Debbie Broadway – 15 in 2015

//Community Activist // 19 years in Saline County

Listening to Debbie Broadway talk about her more than two decades of public service, she’ll quickly recall her time working with members of Congress, both in Washington, DC, and in Arkansas.

She’ll laugh remembering the story of meeting, dating and marrying her husband, Shane Broadway, and their move from DC back to Central Arkansas. “We loaded me up in Washington, moved back home, and the very next day, (Shane) filed to run for office.”

Shane Broadway was elected to the Arkansas House of Representatives in 1996, and since that time, he and Debbie have worked together for the state and for Saline County.

“It has its good and bad,” she said. “I’ve been proud being married to an elected official and still being married to Shane in the public eye.”

Shane moved on from elected office in 2011 to direct the Arkansas Department of Higher Education. He was recently appointed Vice President of Governmental Relations for Arkansas State University.

That new position will bring a welcome change for Debbie. “The door opening with my husband coming home more frequently is what I’m most looking forward to.”

But don’t be misled. Debbie is as busy as she’s ever been.

“I was recently voted onto the board for the Bryant Boys and Girls Club. It’s a three-year term,” she said. “I’ve been involved with the Bryant Historical Society for several years and was recently elected as their vice president. I’m also active in the Saline County 4-H Foundation.”

Debbie remains actively involved with the Multiple Sclerosis Society, too. It’s a commitment to an organization she’s held dearly since her diagnosis more than 20 years ago.

In addition to her battle with MS, Debbie has also been diagnosed with Lupus. “I wear this as a badge of reality because everybody has ‘something,’ and I work within the constraints of what my body, my husband and my doctors let me do.”

Setting personal challenges aside, Debbie remains committed to the youth of Saline County, and her reasons could prove inspirational to all who meet her.

“I believe we’re all charged with something. For me, it’s about giving back,” she added. “Having the ability to affect the children through these organizations, that’s the main reason I see a calling to these places.”

There was one simple question that gave her pause: What is your best memory connected to public service?

“The best thing I ever did in public service was meeting Shane Broadway. I love him and he loves me, and I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else along this journey,” she said. “We do the public service, the committees, the decisions as a team. It makes the nicks and bruises along the way more worthwhile.”