Evans says change starts at home
Morrilton resident Jennifer Evans has an answer to that question — bring together a group of concerned citizens, pick some issues and concentrate on making sure their concerns are heard by local politicians. That task is made all the easier through social media sites, and a group in which Evans is heavily involved — Arkansas for Better Government –can be found here on Facebook.
Evans has been busy this week visiting with the media in an attempt to grow the membership on the site, which stands at 215 people now and is growing. Central Arkansans can hear Evans on the radio all weekend long, in fact — she’ll be on Hallelujah 106.7 FM on multiple Saturdays starting tomorrow at 7 a.m., The Edge 100.3 FM at 7 a.m.m on Sunday, KSSN 95.7 FM at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday, TOM 94.9 FM at 7 a.m. on Sunday and The Wolf 105.1 FM at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday.
Evans — a self described community activist — said she’ll be promoting both Arkansas for Better Government and a growing project, Home4Holidays. Evans said Home4Holidays — a group advocating highway safety laws tackling issues such as drunk driving and texting while driving — has about 1,300 members but is getting established with an Internet site and other ways to reach concerned citizens. First Arkansas News will post an Internet address and any other relevant ways of keeping up with what Home4Holidays is up to as soon as that information is available.
As for Arkansas for Better Government, Evans said that group is unique for a number of reasons. For one thing, it encourages participation from all concerned Arkansans regardless of political beliefs, social standing, etc. For another, Evans said the group is driven by civil discussion and debate rather than finger-pointing, howling, personal attacks and other unsavory practices that pass for political discourse these days.
She pointed out that all members of the group might not agree on every issue, but there is the hope that everyone shares an interest in cutting those programs that need to be cut and “returning common sense” to the government. Evans said that “common sense” element can get lost in this era where special interests are highly influential — some of those social programs, for example, that benefit Arkansans may get left behind in favor of other programs that are backed by money-flinging lobbyists controlled by the influential groups that hire them.
Those smaller programs — educational outreach, Head Start and women’s health initiatives, for example — need supporters, too, Evans said. She hopes Arkansas for Better Government can pull together those supporters.
In addition to individuals, Evans said Arkansas for Better Government is attempting to attract more small business owners. Why? Those businesses are the employers and the ones who are often under-represented in government. She reasoned that enough “little guys” — both individuals and businesses — get together, that’s a group that can have a substantial impact on government.
Evans initially got in touch with First Arkansas News after reading our article about GPS tracking in domestic abuse and violence cases. Evans has a personal interest in advocating for the rights and defense of domestic violence victims, pointing out that Travis County Court Division 4 Judge Mike Denton of Austin, Texas, made a good point in the aforementioned article — it takes community involvement to deal with the problem of domestic abuse.
Community involvement is also just the thing that will help groups like Arkansas for Better Government be successful. Furthermore, community involvement gets people interested in changing government for the better on a larger scale — if people are first interested in making change at home, then perhaps their zeal will spread beyond the state’s borders.
Benton resident. Rogue journalist. Recovering attorney. Email = Ethan@FirstArkansasNews.net.