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North Little Rock official to run for state House

An official in the North Little Rock mayor’s office announced his bid for the state House on Tuesday, hoping to replace outgoing Rep. Eddie Armstrong.

Isaac Henry, director of the Fit 2 Live program, said he plans to stay for now in his municipal job while opening his first bid for public office. Henry previously served as a special assistant to Mayor Joe Smith.

As a Democrat, Henry will face at least one challenger in the party’s District 37 primary in May. Jamie Scott, also of North Little Rock, announced plans last month to run for the seat, which encompasses parts of that city, as well as Maumelle and Jacksonville.

No Republicans have announced plans to run for the seat.

Armstrong, a Democrat who has represented the district since 2013, said in September that he would not seek re-election so he can focus on his family and business. He told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that he is not endorsing anyone as his successor.

In a phone interview Tuesday, Henry, 34, said he received the same message from Armstrong, whom Henry called his “mentor.”

Henry said he would focus his campaign on economic development, opportunities for youths and the boundaries of local school districts.

“Our school districts are great but I think we can bring in a lot more kids — you know we have kids that live in our area and that go to school in the county,” Henry said, specifying neighborhoods such as McAlmont and the area around Dick Jeter Road in North Little Rock.

“We need to have a conversation about how we draw those lines.”

State law gives the state Board of Education the authority to approve the annexation or consolidation of school districts.

Henry added that he hoped to raise discussions about food deserts — referring to areas where residents have poor access to nutritious, affordable foods — at the state Capitol.

A lifelong resident of North Little Rock, Henry said he’s known locally as a coach of youth basketball, as well as in the North Little Rock Police Athletic League baseball and football programs. He is married with three boys and is a member of the U.S. Army Reserve, according to a news release.

Henry said he expects to soon begin raising money for his campaign.

Scott, 35, the other Democrat in the race, has yet to file her first campaign-finance report with the secretary of state’s office, according to records.

State representatives are paid $40,188 a year along with mileage and per diem expenses. The party primary is May 22. The general election will be Nov. 6, 2018.

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