest growing regions in the country? Since business is what drives the employment and fuels the phenomenal growth of our region, it’s a fair question that you should ask each of the candidates appearing on the ballot this year. As a member of the business community in Northwest Arkansas, you have an added responsibility to be informed when you cast your vote in this Primary Election.
Fiscal responsibility with your tax dollars is always a priority for the business community. An environment of lower taxes and sensible regulation will allow the business community to flourish in Northwest Arkansas. However, as a growing region, NWA has challenges and unique issues that need to be addressed by our local, state, and federally elected officials.
Infrastructure and Regional Mobility
It is forecast that the population of NWA will almost double from its current figure to exceed more than one million people in the next 25 years. Population figures for other regions of the state are projected to lose residents or have minor increases over the same time period. As this area grows, it needs infrastructure to keep up with the population. When congestion increases, business productivity, mobility, and the safety of our workers will decrease.
Issue 1 is the highway-funding measure, supported by the Governor and referred to the voters by the legislature, and it will appear on the ballot this November. It is imperative that Issue 1 be approved by the voters of Benton and Washington Counties. The rest of the state will be paying attention to the support this measure receives from voters in Northwest Arkansas. Approval of this measure will ensure that funds will continue to flow for future projects here.
Blue ribbon commissions and task forces, comprised of legislators, governor-appointees, transportation industry representatives, and business leaders have convened over the years to study the highway funding issues in Arkansas. Legislative candidates, who maintain that they have a better plan to address the current highway funding issue than the people mentioned above, have a responsibility to more thoroughly explain their position to you on this issue.
Quality of Life, Talent Pipeline, and the Competitiveness of Small and Large Businesses in Northwest Arkansas
In an increasingly global economy, the continued growth and health of our businesses, both large and small, are the priority for our region. Northwest Arkansas is in a fierce competition with other parts of the country and countries from around the world for the talent needed to sustain our economic growth. Our quality of life here is the envy of many regions and unrivaled in our state. Candidates who recognize and embrace the critical needs for our region deserve your support at the polls.
World-Class Educational Opportunities
Strengthening and furthering the educational opportunities enjoyed in NWA are both relevant and necessary for our long-term success. The University of Arkansas, our community colleges, technical education centers, and our public schools provide the structure for our economic vitality. A healthy education system also provides the opportunities for growth and advancement of our society. Support the candidates who will commit to sustain a strong education system here.
Northwest Arkansas Is Changing the Paradigm for All of Arkansas
The image of Arkansas has evolved and changed over the years. A large part of the positive change in the image of Arkansas has been fueled by the phenomenal success of Northwest Arkansas, and this was not achieved overnight. It took the vision and determination of legendary business leaders who built their small family-owned companies into large global corporations, and they did it in Northwest Arkansas. As we continue to progress into the twenty-first century, we must honor our past by building upon the phenomenal achievements of the business and community leaders who came before us. When you go to vote at the polls this Primary Election, please pledge to support the candidates who will be the keepers of the vision that has led to so much prosperity and growth for Northwest Arkansas.
The Primary Election in Arkansas is on March 3
Vote FOR Business!