With the support of Speaker of the House Robbie Wills, D-Conway, District 45 Rep. Linda Tyler, D-Conway, announced her candidacy for re-election.

Tyler beat then Conway School Board President Terry Fiddler in the Democratic primaries in 2008, going on to defeat Republican candidate Bill Fechtelkotter in the November election. She is up for re-election in 2010.

Tyler said the highlights of her career to date include the passage of the cigarette tax, geared toward generating money for a state traumatic injury network. Supporting the tax, she said, required "some soul searching, because it is a new tax," but "what is has enabled us to do for heath care is well worth it."

She also supported legislation giving judges the power to use GPS tracking devices attached to suspects or offenders to better enforce orders of protection on behalf of their alleged victims. The devices are similar to electronic ankle monitors and are beginning to be introduced to Faulkner County. Tyler said she has also ordered an interim study to explore other uses for the technology, including "possibly" reducing truancy at Arkansas schools, as she said some Texas school districts are doing. 

When GPS tracking devices are used by Texas schools, only chronically truant students are required to carry the devices.

An effort she’s still making, she said, is addressing bond market issues that have made it difficult to market municipal bonds, as are used to finance public works.

"We’re not there yet," she said.

Wills said Tyler "started out with a lot of leadership experience and has built on that ... and very quickly has become a leader in the House."

No one has announced a campaign to challenge her in the 2010 election cycle.

(Staff writer Joe Lamb can be reached at 505-1238 or by E-mail at joe.lamb@thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit.)