Secretary of State John Thurston, Republican candidate for secretary of state in Arkansas

Age: 49

City: East End

Occupation: Arkansas Secretary of State

Education: Sheridan High School; currently attending the University of Arkansas at Little Rock where I am 12 hours away from a degree in economics.

Public service experience: Eight years as the Arkansas Commissioner of State Lands; four years as the Arkansas Secretary of State


Why should people vote for you?

I have served as Arkansas Commissioner of State Lands and currently serve as Arkansas Secretary of State. My experience in working with and serving the people of Arkansas in both of these roles has proven my ability to serve our state's citizens. The 2020 election brought many challenges. We secured $1,00,000 in personnel protection equipment that we distributed to all 75 counties. The 2020 general election saw the highest voter turnout in state history, despite the pandemic. My administration finalized the purchasing of new election equipment for all 75 counties. The 2020 general election was the first election in Arkansas history where all 75 counties used the same integrated voting system. We opened a Business and Commercial Services office in Fayetteville. We assisted over 20,000 companies acquiring Paycheck Protection Program loans by waiving fees on corporate records and late fees on franchise taxes to help companies that were struggling during the pandemic.

What is the most pressing issue facing your constituents and how would you address it?

Election integrity. The security and integrity of our elections is of upmost importance to my office. I want to make it easier for Arkansans to vote, but harder to cheat. There were inconsistencies and issues across the country in the 2020 election, however, as a result of the hard work of my staff, we did not have these issues in Arkansas. The Heritage Foundation and America First Policy Institute recently ranked Arkansas as one of the top states in the nation int erms of election integrity. I plan to work with the Legislature, in the 2023 session, on legislation to increase those rankings. The Biden administration has been pushing elections legislation that will forever change our elections. This attempt to federalize our elections and strip away states' rights would make cheating easier than ever. I sent a letter opposing this legislation to Senator Schumer and Senator McConnell. The passage of this type of legislation would undo the great things Arkansas has done to ensure secure elections.

What's the first thing you'd like to accomplish if elected?

We have seen many accomplishments during the first four years of my administration. My plan is to continue the focus on election security, preservation and security of the Capitol, and to continue to provide great customer service to those wishing to do business within the state of Arkansas.

A team of reporters from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette compiled this series of candidate bios over the last three months. Candidates in most races were reached by email and completed questionnaires. Others who couldn't be reached by email provided information over the phone. Some candidates declined to participate or didn't respond to phone and email messages left by the Democrat-Gazette. Return to the main Voter Guide page to read more bios.