Della Rosa faces first Democratic challenger
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.