On February 14, 2022, Arkansas attorney, Jody Lee Shackelford, 36, of Cherokee Village announced his run for Arkansas’ 1st District Congressional seat. A life-long Republican, Shackelford will run against incumbent Rick Crawford, 56, and another challenger, State Representative Brant Smith, 62, both of Jonesboro. While Crawford has held office since 2011, and Smith since 2015, Shackelford offers a fresh face to politics in the State.
This is Shackelford’s first campaign, but that didn’t hurt more than half of the 2019 freshman congressional class who were elected into Congress without prior political experience, according to the Washington Post. Shackelford said he aims to challenge the establishment and put his efforts to work for his district in Washington with an eye on economic recovery above all. His campaign is focused on raising the bar on effective service for the nation and Arkansas while bringing the office to its maximum potential.
“It’s hard to ignore how our families are endangered by bad policies and hard times under the current president. My granddad always taught me, “talk is cheap.” Serving in a position where a real difference can be made has been on my heart for a long time.” Shackelford said. “It’s time to step up, or shut up, and I have something to say about boosting the economy, solving the border crisis, balancing the budget and actually stopping the runaway waste of big government.”
For Shackelford, the focus is the protection and defense of the U.S. Constitution, something he deals with regularly in the practice of law. He also has plans for a strong economic platform aimed at putting more money in the people’s pockets and less into the pockets of big government.
“The government blows our money and borrows more to blow. The current national debt is $23.3 trillion. That number can’t even fit in the mind – but trust me it’s real. As real as any other national threat. This is a top pressing issue that no one is solving. The bow will break if we do not turn this ‘should’ into a ‘must.’
At his core, Shackelford is passionate about American innovation and freedom and has a solid background as both an entrepreneur and 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.
A solid family man, he also took his grandfather’s dream invention, The Rocket Shot Target – a device that propels tin-cans into the air for target practice – and made it a reality. As a grandfather/grandson team they even landed in the third round of selection for ABC’s Shark Tank television show. Shackelford used his business sense and experience to make connections at product expos that ultimately resulted in a licensing deal with Daisy Outdoors, seeing distribution in over 3,000 Walmart stores and Bass Pro Shops.
Shackelford believes entrepreneurship is the key to the American dream. As a young man he founded a popular local newspaper, the Spring River Chronicle and later sold it to fund his dreams of a college education. Today, Shackelford said he encourages vocational training along with traditional college as a path to better jobs, and he is dedicated to reviving apprenticeship programs to expand the skill sets.
“We must not let liberals control the frame with regard to the republican position on immigration. We are not anti-immigration. We are anti-ILLEGAL-immigration.”
Shackelford has a zero-tolerance stance against Russian aggression towards free-market democracy in America and abroad. He is also a fierce protector of free-market capitalism with a focus on growth for Arkansas and the nation.
He is also passionate about the freedom to own guns under the 2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. His campaign focuses on the complete protection of the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms. As the Rocket Shot’s product developer, a life-long sports shooter, and a proud member of the National Rifle Association, the Second Amendment is close to the heart.
“To get America back on the right track, we must first make it safe again,” he said. Shackelford believes in the right to open carry because the right is granted by the U.S. Constitution. But protecting America isn’t only about the borders and the Second Amendment. He asserts that we must be allowed to make our own choices as free Americans. He firmly opposes mask mandates. His strategy is to emphasize quality public health balanced with personal freedom. “Masks are encouraged but should never be mandated,” he said.
Shackelford’s family supports his run for office. He is married to Crystal Shackelford, a Family Nurse Practitioner at St. Bernards First Care in Highland. They have a wonderful dog, Chloe, a loving Rocky Mountain Cur, and are both active in their community at United Methodist Church. Outside of his campaign, Shackelford has a general law practice in Highland where he has lived with his wife for 10-years.
Shackelford graduated from Williford High School and went on to earn an associate degree from Ozarka College in Melbourne, and a public relations degree from Arkansas Tech University in Russellville, before earning his Doctorate of Jurisprudence from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law. In addition to his education in the classroom, Shackelford has experience in the publishing industry, manufacturing, importing and exporting. Shackelford said he will be traveling across the district, continuing to meet voters to discuss the issues. “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. I’m asking for your trust, and I’m asking for your vote this May 24, 2022,” Shackelford said.
For more information on candidate Shackelford visit his website at https://ElectJody.com .His campaign office can be reached at his Highland location at 870-955-5035.