WEST FORK (KFSM) -- The year 2015 was a tumultuous one for Justin Harris.
The State Representative for District 81 announced he would not seek reelection, after a series of controversies surrounded his seat, including an issue with re-homing of adopted children.
Now, Republicans Bruce Coleman and Derek Goodlin hope to restore the elected seat’s reputation.
“Obviously, we can't do anything about the past,” Goodlin said. “But, I am focused on the future, and going forward. And, [I am working on] rebuilding the reputation with the legislature and community around us.”
"I think [constituents] will move on,” Coleman said. “There have been some unfortunate incidents there. And, the publicity hasn't been good. But, that is in the past.”
Coleman and Goodlin have campaigned thoroughly for the Mar. 1 primary.
Both wanted to convince voters they would be a good replacement for Harris.
“I am trying to get mailers out to people. Of course, I am putting up political signs and putting out newspaper ads,” Coleman said. “I have been going door-to-door, trying to make contact with people.”
“I have been visiting with as many people as I can,” Goodlin said. “I have been knocking on as many doors as possible. I have really enjoyed that process most of all.”
Goodlin said his 13 years in the automotive industry, and time in the healthcare world, have prepared him to serve.
“I think healthcare is recognized as a very big challenge for us all. Nationwide, and right here in Arkansas,” Goodlin said. “So, I think my nine years in the industry [are] going to benefit the people of Arkansas.”
However, Coleman said he felt he was better suited for the position due to his experience in business, and his roots in the community prove it.
“I am a native of this area. I was born and raised in the area,” Coleman said. “I live about three miles from where I was born. I have lived here all my life.”
The winner of the Republican primary will face Democrat Susan McGaughey in the general election.