I am the oldest daughter of a farmer and nurse. I grew up on a cattle and poultry farm in West Washington County with my three sisters and brother. Like many of your families, we participated in 4H, showing cattle, riding the school bus, and sewing our clothes. In the footsteps of my Mom, I too went on to become a nurse and a mother. To this day, I still live on the hillside overlooking the farm of my childhood.
I have a proven community advocacy record, starting my career in rural District 80 making home health visits. As a single mother and young nurse, I was very concerned when I soon found that the agency I was working for had some ethical issues. Instead of keeping my head down and staying quiet, I did the hard work. Against the odds, I founded a competing home health agency, Community Home Health, and with my partners, we grew it to be the largest home health agency in NWA.
Later in my career, after the death of my daughter Heather, when the Springdale Hospital announced it was going to shut down it's hospice services, I knew I had to do something. I helped start the State Home Health Association, working with the Health Department and various stakeholders to write licensure laws and rules to enable the expansion of hospice services. That's when we opened Circle of Life Hospice, the area's first hospice house. Regardless of politics or religion, we provided needed care in people's homes.
It wasn't easy. We faced regulatory hurdles. Over and over, we found laws written that made sense for hospitals, but not hospice. But we never gave up. We found ways to make common sense solutions. Because when it's the right thing to do for people, you just find a way.
I retired from Circle of Life to care for my own mom, so she could stay at home. In my retirement, and as a caretaker, I started a small business with my daughter, Leah, working with other women who were also caretakers, and found traditional jobs inflexible. Olive Loom has been a great success. We have a booth at the Fayetteville Farmer's Market on Saturday - come by and say hi!
Myself, my husband and all five of our children have benefited from public education, good health care, and economic opportunities. Our children have all gone on to pursue careers in healthcare, community advocacy, science and political activism.
I want these same opportunities to be available to ALL children and families in Arkansas.
Please help us and consider donating and volunteering.
I can't knock on 29,000 doors alone, but together – we can!
Contribution checks may be sent to
Lou Reed Sharp for State Representative
PO Box 675
Tontitown, AR 72770
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