Even without the official title, Rene Henderson has been introduced as stateswoman, Humanitarian, entrepreneur, community organizer, the people’s advocate, futurist, etc. Henderson said she did not fathom that a life of servanthood and political activity would one day result in her being a candidate for Justice of the Peace in District 4 of the Faulkner County Quorum Court.
District 4 forms lines from Old Military Road to Lollie Bottom, Highway 89 to Cato, the River Plantation to Gold Lake, Sturgis Road, Round Mountain and beyond with Mayflower being its major hub.
Henderson said she will find the positive slant to any situation. She said that through her formal education and personal life experiences she knows local government immensely impacts the population it serves.
"[I have] always believed that if an entity is unbalanced that perhaps it is not as fully representative or reflective of its totality, thereby depriving itself of its growth and possibilities exponentially," Henderson said in a statement.
Therefore, Henderson said she believes the people of Faulkner County would be better served if the current make-up of the 13 member Quorum Court were more diversified along demographic lines, such as employment backgrounds, childhood experiences, cultural, social, economic status, gender, ethnicity, age, marital and disability statuses and total life experiences. Henderson believes she is more connected to the constituents of District 4, more interested in their day-to-day challenges, and most equipped and knowledgeable of available resources to address their personal, business and overall life needs.
Having grown up in a densely-populated area of Eastern Arkansas, Henderson said she relates well to the geographic area of District 4.
She said the schools and colleges, manufacturing and service industries, technology portals and other gems in Faulkner County make it possible for humans, plants, and animals to at least have their basic needs met on an ongoing basis. She intends to reach out to each household in her district in some fashion between now and November to listen, gather and exchange ideas and further service them.
Henderson is pleased to have the support and endorsement of several community leaders and public officials throughout the state.
“I want to remain accountable throughout this process and live up to the confidence placed in me by many," she said. "I know my capabilities and the strength of the communities of this district. I am committed to delivering my personal best every day throughout this campaign season and when elected the next Justice of the Peace for District 4."
Henderson graduated from the University of Central Arkansas with a Bachelor of Science degree (1986) and a Masters of Science degree (2000). She believes her formal health care education at UCA and diverse experiences in Arkansas and beyond has largely led to her filing for political office. She said the political imprints of her mother, youngest brother, uncle and neighbors laid the foundation for her to be a formidable candidate in local politics and this JP race.
Henderson said that while at UCA, she received extensive instruction on identifying community resources, survey interpretation, analyzing statistics, understanding family dynamics, conducting community assessments, formal planning, research, data collection, business plans and proposals, as well as funding and budgeting. She was a prior recipient of the coveted Entrepreneurship and Innovation Award presented by the Arkansas Nurses Association. After her oldest daughter’s near-death health crisis at school in the absence of a school nurse or any health care personnel, Henderson’s published writings and testimony before the Arkansas State Legislature were instrumental in the passage of laws placing nurses in schools throughout Arkansas.
Henderson said her past employment at the Red Cross, her extensive prior work with OSHA regulations, disaster planning leadership, her budgeting experience, her service within the disability community and a satisfying career in geriatrics and a professor with the University of Arkansas system adds to her qualifications to become the next voice of the people at the JP level. She is a member of the Greater Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in Conway and serves as Health Director for Regular Arkansas Baptist Convention Ushers, Nurses and Greeters Auxiliary. Henderson is the current vice-chair of the Democratic Party of Faulkner County.
Henderson is a freelance diversity reporter/journalist specializing in political, ecumenical, historical millennial and other issues and topics.
Henderson said she possesses a unique skill set and a perspective that is largely missing from the current make-up of the 13 member Faulkner County Quorum Court.
“Diversity and inclusion has a tendency to strengthen communities, cities and counties and facilitates understanding among and between groups,” Henderson said.
Henderson recognizes the implications of interstate and global business relationships and partnerships in Faulkner County and District 4, and said she will continue to engage with business owners and their clients and customers. As well, Henderson plans to continue her involvement with mayors, judges, City Council members and legislators on behalf of the people she desires to serve as a Justice of the Peace on the Faulkner County Quorum Court.
With a nursing career history and subsequent pro-tirement period filled with diverse experiences throughout Arkansas and across America, Henderson said she knows many of the social, health care and quality-of-life needs of the people in District 4 are experiencing, including some challenges of the business sector.
As her platform continues to evolve, Henderson plans to lead a campaign effort that will comprehensively improve infrastructure, heighten total community safety, embrace and involve young people, engage families, businesses, churches and public institutions, explore new and increased funding options, identify strategic enhanced partnerships and relationships, boost economic momentum in District 4, reduce social and environmental vulnerabilities and identify measures and means that can result in greater empowerment of District 4 residents living with and being affected by the decisions of the Faulkner County Quorum Court.
"The bar must be raised during the election process," she said. "The people deserve stronger representation. No longer can we afford to haphazardly, indiscriminately or irresponsibly check 'R' on the ballot anymore. Our children and grandchildren deserve better voting practices from us.”
As we attempt to educate and lead the people of D-4 to greater level of understanding and participation in local politics, then they can begin to respect the democratic process and take much needed action, and hopefully pass it on, she said.
Since childhood, Henderson said she’s understood the challenges and despair of poverty and the subsequent burden it places on society; for example, in terms of crimes, arrests, and imprisonment. Henderson said she also recognizes the effects of opioids and other drug crises on families and communities.
“I also understand the impact of misguided and inequitable tax allocations and appropriations and I know there is a better way forward," said Henderson.
Henderson said she will continue to attend state and local meetings, such as the MetroPlan Board of Directors meetings, where decisions are being made by judges and mayors that impact the lives of D-4 residents on a daily basis; the Governor’s Re-entry and Foster Care Summit; county and regional Solid Waste Management meetings; Office of Emergency Management; Election Commission trainings; Chamber of Commerce and more. Henderson said she speaks and asks questions as the opportunity presents at the meetings.
She said she will continue to seek those crucial outreach opportunities and attend political forums and various trainings on behalf of the good of the people. Henderson said too many children are suffering because they are not receiving child support due them; too many women and children fall victim to crimes committed against them; and too much hopelessness and untreated mental and emotional distress exist in society today and that she looks forward to working with others on the Quorum Court for a stronger, more united and efficient path forward if elected.
She applauds her multi-county team as they support her efforts to become a voice of the people related to issues of concern to Faulkner County residents, such as infrastructure, public safety, economic growth, business development and retention, and overall quality of life, especially those of District 4.