State Rep. Dan Sullivan, R-Jonesboro, has a primary challenger in the District 53 race. Dr. Cole Peck of Jonesboro has announced he will seek the seat that covers parts of Jonesboro and eastern Craighead County. Peck said he is a common-sense conservative and a board-certified emergency medicine physician in Northeast Arkansas. The son of a carpenter and a public school teacher, Peck said he knows what is at stake for everyday Arkansans.
“I believe voters are tired of elected officials not listening and addressing the problems we face every day as a state and as a country,” Peck said. “As state representative, I’ll support tax reform and reduce regulations that help families and promote economic development. I’ll also propose state-led reforms to Obamacare, and I’ll seek out common-sense efficiency throughout state government.”
In addition to his work as a physician, Peck holds multiple leadership roles in the region. He is a medical director of urgent care services in Jonesboro, a senior managing partner for Southern Emergency Services, and a chairman of an emergency department.
“Having served the people of Northeast Arkansas through health care and getting to hear the issues facing most families, I’ll bring a well-rounded and considered approach to the topics we’ll discuss in the legislature,” Peck said.
Job creation, fiscal responsibility, and stronger educational opportunities for all students are among his top priorities, he said. Peck is a strong defender of pro-life and traditional family values, and is a lifetime member of the NRA. He has a concealed carry permit, and said he is a tough advocate for protecting gun rights across the state.
Peck will challenge Sullivan, a two-term representative, who has been the subject of public scrutiny earlier this year. Sullivan is the CEO of Ascent Children’s Health Center, where a firestorm erupted when a 5-year-old boy, Christopher Gardner, died from heat exposure after being left inside one of the company’s daycare vans in June on a day when temperatures rose to around 90 degrees. Four workers have been criminally charged in the child’s death, and Sullivan came under fire because he had pushed legislation to reduce daycare regulations.
Sullivan has explained that the legislation he supported reduces the number of required CPR certified staffers at childcare facilities, was necessary for business owners, and would not have prevented Gardner’s death.
The regulation required 50% of employees to be certified, and there was a shortage of about 2,000 certified CPR workers in that field statewide, he said. It was changed to three certified workers per building, and without the change, hundreds of childcare businesses may have had to close.
In the last 10 years lawmakers could find no instance in which a child’s life was lost because there was no one with CPR experience, he said. It can cost up to $75 to train an employee in CPR and the employee turnover rate is extremely high, meaning it’s an extreme expense for many small businesses, he previously said.
Peck lives in Jonesboro with his wife of 15 years, Karen, who is also an Emergency Medicine Physician. They have three young sons.