JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Representatives with the Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families held a meeting Thursday at the E. Boone Watson Community Center in Jonesboro.
Paul Kelly with said they want to inform the public.
"This is an attempt for advocates to get out prior to the legislative session," Kelly said. "This is to let people know what is likely to occur during the legislative session, to point out the issues we think are really important for children and families in the state. Particularly low income children and families."
Kelly said audience members voiced their concerns and asked questions.
"We also want to encourage them to ask questions," Kelly said. "We've talked about the budget. We've talked about education. We've talked about taxes and the budget. We've talked about child welfare juvenile justice. So, all of these issues were discussed and people were able to ask questions and get a sense of what was going to unfold that might be affecting them and their families here. And to take an active role in it. Because it's a very important part of what we do is to inform people and encourage them to become engaged in the legislative process."
Kelly said they want people to sit up and pay attention.
"This is to trigger their interest," Kelly said. "Point them in the right direction and to serve as a resource to them in the legislative session. To help them and guide them and let them know when it's time to call. Because all of this talk and all of these policies and all of what we want really won't happen unless people throughout the state of Arkansas in all the communities get engaged in the process."
Kelly said what happens in the legislative session will end up effecting everyone.
"It does affect you," Kelly said. "It does have a direct impact on either you or a member of your family. The government has a critical role and it's critical for all the citizens in this community to be involved and make that government more efficient and more effective."
Kelly said if everyone speaks out, their voice will be heard and positive change can happen.
"If a legislator gets a letter," Kelly said. "If they get a phone call or a comment from a person in their district, then they will pay attention. We've got to understand the power that people have just by becoming involved. Vote and then do something else. Vote plus one. After you vote, do something else to make sure that that vote not only counts, but something positive happens as a result of that."
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