Curtis Varnell of Paris has announced that he will be a Republican candidate for State Representative, District 74 in the upcoming election.
Varnell was born and raised in Logan County. He first attended Arkansas Tech University where he received a B.S. degree in both science and social studies education. While teaching at Paris, he received a MA in education from ATU and a specialist degree in Science education. A former Fulbright and Woodrow Wilson scholar, Curtis received his Ph.D in Geology from the University of Arkansas in 2004.
After more than 20 years in public school education, Varnell has taught at the University of Arkansas, UA Fort Smith, and the University of the Ozarks. His varied research includes urban development patterns in Japan to the wetlands ecology of Costa Rica.
During summer employment, he has served as a Park Ranger for the Corps of Engineers, chemist for Arkansas Nuclear One at Russellville, and a regional coordinator for the student summer youth employment program. He was named Who’s Who in American Education for 17 consecutive years, Logan County educator of the year, and the only person ever named as both the Arkansas Social Studies Teacher of the Year (2011) and Arkansas Science Teacher of the Year (2013).
Varnell is the author of eight books, including Roads Less Travelled, a handbook used in schools statewide to teach Arkansas history. He is currently the Western Arkansas regional science coordinator at the Guy Fenter Education service coop in Branch.
“I plan to focus on three distinct areas of improvement for our region,” stated Varnell. “The first is to increase vocational opportunities for high school students in our region. Eighty percent of our kids are not college bound. We need to provide them training that is job specific to our area so they can remain as part of our communities. My staff is already busy working on that and have a plan ready to roll out immediately after election.
“Second, we have to assist our local community fire departments and community development projects. I have written over $2 million dollars in grants and I know how to assist our communities in acquiring funding. Third, we need to increase our assistance to home care providers for the elderly. State resources should assist the elderly in remaining independent in their home environment as long as possible. It is a much cheaper alternative than nursing homes and generally elderly prefer their home environment.”
Varnell will oppose Representative Jon Eubank, a five-term incumbent, of whom he stated, “I strongly believe in term limits. Six terms in unreasonable and unacceptable. If you can’t get the job done in a couple terms, it is time for a new voice and a new vision.”
Due to the presidential election, the Republican primary will be held in early March of 2020.