2023 Champion for Children Awardees 

The Champion for Children Awards honor advocates, organizations, and legislators who were a strong voice for children at the State Capitol this year. Awardees were selected by a committee of Kids Count Coalition Steering Committee members and Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families staff. Awards will be given during the Children’s Policy Summits this year and announced on this page following each event.  
The awardees in Little Rock included:  

Tonya Williams for her advocacy for early childhood education.  

Representative Ashley Hudson for being the lead sponsor on a new law to help pregnant and parenting students.  

Representative Jamie Scott for being the lead sponsor of the new Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair Act (CROWN Act).   

Arkansas Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics for their vigilance in identifying the impact of proposed laws on children’s health.  

Representative Tara Shephard for sponsoring a new law that will require that public high schools and state-supported institutions of higher education to have opioid overdose rescue kits available.  

Representative Julie Mayberry for her advocacy for early childhood and public education.  

Representative Andrew Collins for sponsoring legislation that would create an online voter registration option.  

Citizens First Congress for speaking against legislation that would harm the well-being of children.  

Representative Tippi McCullough for speaking against legislation that gave nearly $140 million of public dollars in tax cuts for the highest income earners and corporations.  

The Urban League of the State of Arkansas and the Women’s Foundation of Arkansas for leading a diverse coalition of partners that advocated against legislation that would have prohibited state agencies from providing programs targeted toward historically excluded groups.  

Ali Noland for her advocacy for public education.  

Senator Clarke Tucker for building consensus for legislation that will improve the lives of Arkansas kids and for speaking out against legislation that would harm Arkansas kids.  

Senator Jonathan Dismang for sponsoring legislation that will expand access to free school meals and make it easier for some families to qualify for SNAP.  

Representative Vivian Flowers for sponsoring a new law that creates a process for state-supervised school districts to be returned to local control.  

Representative Deanne Vaught for helping get several important new laws passed to help children and families in our state.  

Representative Jim Wooten for being a champion for public schools.  

Representative Aaron Pilkington for sponsoring two pieces of critical legislation aimed at improving maternal health.   

The awardees in Northwest Arkansas included:

Representative Grant Hodges for sponsoring legislation to end juvenile court fines and fees

Arkansas United for advocating for immigrant children and against harmful child labor laws

Sadie Kirk, Rhys and Branden Shipley, Sean and Dalen Brooks, and Savanna Sexton for successfully advocating for the new Safe Seizure Act

Arkansas Early Childhood Association for their creative advocacy in support of early childhood education

Senator Jim Petty for sponsoring a new law that allows the state to spend up to $25 for afterschool and summer programs

Senator Greg Leding for pushing for legislation to improve the lives of kids in our state and speaking out against legislation that would harm the well-being of children

Representative Jay Richardson for his bill that would have helped increase road safety in Arkansas by expanding who could receive drivers’ licenses.