Rene Henderson announced her District 4 candidacy for Justice of the Peace on the Faulkner County Quorum Court in the Nov. 3 general election.
Henderson is a retired registered nurse, educator, freelance journalist, community leader and service volunteer. The UCA Masters prepared graduate can often be heard on radio station KABF 88.3FM on Wednesday mornings, 9-10 a.m. on the Arkansas Talks Radio show with Bureau Chief Pat Ward.
“I am running to advocate for Faulkner County and the Mayflower/Gold Lake/Palarm/River Plantation/Cato and surrounding areas on the Quorum Court,” Henderson said. “I believe sound infrastructure is a major factor for sustainability and commercial and residential growth.
“My platform will center around disaster preparedness and recovery, formation of strategic partnerships and collaboration, equitable representation for small businesses and the poor and underprivileged, safe and honest elections, family literacy, enhancing diversity throughout the district, restoration of voting privileges and the rehabilitation needs of those formerly incarcerated and engagement of residents in local governance.”
Henderson said she takes pride in inviting guests into Mayflower to tour, shop and dine. She wants to do her part to serve and promote the entire District 4.
While canvassing, Henderson said she continues to encounter disenfranchised former inmates who are disqualified from voting due to former felony status and cumbersome fines. And in larger numbers, she said she’s meeting disheartened Faulkner County residents who are either living in dire poverty or who are struggling to make ends meet often working 2-2.5 jobs to pay monthly bills without any savings or luxuries of life for themselves.
Residents also reportedly talk to Henderson about their experiences from the disasters that hit Mayflower, while others tend to focus on water and sewer concerns.
Henderson serves on the Metroplan Advisory Board, Faulkner County Interfaith and Partners Disaster Recovery Group, Faulkner County Criminal Justice Committee to study reduction of jail population, Log Cabin Democrat Reader Advisory Board, AARP Vice President, and as a leader in her state church nurses association.
She also participates in Peacemakers, Faulkner County Coalition for Social Justice, Moms Demand Action Be Smart Program, Conway Newcomers, Faulkner County Democratic Women, and other organizations. Henderson is a member of Greater Friendship M.B. Church and was honored by Faulkner County Church Women United as recipient of the organization’s 2019 Human Rights Award.
Active in the Mayflower community, Henderson has hosted a business forum aimed at bringing business to the Mayflower area and retaining current businesses. She is actively recruiting memberships for the Greater Mayflower Chamber of Commerce. Henderson had the honor of serving as emcee for a mega Black History Program at the Conway Senior Center which highlighted the works of the masterful Silas Owens, Sr. a Faulkner County native. In honor of Women’s History Month, Henderson is helping to coordinate a Safety and Awareness Fair at the Mayflower Senior Citizens Center on March 26.
Concern over the need to improve reading scores for students of the Mayflower Public Schools prompted Henderson to gather up other community minded volunteers she knew that had an interest in student academic success and launched a Reading Buddy program that initially focused on childrearing families residing in an underserved apartment complex just outside the Mayflower City limits in 2019.
She also began the process of engaging retired teachers and other interested persons to tutor students one on one in reading at Mayflower Elementary. She also recently facilitated a collaboration of reading buddies with the AR Kids Read program. She and her Reading team encourage children to read by visiting neighborhoods on Saturday afternoons to hand out books and snacks. Her car is also recognized as a mobile unit to distribute food and clothes to families requesting them. As a former educator, “the book woman” as many now refer to her, supports the Mayflower Elementary School book vending machine and PTO.
Henderson is working with other leaders in the initiation of hunger reduction Community-based food pantries primarily aimed to serve District 4 families. She is also a supporter of school lunch debt reduction for families and contributes to the Mayflower Middle School fund to help students from economically challenged families to attend the out of state annual spring trip.
Henderson believes strongly in an informed citizenry and regularly attends meetings of Planning Commissions, City Councils, School Boards in Mayflower and Conway as well as the Faulkner County Quorum Court meetings and sub-committee meetings. She is a fixture in the halls of the Arkansas General Assembly monitoring actions on health care, representation, appropriations, issues affecting women, mental health concerns, and needs and rights of the incarcerated, such as rehabilitation and cost effective social programming. She affirmed her belief in the benefits of having diversity on boards, councils, Commissions, committees and all levels of legislative bodies, including Quorum Courts.
Henderson said when she examines the duties of the office of JP, that she feels increasingly competent to represent District 4 as County business is conducted and in reviewing and drafting ordinances and resolutions. The Quorum Court’s power to appropriate public funds, preserve peace and order and secure freedom from noxious activities and levy taxes are all functions and duties she feels qualified to perform.
“When I couple my work and life experiences with conversations I have with members of the public and community leaders, when I consider what I’ve gained from attending numerous meetings, constant reading and research on matters pertaining to county government operations and infrastructure, my firm consensus is that I am the best person for this District 4 open seat,” she said.
The service needs of the most rural and outlying neighborhoods and communities deserve the utmost attention of district JP officers, according to Henderson. Emergency medical services, fire prevention and protection services and solid waste collection and disposal services as listed in the JP Operations Manual among Faulkner County’s high priorities, Henderson said.
“Please join me in my campaign to offer Faulkner County deliberate, attentive, committed and fully engaged leadership,” Henderson said. “I stand ready to run and to serve for the advancement of all constituents and for our District 4 community as a whole. Potential voters will see that with my hands on, purpose driven, progress guided, business supportive, people centered leadership style, that I am the Candidate best prepared to represent District 4 on the Quorum Court.”