A Bentonville City Council member seeking election to the state House says she has received “dirty looks and rude comments from Republicans claiming to be Christians” after declaring she is running for a legislative seat as a Democrat.
Leah Williams, who announced her candidacy last month in House District 93 and is holding a formal campaign kickoff event on Friday (Feb. 28), said she wants the “political bullying” to end. Her race for the City Council seat was nonpartisan.
“Stop focusing on the ‘D’ and focus on me,” she said in a prepared statement emailed to 5NEWS, addressing constituents. “Since declaring my candidacy for (the state House) in Bentonville I have received numerous dirty looks and rude comments from Republicans claiming to be Christians! We are supposed to be a city of love, inclusion and progression.
“Sadly, I have seen the other side,” she writes. “I am running to be an advocate for economic growth, jobs, excellent schools and lower taxes. What is so ‘bad’ about that? Social issues don’t keep our city moving so I’m not going to run on any of those. I now understand why there hasn’t been a Democratic candidate to run in Bentonville in over 20 years. This political bullying must stop! I won’t change my party affiliation to fit in or to be accepted. However, I will run as the candidate who wants to keep our economy moving, a candidate who will fight for excellent education and proper funding for our schools and community college, a candidate who wants to keep taxes as low as possible and a candidate who wants to see more job creation and job preservation.
“Before I announced my state candidacy, I was widely accepted as the first African-American council member,” she continues. “Now many of my constituents who I have represented don’t even speak to me. I understand politics are politics, but we really need to examine our hearts and understand Bentonville is growing, which means folks from all walks of life will reside in Northwest Arkansas, and that’s a definite plus to our economy! If that’s a negative for you, then tell Walmart and others to relinquish themselves and stop proving great opportunities for people like myself and stop being so inclusive! Political bullying in Bentonville must stop. It’s not good for our city nor is it good for our state nor is it good for our economy!”
In addition to Williams, Bill Burckart, a Republican and also a member of the Bentonville City Council, has announced he is vying for the District 93 seat held by Rep. Jim Dotson, R-Bentonville.
Dotson, serving in his first two-year legislative term, is a former member of the Bentonville City Council. He is seeking re-election to the state House.
Williams’ state House campaign kickoff event is set for Friday (Feb 28) at 6:30 p.m. at Centerton City Hall.
The primary election pitting candidates from the same party against one another is set for May 20, with the winners from each party advancing to the Nov. 4 general election.