With the election of city and regional offices about six weeks away, North Little Rock Mayor Patrick Hays provided candidates vying for offices to speak when the city council convened in its last regularly scheduled meeting of Sept. 10.
"You can have three minutes," Hays spoke. Hays is not seeking re-election mayor after six terms and 24 years in the office
Jane Ginn is running for the position of Ward 4 alderwoman.
Ginn said she is running for the position because she wants to make a difference in public service.
"I saw an issue that bothered me so I decided to retire early and run for alderman to see if I can help," Ginn said.
Ginn said her son manages a business in North Little Rock. She said at the podium she has two children and grandchildren.
"My father lived on Cherry Hill and I have lived in North Little Rock as a child and made the decision to move back to North Little Rock," Ginn said. "I am not a professional politician. I believe in setting new priorities such as public safety and updating fire stations and equipment should be the number one priority."
Ginn said North Little Rock is ready for fresh leadership and she has been busy knocking on doors. She also sees street repair as an important priority. Potholes should be fixed according to their severity, she added.
Alderman Bruce Foutch is seeking re-election as a Ward 3 councilman. He left his seat from the front of the room where aldermen and the mayor sat and spoke at the podium. Foutch was the only incumbent which took advantage of Hays’ offer to tell North Little Rock voters why they should return him to office.
"I came into this position where there was less than great conditions for this ward," Foutch said.
Foutch said he has been in office for about 18 months and said the biggest service Ward 3 residents could do to help themselves is to keep a representative who serves them well there for a longer period of time.
"In the past six years, I am the seventh alderman for Ward 3," Foutch said. "It is important to keep aldermen here to keep things going."
Foutch said he thanked the local firefighters union local for endorsing his re-election campaign.
His opponent, Darrell L. Montgomery, also was in attendance at the council meeting. He chose to take advantage of Hays’ invitation to address the public and tell Ward 3 residents why they should select him.
"I have a great deal of respect for my neighbor, Mr. Foutch, but my cause is somewhat different," said Montgomery.
Montgomery has served on the North Little Rock School Board since 2006 and said he is really proud to have served the community in that capacity.
"The things we do are for the children of the city," Montgomery said. "My passion burns hard for the young people in our city. We need crime prevention. We need to work with juvenile services for crime prevention. There is so much we could and should do for our youth. Crime prevention is important for public safety."
Montgomery said the city needs to look for ways to provide youth crime prevention programs.
"It is one thing to lock up youth but something else requires planning to prevent them from engaging in deviant behavior," Montgomery said.
North Little Rock Mayoral Candidate Mark Clinton took the podium and said he supports paying North Little Rock firefighters and police officers comparable compensation as does the City of Little Rock.
"I believe in returning private property rights," Clinton said.
Clinton said he is not a supporter of new sales taxes and described himself as an independent and conservative.
Clinton said commercial development has been accomplished unevenly in North Little Rock and added he would like to see it take place more evenly.
Clinton said he wants to as mayor to encourage people to be more entrepreneurial-minded. He said he wanted to be a mayor of financial integrity to the people and open up his personal finances from the last 15 years for public view and inspection.
"If we are to draw a $100,000 salary you deserve to know how it is spent," Clinton said.
Steve Waldon is a candidate for Justice of the Peace representative for District 15.
"I am a strong believer in public safety, education and after-school activity,"Walden said. "I would rather see us educate rather than incarcerate."
Walden said District 15’s J.P. representative needs to be a person who communicates well with constituents.
"I have been a resident of North Little Rock for 36 years and I would appreciate your vote," Walden said.
While he didn’t speak or appear at the council meeting, North Little Rock Mayoral candidate Joe Smith wrote a letter to the mayor informing him that he began a period of vacation and unpaid leave effective Sept. 10 that will continue until after the mayoral election.
"I believe it is important for me to enter a period of unpaid leave in order to avoid any appearance that public resources are being used for my campaign," Smith wrote. "I appreciate your support in this matter. I know we share a commitment to the democratic process and to the ethical rules which ensure integrity in our elections."
Smith works as the city’s director of commerce and government affairs.