It’s worth showing up for a seat in the new House District 9

SPRINGDALE — Diana Gonzales Worthen will run for the new State House District 9 seat as a Democrat, she announced Wednesday.

District 9 is the Hispanic-majority district in East Springdale created during legislative district boundary changes last year.

“I am the granddaughter of immigrants. My father was an English learner who served in the US Navy and became a computer programmer, and my mother grew up harvesting fruits and vegetables as a daughter of migrant farm workers and became a housekeeping supervisor at our local hospital,” Worthen’s announcement reads.

Worthen, 60, earned her doctorate in curriculum and instruction from the University of Arkansas in 2004 while working at Springdale and Rogers Public Schools as an English science teacher second language. She currently works in the University of Arkansas system as the director of Project Reach, a program where her team teaches online courses to Springdale teachers to qualify as ESL instructors and prepare bilingual and bicultural professionals to become teachers.

Washington County won lawmakers when state district boundaries were redrawn after the 2020 U.S. Census to even out populations. Washington County has grown in population compared to most other counties in Arkansas. Creating a predominantly Hispanic district to give a voice to the state’s growing Hispanic population was a goal of creating the district, Governor Asa Hutchinson said during the unveiling of the new boundaries.

Worthen is the first candidate to announce for District 9. The district stretches from the Washington-Benton county line in the north to Don Tyson Parkway in the south. It touches Thompson Street on the west and Sonora Road on the east.

In 2009, Worthen co-founded OneCommunity, a Springdale nonprofit group working to promote access to educational resources, health and mental health resources, and leadership development programs. She is also a co-founder of the Hispanic Women’s Organization of Arkansas, an organization that celebrates culture and community and provides scholarships to local students.

Members of the Chamber serve a two-year term. The base salary is $44,357 per year, not including per diems and expenses.

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