Attorney Jody Shackelford told Talk Business & Politics Thursday (Feb. 17) he will seek to unseat First District U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Jonesboro, in the Republican primary. Shackelford, 36, of Cherokee Village will also vie with State Rep. Brandt Smith, R-Jonesboro, who is also seeking the GOP nod for the nomination.
Democratic Rep. Monte Hodges, D-Blytheville, is also seeking the Congressional seat.
Shackelford, who previously owned a newspaper in Sharp County and has been involved in numerous business ventures through the years, said his party cannot wait until 2024 to unseat President Joe Biden. The country is facing serious problems now, and the First District of Arkansas needs someone who is going to take a proactive approach when it comes to enacting a legislative agenda, he said.
“I believe it’s time to shake up the establishment and bring a fresh and bold approach to representing the district,” Shackelford said.
His focus, if elected, will be the protection and defense of the U.S. Constitution, something he deals with regularly in the practice of law, he said. He also has plans for a strong economic platform aimed at putting more money “in the people’s pockets.”
“The way to do it is to spend less and make more. We need to pass a bill that directs the U.S. Commerce Department to launch a national campaign to boost value production in all forms, from encouraging at-home small business to boosting U.S. manufacturing. Incentives should include tax deductions, commerce credits, and enhanced access to Small Business Administration guarantees,” he said.
In addition to his work as an attorney and an entrepreneur, he is a U.S. military veteran. Shackelford served state-side in the Arkansas Army National Guard, Infantry Division, from 2003-2005, during Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom. During his service, he received the Army National Defense Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal. He was an Army JAG officer candidate in 2021; however, a medical waiver stopped his candidacy due to a prior spinal fusion.
He and his grandfather invented the Rocket Shot Target, a device that shoots aluminum cans in the air for target practice. The concept led them to the third round in the selection process for the popular television show Shark Tank. It led to a licensing contact with Daisy Outdoors, which distributed the product to over 3,000 Bass Pro Shops and Walmart stores.
Protecting the Second Amendment and securing the Southern border will also be priorities if elected, he said. American business and commerce is tied to immigration in many ways, Shackelford said.
“America is special. I believe what Ronald Reagan said, that you can go to France, but you will never be a Frenchman. You can go to Germany, but you will never become a real German. In America, anyone can apply for citizenship and earn their place as a real American. It’s only fair to stop line-jumpers who spit in the face of those who do it the right way. Make the right way smooth and efficient and not a bureaucratic mess,” he said.
Shackelford said he will be traveling across the district continuing to meet voters to discuss issues. His wife of 10 years, Chrystal Shackelford, is a nurse practitioner in Highland.
“Growing up here on the Spring River, I have dug ditches in the hard ground in the winter, and I have roofed houses in the July sun in the summer. I’m also honored to have taken dirty crooks to trial for these families and won them real justice. I stand for the flag and I don’t kneel when they play the Star Spangled Banner. I’m proud to be an American, and I’m running for Congress to defend our freedom, cut waste, and make bold moves to solve the biggest problems our families face day-to-day,” he said.