Though she is a political newcomer entering her first race, Sonya Leggett-Ryburn believes she has what it takes to be the next state representative for Southeast Arkansas’ 9th district.
The Monticello Republican holds fast to conservative principles on marriage, abortion and less government regulations on businesses and individuals. These are principles she believes she shares with the voters of Drew and Ashley counties.
Ryburn, who faces incumbent Sheilla Lampkin, D-Monticello, in the November General Election, has already hit the campaign trail listening to voters’ concerns.
In addition to marriage being defined as a union between a man and a woman and opposition to abortion, the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality’s impact on businesses, industries and farmers is a key issue to voters, Ryburn said.
“What would you think about a farmer who can’t drive across his pasture because it’s stirring up dust?” Ryburn said. “There was a man who was cited and told he could not drive across his pasture to deliver food to his cattle because his truck stirred up dust.”
The ADEQ is also hamstringing businesses and industries with strict regulations that are getting in the way of job creation, according to Ryburn.
Another key issue is Private Option, Arkansas’ alternative to the expansion of state Medicaid rolls that was proposed under the federal Affordable Care Act.
Ryburn said she, state House District 10 candidate Patricia Mays, R-Monticello, and House District 73 candidate Mary Bentley, R-Conway, are looking at concierge medicine as an alternative for those caught in the gap between public and private funded insurance; they don’t qualify for Medicaid or Medicare and can’t afford private insurance.
The patient pays the doctor a flat fee every month or a lump sum at the beginning of the year and the doctor will see the patient at any time.
“There is a doctor out of Conway that has already begun this service,” Ryburn said.
Ryburn said she plans to talk to physicians and pharmacists about setting up a concierge service in this area.
Asked for a comment on campaign ethics — another key issue in Arkansas — Ryburn said there is no excuse for violating campaign finance laws because the state routinely offers training sessions on campaign finance laws.
“I’ll be going to one next week,” she said.
If elected, Ryburn said she will conduct monthly town hall meetings in her district “to hold myself accountable.”
At these monthly meetings — one in Monticello, one in Crossett, and one in Hamburg — Ryburn said she will outline everything that is being presented in the legislature, how it can affect her constituents, and get their input.
“I thought about passing out note cards and pens to everyone and as we go over everything they can make notes and vote,” she said. “When I get home, I’ll go through them and see how everybody voted. I’ll tally them up and I can get a good idea of the consensus of what my district wants.”
While she will listen to her constituents with an open mind, Ryburn said she will not compromise her core beliefs.
For more information about Ryburn, read her news release announcing her candidacy.