Later today, the five freshmen Democratic women will take their seats in the Arkansas House of Representatives as the 92nd General Assembly gets underway. I reached out to new Democratic Reps. Megan Godfrey (Springdale), Nicole Clowney (Fayetteville), Jamie Scott (North Little Rock), Denise Garner (Fayetteville) and Tippi McCullough (Little Rock) to get their thoughts on the biggest problem facing Arkansas, how they plan to deal with the pressure of having so many women looking to them with high expectations and what they are listening to for inspiration or motivation as they prepare for their first week in the legislature.
Up first is Godfrey, a bilingual educator and mother of two who defeated GOP incumbent Jeff Williams by 29 votes in District 89. Godfrey, a Springdale resident, believes solving the biggest problems facing Arkansas requires looking beyond policy positions and doing a better job defining our common values of “compassion and opportunity” in order to work together to pursue those values. “By illuminating the humanity of the issues that are relevant to our families and
Godfrey offers a piece of advice she herself tries to follow when asked her thoughts about women who look to her with high and maybe even unrealistic expectations: “Assume positive intent.” She freely acknowledges she may disappoint some of her supporters with certain votes, relationships, or scheduling, but says, “I would just humbly ask the women rooting for me to assume positive intent, trust that I’m operating within my values of compassion, equality, and inclusiveness, and reach out to ask questions if they don’t understand or agree with me.”
Finally, when asked what she has been listening to in order to hype herself up for the session, Godfrey reminds me she is an avid Jazzerciser (she even held a campaign event at a Jazzercise class) and is proud to be among the ranks of the Democratic women who like to dance. She expects to be listening to “The Champion” by Carrie Underwood and Ludacris as she heads down to Little Rock.
I’ll have more from the rest of the freshman class of Democratic women as the week goes on.