State Rep. Nate Steel, a Democrat from Nashville, has announced his candidacy for Arkansas Attorney General. He is the first Democrat to announce for the attorney general’s race to succeed term-limited incumbent Democrat Dustin McDaniel.

“Growing up in the small town of Nashville, I learned the values of hard work, self-reliance and right and wrong, Steel said in a news release announcing his candidacy. “I learned to never sit on the sidelines. If there is a problem, be part of the solution. I made this decision after great encouragement from friends and colleagues across the state and after much thought and prayer.”

Steel, who first announced his candidacy outside the Howard County Courthouse and later at the state Capitol, said he is running for attorney general “because I believe in our state and our people — in what we can get done if state government works the way it is supposed to work.

“I’ll work with law enforcement to crack down on criminals,” he said. “I’ll stand up to those who would prey on our children, our seniors and on Arkansas consumers. I’ve never been one to back down from a fight.”

A graduate of the University of Arkansas, Steel said he could have taken a job as a “tall-building lawyer” making more money.

Instead he returned to Howard County to join the family business practicing law and to become a prosecutor. Steel said he chose to serve the community that had invested in him.

In the Arkansas House of Representatives, Steel said he dedicated himself to fighting for the rule of law and to crack down on criminals while giving law enforcement and prosecutors the tools they needed to make Arkansas a safer place to live and raise a family.

In the most recent legislative session, he said he worked across party lines to enact legislation to guard the privacy rights of law-abiding citizens in Arkansas. He served on the Judiciary Committee of the State House.

As vice chairman of the Agriculture, Forestry and Economic Development Committee, Steel said he worked to support Arkansas farmers, grow the state’s economy and create jobs. As a member of the Joint Budget Committee, he worked to keep Arkansas’ budget balanced and to keep the state’s fiscal house in order.

Steel is in his third term representing District 19 in the Arkansas House of Representatives. He is a graduate of Nashville High School and earned his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Arkansas. He is a member of the First United Methodist Church in Nashville.

Two Republicans, Leslie Rutledge and David Sterling, previously announced their intentions to run for attorney general in 2014.

Rutledge, of Little Rock, served as deputy counsel for Huckabee when he was Arkansas governor and as legal counsel for his 2008 presidential campaign. She has also served as legal counsel for the Republican National Committee.

Sterling is an attorney in North Little Rock.