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Attorney Keidra Burrell of Pine Bluff on Wednesday become the second Democratic candidate to announce her plans to run next year for the state Senate seat held by El Dorado Republican Trent Garner.

Burrell, 40, served as chief of staff and assistant to Pine Bluff Mayor Shirley Washington from 2016-18. She previously served as chief legal counsel for the northwest region of the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality from 2010-14. The native of New Orleans owns child development facilities called Krescent City Kids in New Orleans and the Audubon School in Pine Bluff.

Two months ago, former state Rep. Garry Smith of Camden announced his bid for the Democratic nomination for Garner's Senate District 27 seat. Smith served in the House from 2009-13 and lost in the 2012 Democratic primary in Senate District 27 to then-state Rep. Bobby Pierce of Sheridan. Pierce was elected to the Senate in the 2012 general election. In the 2016 general election, Garner ousted Pierce. Smith ran for the House District 7 seat in 2016 but lost in the Democratic primary.

Smith, 67, owns Garry's Plumbing and Electric. Garner, 35, is a former aide to Republican U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton of Dardanelle.

Senate District 27 includes all of Calhoun and Union counties and parts of Cleveland, Grant, Jefferson and Ouachita counties.

Burrell said in a news release that she is committed to improving education, investing in youth and helping economic development and health care for Senate District 27.

"As a small-business owner, of two child development facilities, I see the need for universal pre-k for Arkansas youth," she said.

"I support economic development through small-business development and expansion. I also understand the need for affordable and accessible healthcare within our state."

Smith has said he wants to help people with their medical needs and help create jobs in the Senate district. He could not be reached for comment by telephone on Wednesday.

Garner said Wednesday that he is excited to spend the next year campaigning for re-election to show why the state has experienced "great results" with a low unemployment rate and through the creation of lots of jobs.

The party filing period will be Nov. 4-12. Next year's primary election will be March 3 and the general election will be Nov. 3.

State lawmakers are paid $41,393 a year in salary, while the House speaker and Senate president pro tempore make $47,277 a year in salary. In addition, they are paid per diem and mileage for attending legislative meetings.

Metro on 09/12/2019

Print Headline: Garner gets 2nd Democratic foe

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