Here at For AR People, we like to say that we connect people with policy

We’ve heard that folks sometimes don’t think politics and policy has an impact on their lives; we’re here to tell Arkansans that it does, and how to do something about it. We want the people to understand and wield the power of policy. 

We’re not here to tell you what to think. We want to help you act

Regnat Populus, after all. The People Rule

We admit this can be a pretty nebulous goal. What does it  look like in practice for the people to rule? 

It’s easy to talk about the bigger stuff, like our partnership with grassroot groups across the state to get the Arkansas Abortion Amendment on the ballot this November or our coverage of #lecterngate and the FOIA showdown last fall. 

Our bread and butter, though, is the smaller stuff –– the little things that constantly impact our neighbors, our workforce, or our wallets. 

With the fiscal session coming up all too quickly and with a year’s distance from the last legislative session beginning, it’s time we showcase some of the People’s wins that we’ve been grateful to help push across the finish line. 

Growing our reach 

For AR People is on TikTok

While this might seem small, the platform has been a great way to grow our reach and engagement with younger Arkansans. 

We firmly believe that the young people are essential to correcting the direction of the state, and as young folks ourselves we’re fans of the platform. Check out one of our greatest hits (both for the state and Hamilton fans) here

The platform gives us a chance to cut loose and be a little goofy, which is great for everyone’s mental health, if we’re being honest. 

Protecting LGBTQ+ Youth 

We try to be at the front of the line when it comes to defending LGTBTQ+ folks and kids who just want to be left alone to live their lives in peace. 

When Sen. Stubblefield and Rep. Bentley’s SB 43 attempted to ban drag shows, we told the truth: this is an assault of the freedom of expression extremist conservatives pretend to love and intensely damaging to kids who need representation, not to mention the folks who simply want to throw parties that anyone can attend. Legislators who knew better gutted the worst parts of the bill, thankfully, but some dead bills still haunt ARLeg

Teacher Pay 

During the 2023 Legislative session, we spearheaded the Pay AR Teachers campaign, which advocated for raising teacher salaries to $50,000 as a stand-alone policy. 

If you’re thinking that the LEARNS Act is what accomplished this, let’s do a quick recap.As we explained before LEARNS even passed, folding such a pay structure into an omnibus bill that people didn’t even have time to read before it was presented was (and continues to be) a terrible idea. The funding structure of LEARNS makes it incredibly difficult to actually afford those raises. A stand-alone bill would’ve gotten the job done much more smoothly. 

Nonetheless, we are extremely proud that the Pay AR Teachers coalition began the conversation for a substantial teacher salary raise for public school educators. It was long past time to bring Arkansas from the bottom of the nation up to the top in teacher pay. 

Voucher Pushback 

Unfortunately, as we all know, LEARNS did get passed (not so much passed as shoved down Arkansans’ throats). 

We continued to oppose it, however; we decided that if we couldn’t stop it at the source, we’d continue sounding the alarm bell about its detrimental effects (and the continued shadiness about just who stands to benefit from voucher contracts). 

We broke a story about the decreased disability standards for voucher applications which allows kids to cut in line for vouchers. The bottom line is what we’ve said from the beginning: vouchers were always intended to benefit rich folks, not kids whose families don’t have means. It turns out we were right, because that’s exactly what’s happening

The People’s Power 

This is the work we do here at For AR People and On AR Watch. The past year has been a whirlwind – we made strange bedfellows during the FOIA special session, began a campaign to return the right to make private healthcare decisions, and generally fought for the people of this great state despite heavy opposition. 

If you like the work we do, if we’ve helped you understand how policy affects people in this state, we’d love for you to donate or consider supporting us with a monthly donation (and getting some cool swag as a treat!). 

We believe the People Rule, and it’s only because of you, the People, that we can do this work.