Monday, May 24, 2010

Values Based Leadership From A Progressive Champion In Arkansas-- Meet Joyce Elliott


Tomorrow Blue America will be formally endorsing Arkansas state Senator Joyce Elliott in the June 8 runoff for the Little Rock-based congressional seat Vic Snyder is giving up. Diallo Brooks is the Director of Field Mobilization for People For the American Way and he's worked with Joyce in the past. I asked him to put together a quick introduction for DWT readers in preparation for our live chat with Joyce tomorrow at Crooks and Liars (2pm, PT/4pm in Arkansas). Meanwhile, if you're so inclined, Blue America has added Joyce's campaign to our main endorsements page and all contributions are welcome.

-by Diallo Brooks

With such an important midterm election season well under way, many have wondered where progressive champions will emerge.  Well look no further than the 2nd Congressional District in Arkansas. State Senator Joyce Elliott is a candidate with a proven track record of leadership that is not only good for Arkansas but for our country. Joyce brings the passion, knowledge skills and, most importantly, the progressive values that can provide leadership so desperately needed in a divided Congress.

Joyce served three terms in the Arkansas State House before being elected to the Arkansas State Senate in 2008 where she currently serves as the Majority Leader. I have had the pleasure to know Joyce for many years since her time as a state representative in Arkansas, fighting for reform on issues such as education, health care, and economic justice.

Joyce has served even beyond elected office having spent thirty-one years teaching high school juniors and seniors. And her fight for education continued as she worked for the College Board, focusing on expanding access to Advance Placement curriculum for students currently underrepresented in AP classes: African American, Latino, rural and low-income students. Until 2010, she was the Director of Government Relations for the Southwest Region of the College Board.

As a champion for heath care, Joyce has shown leadership through sponsorship of legislation in 2009 that increased eligibility for ARKids First, a program which provides coverage options for more than 70,000 Arkansas children who otherwise might have gone without it. She may be best known for her work in education but she has also been active in teh fight for healthcare reform and in 2005, Joyce sponsored the Arkansas Colorectal Cancer Act, which mandated that insurance companies offer colorectal cancer screenings as recommended by the American Cancer Society.

To know Joyce is to know her passion, her honesty and her commitment to dealing with the tough issues of the day using a progressive values based philosophy to not only talk about change but to lead that change to implementation. Leadership is not a word that I use lightly but with Joyce it’s the definition of who she is.  It’s Joyce’s unwavering commitment to common sense solutions that makes her formidable in the battles that make sure progressive voices are heard. 

Should Joyce win a June 8th runoff election and go on to win the congressional race in November, she will be the first African-American elected to congress from Arkansas since 1870. If we truly want more progressive leadership in Washington, we all should do what we can to support State Senator Joyce Elliott a true champions of progressive change.

To support the campaign to elect Joyce Elliott, please visit her campaign website and don't forget the live blog session tomorrow at Crooks and Liars. Below is a video of the first part of an interview she did with Blue Arkansas.

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