Arkansas State Rep. Debra Hobbs, a 1977 graduate of University of the Ozarks, plans to formally announce her bid for Arkansas' top office at an event at Frisco Park in Rogers, Ark., tonight.
Hobbs, who is in her second term representing District 94 in the Arkansas House of Representatives, will enter the Republican primary for Arkansas governor. The gubernatorial general election will be held in November of 2014.
Hobbs’ background is in education. After graduating from Ozarks, she earned a master’s degree in counseling education from the University of Arkansas. From there, she served as a counselor, teacher, and school board member. A career in politics, however, was not on her radar.
"I still find it interesting that I am in the position I am," Hobbs explained. "I was elected to the Benton County Quorum Court when a grassroots group of people began recruiting pro-personal property rights candidates to run for the office of Justice of Peace. I felt protecting property rights was important and agreed to run. My experience on the quorum court taught me that not all Republicans are conservative. When my legislative district became open due to term limits, I felt it was important to have a conservative continue to serve. I ran and thankfully have been unopposed all three terms."
While Hobbs may have stumbled into her political career, she has taken up the mantel of responsibility and said she is proud of the legislation she has helped implement.
"I like constituency service, helping people get answers from various agencies. I like working with others to pass common sense legislation. I like looking for ways to make government more accountable and efficient, so that hard-working Arkansans can keep more of their money," Hobbs said.
Hobbs said she did not reach the decision to run for governor lightly. She understands the added stress and responsibility the campaign will place on her family, and she is thankful they are supportive. Her husband, Ray, is also a 1977 graduate of Ozarks.
"I’m already preparing for this campaign by praying and building a good team of support," she said. "I am very thankful my husband and my family support me in this endeavor."
Hobbs also understands, however, her duty to the people of Arkansas.
"The challenges we face as a state are too important to leave to politics as usual. My experience as a legislator has given me insight to what works in government and into areas where change is needed. We need to make certain that our agencies are led by qualified people who understand that the government is here to serve the people," Hobbs said.