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Black nuclear engineer enters Arkansas governor race

Chris Jones has entered the race to be elected Arkanasas' next governor. (305531)
Chris Jones has entered the race to be elected Arkanasas’ next governor. Credit: Chris Jones

The race to replace Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who cannot run again because of term limits, is gaining another candidate — a Black nuclear engineer who says he’s running as a Democrat to offer voters another alternative to the Trump brand of politics.

Chris Jones, the former head of the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub, a nonprofit organization based in North Little Rock, announced his candidacy Tuesday. A political novice — he once served as student body president at Morehouse College, a historically Black university in Atlanta — Jones, 44, said he was turned off by the political divisions of the past few years.

“Our campaign is about lifting people up and building a fair Arkansas so there are opportunities for all of us,” he said, adding that “the reality of this moment in our nation’s history is that if we want our politics to be different, we have to be different.”

His first campaign video is entitled “About Time.”

Jones, a former assistant dean for graduate education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he worked to double minority enrollment, said if elected, he would focus on rebuilding Arkansas’ infrastructure, investing in health care and education, and extending access to broadband in rural areas.