Democratic hopeful Hayden Shamel brought her campaign for Congress to Hope on Tuesday, speaking to a crowd at the Fair Park Community Center.

Democratic hopeful Hayden Shamel brought her campaign for Congress to Hope on Tuesday, speaking to a crowd at the Fair Park Community Center. Healthcare, education and the economy were the three main points she emphasized as she seeks to unseat incumbent Bruce Westerman in the Fourth District United States House of Representatives, which includes both Hope and Prescott.
“I’m running for Congress because I believe now is the time for us to stand up and to fight for what we believe in. Everyday people here in rural communities like Hope and Prescott need a voice. I’m running for Congress to give people in small town Arkansas that voice,” Shamel said.
Shamel said Westerman and the current policies of the GOP have left working people in Arkansas, especially rural places like Hope and Prescott, behind.
“I’ve been to 31 small towns in the district, and I am seeing the same things: empty buildings, closing businesses and once populated towns that are shrinking to nothing. Small towns in rural Arkansas have been neglected for too long,” she said.
Part of what inspired Shamel to run was when she became a new mom a few years ago, and she had to purchase prescriptions for her daughter.
“Even on an education health plan, the drugs were expensive, and my family has two incomes. For many low-income Arkansans, they are having to choose between the cost of food and the cost of prescriptions.  It isn’t right; it isn’t fair,” she said.
Shamel said she believes the Federal government can negotiate down the price of drugs with the pharmacy companies, and she also said that she believes healthcare for all is a basic human right, not a privilege for the wealthy.
“Healthcare affects everyone, regardless of age or status, and there is no reason why people should fear bankruptcy every time they go to the doctor or if they need to go to the emergency room,” she said.
Both Hempstead and Nevada counties also have sone of the highest rates of senior hunger and food insecurity in the state.
“Approximately 40 percent of the elderly in this state are food insecure and are living at or below the poverty level,” Shamel said.
Shamel is also concerned about the high levels of poverty in the region, and she says “Government must get back to caring for people, and caring for the poor, not villainizing them.”