Crawford County Democratic Party will hold a Jan. 11 seminar for local potential candidates for the 2018 election year.

As part of the free seminar, potential Democratic candidates will receive support and information on how the CCDP can help them with their campaigns, said Sheila Bell, Crawford County Democratic Party chair.

“It’s about showing people where the opportunities are to be involved in local government,” Bell said. “We’re concerned with the cities, the county, the school board - these are the heart of our communities.”

The seminar will be on Thursday, Jan. 11, from 7-9 p.m. at the Emergency Management facility, 1820 Chestnut St. in Van Buren and is free. RSVP is encouraged.

Tom Watkins, Crawford County representative with the Democratic state committee, said the seminar would have multiple components.

Included in the seminar would be a breakdown of the county and legislative offices up for election with information on terms, salary and filing fees, and information and cost projections on advertising, marketing and campaign materials.

An overview also will be provided of the party’s database resources that can be used to help with “organization, canvassing and getting out the vote” for candidates running for justice of the peace positions all the way to state senate, Watkins said.

A section on organizing and fundraising also may be included, Watkins said.

“We are trying to re-generate an interest in progressive public service and to use our efforts as a way to help encourage people to participate in the political process,” Watkins said. “We are interested in making the political monologue in Crawford County, which has been prevalent over the last few election cycles, more of a dialogue. It doesn’t serve the public to have only one side of the story.”

Party representatives also are hoping that the change in term laws for county officials from two years to four year will encourage more people to run for county offices, Bell said.

“With the change in state law making county offices a four-year term, this could spark a citizen giving stronger consideration to running for a county office,” Bell said.

An amendment to Arkansas term limit laws that was approved by voters in 2016 extends the length of executive county offices from two to four years, beginning with the 2018 elections.

Those positions include the county judge, sheriff, assessor, treasurer, coroner, county surveyor, tax collector, circuit clerk and county clerk. JP positions remain at two-year terms.

To RSVP for the seminar, contact Watkins at tfwatkins@cox.net or Bell at swbvb@hotmail.com.