A second Democrat has officially entered the race for Arkansas' 2nd Congressional District.
Quintessa Hathaway, an educator and entrepreneur from Sherwood, announced that she would seek the seat now held by Republican U.S. Rep. French Hill of Little Rock.
Nick Cartwright, an organizer from Romance, announced that he would run for the seat in July.
Hathaway, 37, said in an interview that she has been interested in politics since she was young and worked on several local campaigns in various cities including Nashville, where she previously lived.
She ran unsuccessfully for a seat in the Tennessee House of Representatives in 2006 and has lived in Arkansas for about a decade.
"Now I just feel as if it's time for me to step back out there and see what is possible. A lot has been happening in our country and I think that I have the skill set and the fortitude to really bring some dynamic change back to Central Arkansas," she said.
She said her platform is centered on culturally responsive education, voter mobilization and economic competitiveness.
Hathaway is the founder, chief executive officer and lead consultant of education consulting firm and professional development provider Q. Hathaway & Associates LLC.
She previously taught at the middle and high school level in the Little Rock School District and the Pulaski County Special School District, and at Arkansas Baptist College. She continues to teach as an online instructor in California.
She holds a bachelor's degree in political science from Jackson State University and multiple graduate degrees, including a doctorate in education from Tennessee State University.
Hathaway said her background in education has prepared her and given her the expertise and insight to construct policy.
"We recognize that there are some things at stake and that we simply need to be informed about," she said.
She said her experience as an entrepreneur means she can bring people to the table.
"The Republicans have a view that is in contrast with what the majority of Americans are feeling and what we are experiencing and I believe with our campaign we are really going to push the conversation to bring progressive, centrist, liberal, moderate and conservative voices to the table," she said.
Cartwright welcomed Hathaway to the race in a statement Tuesday.
"Nick is excited to see fellow Democrats standing up to echo what we already know: that French Hill is not representing the interests of the people of central Arkansas. We look forward to a substantive discussion throughout the primary as we continue to champion creating a workers economy, revitalizing rural Arkansas, and investing in our future through education," his campaign manager, Blake Ross, said in a text message.
Hill spokesman Brian Lee said the congressman didn't have any comment on Hathaway's announcement, but noted that the "people of Central Arkansas sent him back with a strong result last fall and he's continuing to work hard for them."
Hill has held the seat since 2015 and garnered more than 55% of the vote in the 2020 general election, when he was opposed by state Sen. Joyce Elliott, D-Little Rock.
The district has elected Republican representatives to the seat since 2010.
Jacob Kauffman, political director for the Democratic Party of Arkansas, said Thursday he expected other candidates to step forward for the 2nd Congressional District race, especially after the state's redistricting process concludes. The party primaries are May 24.
The district currently covers Pulaski, Saline, Perry, Conway, Faulkner, Van Buren and White counties. The Republican-majority Arkansas General Assembly is set to resume its extended regular session starting Sept. 29 to consider legislation to redraw the state's four congressional district boundaries based on the 2020 U.S. census data.