Grimsley Graham, a Rogers Democrat, is going to try again to battle conventional political tides in Benton County and seek a seat in the state House of Representatives.
He’s a Marine veteran anda widely respected veteran high school teacher. “I hope you’ll help me bring common sense back to Little Rock,” his announcement says.
Graham’s good resume, a good campaign organization and sufficient money didn’t carry him to victory in 2014. His impeccable record didn’t stop him from begin tarred in anonymous dark money mailings. Lacking anything else, the secretly financed slams called him a “liberal Democrat.” That was enough. He was defeated by Republican Rebecca Petty 58-42. You can see her primary legislative work here.
ROGERS, ARK. – In a letter to supporters on Tuesday, retired Rogers High School teacher Grimsley Graham announced his candidacy for the Arkansas House of Representatives in District 94.
“I want to be your state legislator because too many people feel like their voices just aren’t being heard in Little Rock. We deserve leaders who will listen to us, put our community first, and bring people together to get things done.”
Graham continued, “I hope you’ll help me bring common sense back to Little Rock.”
During his 30 years teaching English at Rogers High School, Graham was twice voted teacher of the year and served on the board of the Rogers Public Education Foundation for five years. He was awarded the Lifetime Service Award by the Arkansas Council of Teachers of English and Language Arts in 2014.
“Education is and always will be my first priority,” said Graham. “Great teachers and schools are the key to a better quality of life for every family. Benton County is positioned to lead the state, but we’re being held back by legislators who prioritize blind allegiance to partisan Party politics over the issues that matter most for Rogers and Bentonville. It’s an approach totally out of touch with the voters of this district, and it’s what motivates me to seek this office.”
Graham is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps, where he retired as a 1st Lieutenant after three years of active duty. He received a Bachelor’s and then a Master’s Degree in Political Science from the University of Arkansas and has served as an Elder and Director of Education at the First Presbyterian Church of Rogers. He is a volunteer driver for Meals on Wheels of Benton County and leads a stream team for the Beaver Watershed Alliance.
“My wife Carol and I have called Rogers home for almost 40 years now, and we’ve been active in this community since day one. I’ve watched a lot change here in that time, but one thing has stayed the same: the people of Rogers and Bentonville have always been independent, tolerant, and hard working. I want to take those values with me to the legislature.”
In 2014, Graham lost a hard fought campaign for the same district. Though a Democrat hasn’t been elected in Benton County since the 1990s, he received widespread support and struck a positive and optimistic tone, pledging to be a consensus maker and an independent voice in Little Rock.
“I’m encouraged by the early support I’ve already received in my decision to run again. It won’t be easy, but this is a district worth fighting for. Together we can build a better Northwest Arkansas – a community where everyone is represented and our leaders work together to keep us moving forward. If elected, I will work tirelessly to make Benton County a better place to live and to learn.”