Della Rosa faces first Demo­cratic chal­lenger

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NORTHWEST ARKANSAS - DOUG THOMP­SON

ROGERS — Rep. Jana Della Rosa, R-Rogers, faces her first Demo­cratic op­po­nent in her bid for a third term in state House Dis­trict 90. Po­lit­i­cal new­comer Kati McFar­land of Bethel Heights will ap­pear on the bal­lot as a Demo­crat.

Dis­trict 90 starts along New Hope Road in the north and ex­tends to County Line Road to the south. It takes in all of Bethel Heights in the east and stretches past Elm Springs in the west.

The dis­trict in­cludes por­tions of Rogers, Low­ell,

north­ern Spring­dale, south­east­ern Cave Springs and a sec­tion of north­ern Elm Springs. Early vot­ing be­gins Oct. 22. Elec­tion day is Nov. 6.

If re-elected, Della Rosa said she will con­tinue her ef­forts in cam­paign fi­nance re­form.

She spon­sored and sup­ported leg­is­la­tion to re­quire law­mak­ers to file elec­tronic cam­paign fi­nance re­ports, which are more read­ily ac­ces­si­ble to the pub­lic than pa­per forms. She wants to ex­plore ways to make the money trails lead­ing to and from po­lit­i­cal ad­vo­cacy groups eas­ier to fol­low, she said.

She is much more in fa­vor of greater trans­parency than in try­ing to im­pose lim­its on po­lit­i­cal spend­ing, Della Rosa said.

“I don’t think there’s even a way to stop the money,” she said. “The counter to it

is trans­parency. I’m a big be­liever in bal­ance of power, and I think com­pet­ing in­ter­ests tend to bal­ance each other.” If trans­parency shows one group is spend­ing, other groups will meet it, she said.

McFar­land didn’t re­spond to in­ter­view re­quests. She made news na­tion­wide Feb. 22, 2017, when she ques­tioned U.S. Sen. Tom Cot­ton, R-Ark.,

at a fo­rum in Spring­dale dur­ing GOP ef­forts to re­peal Oba­macare. McFar­land said she has a rare, ge­netic med­i­cal con­di­tion that of­ten re­quires her to use a wheel­chair.

“With­out the cov­er­age for pre-ex­ist­ing con­di­tions, I will die. That’s not hy­per­bole,” she told Cot­ton at the fo­rum. Since then, McFar­land par­tic­i­pated in ac­tiv­i­ties such as protests in the In­di­vis­i­ble move­ment, which re­sists many of the poli­cies of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump.

Re­peated at­tempts to contact McFar­land by tele­phone, Face­book mes­sen­ger and text weren’t re­turned. Ef­forts to reach her for this re­port be­gan Sept. 14.

Della Rosa cited her ex­pe­ri­ence, not just in the Leg­is­la­ture but as a trained en­gi­neer and as a par­ent as her chief qualifications com­pared to McFar­land.

More and bet­ter high­ways along with other trans­porta­tion-re­lated spend­ing is the most ob­vi­ous need for the

grow­ing dis­trict, Della Rosa said. Work force ed­u­ca­tion to im­prove skills does not get as much at­ten­tion, she said, but the need there is great. She also sup­ports so­cial work­ers in schools, say­ing many stu­dents show up at school with prob­lems at home that hand­i­cap them in class.

Della Rosa nar­rowly pre­vailed in her GOP pri­mary, win­ning by three votes.

The fi­nal count, af­ter two re­counts, was 1,069 votes for Della Rosa and 1,066 for ri­val and po­lit­i­cal new­comer Ken­don Un­der­wood of Cave Springs.

“I don’t take any race for granted,” Della Rosa said when asked about McFar­land. “My big­gest con­cern is that my sup­port­ers show up and vote.”

State House mem­bers serve two-year terms and have an an­nual salary of $39,400.

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