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And the 2020 political season has begun.

This past week and until next week, candidates for federal, state, regional, judicial, and county offices have been filing for the 2020 election season.

Municipal offices will file later in the upcoming year.

But for most part, these candidates, especially the judicial candidates have already been out collecting signatures to offset the high filing fees set by the state for district and circuit judgeships.

Each political party at the state and local level sets their own filing fees for the preferential party primaries.

Locally, candidates for state House of Representatives and state Senate have been making public announcements of their intentions to seek office. Filing between Nov. 4 and Nov. 12 for the major parties will show who filed for what offices, third-party candidates and independent candidates without a political affiliation to a party are under different rules for these state offices.

When the dust clears at noon on Nov. 12, a majority of the races for the 2020 state Legislature and many of the other constitutional offices and judiciary positions will be set.

Stay tuned ...

• • •

In the meanwhile there are several political issues worth mentioning as we await the 2020 lineups to be formed.

• • •

A good news item finding its way for Gov. Asa Hutchinson -- who will be not eligible for another term, having rolled into his final two years of an eight year term in office as Governor -- is the spike in students participating in computer coding.

This was one of his "pet" initiatives that began eight years ago on the campaign trail with a blurb about his granddaughter creating an app for him by learning computer coding.

Today there have been 9,800 enrolled in computer coding programs in the state -- up a 22 percent increase over 2018-2019.

That is a phenomenal increase.

This one initiative, which many pundits ignored and did not put much stock into at the outset -- has been a great thing for Arkansas and young Arkansans in public schools.

The mark of 9,800 has exceeded the Governor's own goal of having 7,500 students in Arkansas schools enrolled in computer coding classes by 2019.

Arkansas was one of the first states in the nation to promote and embrace computer coding classes to be taught in high schools, setting a law to require public schools to at least offer one such class in the curriculum.

Hutchinson is thrilled, to say the least.

And I'll be one of the first to say his legacy in many areas may indeed start with his computer coding initiative for the younger generation.

• • • 

I'll join most of the other political scribes in sending out condolences and praise for the life of the late civil rights advocate and state Rep. John Walker of Little Rock.

In a life lived in the courtrooms taking on cases others ignored, Walker made his mark and made Arkansas a better place for people to live, work and enjoy all the freedoms the U.S. Constitution allows.

It was proper and fitting that Gov. Hutchinson allowed his body to lie in state at the Capitol rotunda in Little Rock.

Outpourings of sympathy and admiration for Walker's service to the state came from politicians from all corners of Northwest Arkansas -- far from his area of litigation.

He was a man who challenged the powers of this state and he was unafraid.

Rest well John Walker. There are now many in the fights that once you almost single-handily fought.

Rest well my friend.

-- Maylon Rice is a former journalist who worked for several northwest Arkansas publications. He can be reached via email at [email protected] The opinions expressed are those of the author.

Community on 11/06/2019

Print Headline: 2020 Candidate filing underway; New, busy political season ahead

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