Vote for the Change You Wish to See
The November 2020 elections are crucial to the current and future well-being of Arkansas’s children and families. Arkansas voters will elect candidates to the Arkansas General Assembly, the U.S. Congress, and the U.S. Presidency. These policymakers will have the power to pass and influence public policies that will shape the resources and opportunities available to help future generations of Arkansas’s children and families thrive and succeed, especially our most vulnerable children and families.
Children should be a top priority for Arkansas voters and candidates this election season. According to the 2019 KIDS COUNT® Data Book, released annually by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Arkansas ranks just 40th in overall child well-being. While some of our state and national leaders tout a “growing” economy, the latest Census data shows an increase in
child poverty rates between 2017 and 2018. Nearly one in four of all Arkansas’s children and more than a third of our children of color continue to live in poverty, which research indicates can hurt a child’s ability to reach their full potential.
The candidates we elect in November will be in a position to make critical decisions on a range of issues important to the well-being of children and families, including health care; juvenile justice; early childhood and K-12 education; and family economic security issues such as taxes, paid family leave, housing, and the minimum wage. They will also decide state and federal tax and budget policies that determine the amount of public funding available for the investments needed to help our children, our future workforce, and our state have the greatest opportunity for success.
The 2020 elections are more important than ever given the extreme partisanship and lack of consensus that plagues our political and policymaking processes. Policymaking, especially at the federal level, is increasingly driven not by what research says is most effective at improving the well-being of children and families, but by self-interested politics and what will benefit the rich and powerful.
Organizations like AACF advocate for research- and data-driven policies to remove barriers, helping our children and families, especially children of color and those in low-income families, thrive. We want to be a state where every child can grow up into a healthy, successful adult. But without a statewide consensus and a clear vision on how to achieve that goal, we will continue to struggle to make that a reality. Electing lawmakers with the best interest of children at heart is key to our state’s future.
Arkansas’s children need champions to represent them at both the state capital in Little Rock and at our nation’s capital in Washington, D.C. Children can’t vote, they don’t run for political office, they don’t make political campaign contributions, and they don’t host political fundraisers for candidates or political parties. Yet they are the ones most impacted by the candidates who get elected and the decisions they make while in office. It’s up to us to ensure that their voices are heard, that voters and candidates consider the issues most important to the well-being of our children and families, and to help ensure that policymakers are held accountable for the decisions they make that impact kids after they are elected.
We offer the “2020 Voter and Candidates Guide” in this spirit. We hope voters and candidates across the political spectrum will read this guide and become informed on the issues, and then make their decisions based on what is best for our children and families.
Click the Download button below to get the Voters’ Guide PDF.