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Avery opens Republican challenge to Richardson in Fort Smith race for state House

by Doug Thompson | November 21, 2021 at 3:45 a.m.

FORT SMITH -- Businessman Max Avery has announced his Republican bid for proposed state House District 49.

"Real steps must be taken to address problems in our community, such as reducing the individual tax burden to help stimulate and grow our state's economy and having our schools focus on core, worthwhile curriculum to help our children be productive members of society," Avery said in his announcement.

"Politicians, bureaucrats, and teachers' unions are ruining the foundations of our education system, and it's time to give parents and classroom teachers more say in what is being taught."

Avery's bid challenges Rep. Jay Richardson, D-Fort Smith, who is running for a third term. State legislative district boundaries are being redrawn to equalize populations in them after the 2020 U.S. census. Proposed District 49 includes less of western and central areas of the city than existing District 78 and adds much of northern and some eastern Fort Smith.

Avery, 35, is the founder of CDL Academy, a truck driver training program in Fort Smith. The academy serves students of all walks of life but focuses on partnerships with the nonprofit groups United Way, Project Restore Hope and 100 Families to serve community members emerging from a hardship or crisis situations, he said. CDL Academy opened in 2019.

Avery grew up in Alma and moved to Fort Smith in 2016, he said. He attended the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith. This is his first political race.

The state Board of Apportionment redraws legislative district boundaries every 10 years, after each U.S. census. The board consists of the sitting governor, attorney general and secretary of state.

The board set its next meeting for Nov. 29 to consider final approval of proposed district maps after a 30-day public comment period.

House members run for two-year terms. Their base salary is $39,399 a year, not including per diem and expenses.

Candidate filing for partisan primaries begins Feb. 22 and ends March 1. Party primaries are set for May 24.


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