"You are qualified to lead because you are a woman."
Keidra is an attorney (formerly with the Conservation Corps) who is a mother of 3 adopted children. Keidra is running for State Senate in a rural/urban district that has never elected a Black candidate, especially to the State Senate. Keidra’s main message points include making sure health care services are available to the people in South Arkansas, increasing broadband (especially given the impact of this deadly virus), and bringing the people of the district together to find solutions instead of targeting one another with division.
Name: Keidra Burrell
Location: Pine Bluff, Arkansas
Role: Candidate for Arkansas State Senate
Coalition(s): African American, mother, woman
Social Media: @KBurrellforsenate27
Can you tell us about the office you are running for/your current elected position? I am running for the Arkansas State Senate, District 27. It's a massive region across South Arkansas, from Pine Bluff to El Dorado. It's a beautiful part of our state, but people are struggling. Children are hungry and uninsured, workers don't have work, and our schools aren't funded. We have representation that doesn't address those problems - they're too busy seeking out hyperpartisan fights. I'm not doing this to climb a political ladder. I'm doing this because South Arkansas families deserve a fighting chance.
What made you decide to run for office? Recently the Arkansas Legislature considered Stand Your Ground legislation - extremist gun policy that makes life more dangerous for people of color. I've got Black boys and a Black husband, and when I saw our legislators so casually dismiss the dangers Stand Your Ground poses to Arkansans of color, I knew I had to run. Thank God, we beat Stand Your Ground. But it's coming back, and we'll have to beat it again. That was the moment.
What is the most important issue you are focusing on in your campaign? Education and childcare. I own child development centers, so I see how access to affordable and safe childcare, and excellent pre-K, empowers working families and their children. South AR has an education crisis, too. Our current leaders are unwilling to fully fund our public schools, and that must change.
Why is the leadership of Black women needed right now? We listen. We care. We fight for everybody. We build relationships and community. We are experienced collaborators. And nobody will fight harder than a bunch of mothers for Arkansas's children and their future.
What advice would you give other women? You have a resume full of qualifications, and experience that is as impressive as anybody else's. But remember this: you are qualified to lead because you are a woman. You are qualified to lead because you are a mother. These things aren't barriers or obstacles - they're qualifications. They make us strong leaders.