AR House Candidate Denise Garner Among Eight First-time Female Candidates in NWA to Run for State Legislature

Year of Women Movement Attempts to Improve Female Representation in Arkansas Politics

(Fayetteville, Ark.) – Fayetteville resident and local state house candidate Denise Garner officially filed for office today at the State Capitol in Little Rock to run for the Arkansas House of Representatives – District 84. She is the only announced Democratic candidate to challenge incumbent state Representative Republican Charlie Collins.

Denise said seeing so many first-time female candidates joined her in announcing their candidacy for the Arkansas House of Representatives is really inspiring. “Currently there are only eighteen females out of 100 state representatives in the Arkansas House despite the fact a majority of Arkansans are female,” said Denise. “That is a statistic that does not sit well with me as a politically active mother and grandmother.”

“If the 2017 legislative session taught us anything,” said Garner, “it’s we must vote-out politicians whose policies have gone too far. They’ve embarrassed our state and put public safety at risk. When we launched our campaign to retake Arkansas House District 84, I was overwhelmed with the enthusiasm showed by so many people in this race,” said Garner. “I entered this race because I will not sit on the sidelines as our state legislature attacks the very institutions and ideas that I have championed for my entire life. We deserve better from our elected officials and I pledge to always put Arkansas first!”

Denise said it is obvious her opponent, incumbent state representative Charlie Collins, has gone too far and lost touch with his voters following his controversial 2017 Act 562 “guns-in-public spaces” legislation that made national news last legislative session. “Nearly eighty percent of contributions to Rep. Charlie Collins’ campaign in 2017 came from PACs and out-of-state donors,” said Garner. “Zero came from donors who live in his state house district. That is a stark contrast to my campaign where 100 percent of contributions came from small donors in northwest Arkansas, of which over half came from donors inside House District 84.” Denise added, “Representative Collins may speak loudly, but it’s not with your voice!”

Denise said she is excited to see at least eight females in northwest Arkansas announce their candidacy for the state House. Other announced candidates include: Nicole Clowney (Dist. 86), Kelly Scott Unger (Dist. 87), Megan Cardwell (Dist. 89), Kati McFarland (Dist. 90), Gayatri Agnew (Dist. 93), Celeste Williams (Dist. 95), and Christie Craig (Dist. 96).

Denise thinks it is a sign of what is to come in the 2018 election, as more people get involved. Folks want to hold their politicians accountable for their voting records and extremist views that don’t reflect the values of their constituents.

“There is still a week remaining for more interested candidates to officially file for office and I know of a few more interested females thinking about it,” said Denise.

“For nearly forty years, I’ve been deeply involved in our communities here in Washington County and all across Arkansas through various nonprofit organizations, and startup small businesses. My personal commitment is to make our state a better place to live for all families,” said Garner. “We deserve to know where our politicians get their campaign cash and who they are beholden to. I believe in keeping my campaign local, honest and open. I want to listen and legislate based on what people in my district want rather than doing the bidding of whoever contributes the most to my campaign.”

Denise is committed to campaigning across House District 84 registering new voters, listening to constituents, and explaining her plan for how to fix several problems our state faces in healthcare, public education, and infrastructure.

“Arkansans should have representation that hears the voice of the citizens over the demands of their PAC handlers,” said Garner. “Hershey and I raised our family in this district, poured our hearts and souls into local causes and believe now is the time to take a stand to hold our politicians accountable in the 2018 election. We deserve better leadership; that’s why I’m running.”

For more information about Denise Garner and her campaign for AR House District 84, please visit her campaign website at