Jan Ziegler of Pocahontas is announcing her plans to run as a Democrat for State Representative in the upcoming election. She will seek the open position in District 80, which includes all of Randolph County and part of Sharp County. The position is presently held by David Cook, who is term-limited. Ziegler is Vice President for Development at Black River Technical College, with campuses in Pocahontas and Paragould.
"I have begun meeting with the voters in Sharp County, and I look forward to spending more time with them, listening to their concerns and their ideas in the coming weeks and months," she said. "I understand the residents of Sharp County face many challenges, chief among them returning a hospital to the area. The need for good sustainable jobs in our region has never been greater. I want to help our region make the most of its natural, cultural and human resources, areas of great potential we have only begun to develop. I believe my qualifications show I can be an effective legislator in helping to address the needs of District 80."
"I believe I can bring to this office, if elected, a wide range of knowledge and skills that I will put to work to get things done," Ziegler said. "I grew up on a small farm, the daughter of a sharecropper in Black River Bottoms in rural Randolph County. I was given precious opportunities along the way for education at many levels, and I understand how important those opportunities are and will continue to be. If the voters choose me, I will work with a passion to give back to the people of this region in full measure as I have been given."
Ziegler lives in rural Randolph County with her husband, Ken, a Civil Engineer who was a Watershed Project Engineer until his retirement with the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
They are members of the West Ridge Church of Christ.
In addition, Ziegler is a member of the Pocahontas Rotary Club, P.E.O., Chapter AR, a philanthropic educational organization, the Eddie Mae Herron Center, and Five Rivers Heritage Museum. Ziegler was elected to four five-year terms on the Pocahontas School Board, serving as president, vice president and secretary at various times during her 20 years of volunteer service. An alumna of LeadAR, a leadership development program of UA/Cooperative Extension Service, she was charter president and continues to serve on the Randolph County Mary Sallee Single Parent Scholarship committee. She spearheaded The Century Wall project and has been a key player in Project REACH (Researching Early Arkansas Cultural Heritage), a historic preservation project of BRTC.
"My heart is here in Northeast Arkansas," Ziegler said. "I will work for the people of this region for better opportunities across the age spectrum. I know we all want our young people to be able to choose to stay in our communities and have the promise of a bright and prosperous future here--a future that won't be short-circuited because their jobs are moved to another country. I believe economic prosperity and education are important to that future, and the two are in many ways inseparable. We must work in partnership with our neighboring communities to step up our efforts to develop and promote this region as a tourist destination. We must work cooperatively also to seek and recruit to this area high tech employment opportunities even as we ensure the infrastructure, the training and skills of our workforce keep pace. I also believe that our rural farm heritage is one of the greatest treasures in our region, and I understand that farmers are confronted with many economic issues that need attention. I know firsthand the heart-rending difficulties and choices faced by another of our region's greatest treasures, our senior citizens, and by the families who care for their aging loved ones," Ziegler said.
"I don't pretend to have all the answers to these and other challenges we face, but I do promise to listen carefully and thoughtfully to the ideas of others who know more than I do, and to work hard to be an effective State Representative for the citizens of Randolph and Sharp Counties in District 80."