EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the second and final installment of candidate profiles in Texarkana, Ark., Board of Directors races. Early voting begins Oct. 22, and Primary Election Day is Nov. 6. The Gazette requested that candidates not exceed a character limit on each question to provide fairness and equality in coverage and article length. Aside from minor changes and editing, the candidate responses are being printed as submitted.
In this installment, the Ward 3 race is highlighted among incumbent Tim Johnson, LaTanya Blair and Steven Hollibush. Hollibush did not return a completed questionnaire to the Gazette. Board of Directors races are nonpartisan, meaning canddiates do not declare a political party.
Texarkana, Ark., Board
of Directors, Ward 3
Spouse, children and/or other family:
Years a Texarkana, Ark., resident:
Highlight your top three degrees and/or educational achievements:
a) Certificate in Office Careers from Texarkana College in 2007; b) Associates of Arts in Accounting from University of Phoenix in 2009; c) Bachelor of Science in Business Administration concentration in Retail Management from University of Phoenix in 2012
List your current job/employer and your top three occupational achievements:
Currently, I am a disabled college student enrolled at the University of Phoenix. I am obtaining my master's in business administration with a concentration in Project Management. In my spare time, I volunteer for various nonprofits.
Highlight the top three examples of your civic or community service:
I participating in the smoke alarm campaign with the American Red Cross
Highlight the top three examples of your political experience:
a) I have experience as a poll worker during elections; b) I worked on the Hilary Clinton Election; c) I have worked for the Democratic Committee during election season
Why are you running for office?
Nearly 30 years, I have been working and living in the Texarkana, Ark., area. From my perspective, I believe now is a GREAT time for a change in leadership. We are in need of pioneering leadership with a courageous, diverse, and collaborative mind to help lead all of our citizens through this new millennium.
What are your top three goals if elected?
To help make us a robust city again by creating jobs for the Texarkana, Ark., area and bringing activities for our citizens to enjoy. Help rebuild our road infrastructure. Work with other members of our City Council Board and other committees to revamp our Tourist attraction.
What are the three most important issues facing the city?
1. Jobs/Education 2. Road infrastructure 3. Crime
How do you propose addressing those issues?
I anticipate on addressing our most important issues facing the Texarkana, Ark., area by 1) developing a dialogue with our citizens to develop an agenda; then, 2) create relationships and initiatives with the entities that can help push our agenda to get goals completed.
What are the most important issues specific to your ward?
1. Road infrastructure 2. Revenues/Entertainment/Social engagement 3. Crime
How do you propose addressing those issues?
I purpose on addressing these issues through community involvement, partnering with local, state, and national government, and other organizations that can further address issues and gain results to help solve our issues.
What should the Board of Directors do to stimulate economic development and bring new jobs to Texarkana?
Our economic development can only be as strong as its Board of Directors. Therefore, as board members must consolidate our expertise, form a coalition, and develop a more strategic plan that includes forming entities needed to help us stimulate our economic development.
What should be done to increase local voter turnout and encourage more candidates to run in city elections?
Local voter turnout can only be increased with a combination of grassroots efforts and the involvement of the county clerk team. However, to encourage more candidates to run in city elections is to go into our schools and speak with our children, and relate their education to the relevancy of candidate's position.
If elected, would you revisit the decision to rename Hobo Jungle Park? What, if anything, would you propose regarding the park?
There are more pressing issues than the renaming of the Hobo Jungle. However, if the citizens are pressed about the renaming of Hobo Jungle, I will take the time to properly address the issue. The money and effort spent on renaming the park should be used for renovation and entertainment.
What, if any, city programs or personnel would you add or eliminate, and why?
I have met some of the most diverse and interesting people who have backgrounds from all over the world who make up our community such as Cuba, Mexico, Russia, Africa, the Middle East, UK, Germany, and other beautiful countries. Therefore, I purpose we should add an office of Cultural Affairs.
How satisfied are you with the transparency of city government? What, if anything, should the Board of Directors do to improve transparency?
I believe our city government needs to become more visible. One way to improve transparency is to become more diverse in the engagement of people. The time has come for a new form of way of doing things and I believe our old system is antiquated and does not help connect the city government with the heart of the community.
What role should city government play in financing and promoting downtown festivals such as RailFest and Mardi Gras?
As long as the festivals' goals are aligned with the goals and visions of the city government, I see no problem in promoting any downtown festivals. As long as the festivals are helping to thrust our economy and helping to build a brand for our city, I see no problem with financing the festivals.
If elected, what would you do to promote civility among board members and throughout city government?
I would promote civility by respecting diversity and develop positive relationships. Also, I would adhere to the rules and regulations that has been established by our forefathers. I know conflict may arise and I am certain there are ways to form resolutions from our city's code of ethics book.