Get to Know Your Elected City Officials

Get to Know Your Elected City Officials

The results are in for Arkansas’ newly elected officials. As a way to prepare for the coming years with the new officials, here’s a quick bio about each of the candidates elected and their stated plans for what they hope to do with their new position. For this article, the focus will be on the newly elected and re-elected officials for the Fayetteville City Council.

As for Ward 1 of Fayettetville, Alderwoman Adella Gray and Paul Phaneuf have entered into a runoff election that will take place Nov. 25 at the northeast conference room on the fifth floor of the Washington County Courthouse. The election will start at 9:00 a.m and the absentee and early ballots will be tabulated beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the quorum court room at the courthouse. The results will be reported at 7:30 p.m.

Fayetteville City Council


Courtesy Photo Mark Kinion

Mark Kinion – Ward 2, Position 1

Vice Mayor Mark Kinion, who has lived in Fayetteville for more than 25 years, won reelection for four more years in his position as a Ward 2 alderman. He secured 49 percent of the vote in the Nov. 2 election. Ward 2 resides over the downtown and Dickson Street areas, and covers west from Porter Road to east of College Avenue, and north from the Washington Fairgrounds to the southern point of the University of Arkansas campus on Martin Luther King Boulevard.

All aspects of Fayetteville are of equal importance to Kinion when it comes to his goals for the city and the community, he said.

“I’m not a single issue candidate,” Kinion said. “I’m about looking at the whole picture and seeing how it all works together so we can have the community as a whole work together. It’s a great place to live, work and play. That’s how we have to balance it.”

Kinion is the Chairman of the Water, Sewer and Solid Waste Committee, a member of the Nominating Committee and serves as the City Council representative on the Town and Gown Committee. He works as a Home Mortgage Officer at the Bank of Arkansas.

Among his various accomplishments on the City Council, Kinion has voted for regulations that make it easier for mobile vendors to operate, voting in favor of Civil Rights Ordinance 119 prohibiting business owners and landlords from unjustly firing or evicting a person because of their LGBT identity, and a height and setback ordinance limiting the size and shape of apartments and commercial buildings that can be built next to single-family homes.

“Ward 2 has historical neighborhoods that define the heritage of Fayetteville, and we have to protect that heritage because that’s what sets us apart from the other cities,” he said.

Some goals and projects Kinion plans to see through include improving storm water runoff management, revitalizing College Avenue, restoring the bridges on Lafayette and Maple Streets to new safety guidelines, and connecting North Street and the Evelyn Hills Center area to downtown with accessible pedestrian pathways.

Justin Tennant – Ward 3, Position 1

Courtesy Photo Justin Tennant

Courtesy Photo Justin Tennant

Unopposed in the Nov. 2 election for his Ward 3 position on the Fayetteville City Council, Justin Tennant will be serving the city for four more years. Ward 3 resides over the Joyce Boulevard district as well as the southwest portions of the Mission and Crossover area with Old Wire Road and Township Street as the westernmost borders.

Tennant, who was born in Fayetteville, has pledged to keep the city open minded and encouraging to businesses new and old as well as keep the city “green and growing.”

“We must continue Fayetteville’s growth with the right kind of companies, providing the right kind of jobs, with the proper balance between local, regional, and national businesses,” Tennant said in a press release. “But we must also support the businesses that are already here, that have made Fayetteville their home, and provide them the best, most supportive city possible. I will continue to do all I can to help Fayetteville’s businesses thrive.”

Tennant is chairman of the council’s Nominating Committee, a member of the Transportation Committee and serves as a council representative on the Advertising and Promotion Commission. He works as the director of global accounts for Printronix and has served on the City Council since 2011.

Tennant was also key in bringing Whole Foods Market to Fayetteville by requesting a $150,000 traffic signal at College Avenue and Masonic Drive, where the grocery store is being built. In the past, he has voted for the city to buy land on Mount Kessler, a streamside protection ordinance, and voted against civil rights ordinance 119.

John La Tour – Ward 4, Position 1

Courtesy Photo John La Tour

Courtesy Photo John La Tour

With 43 percent of the vote against five other candidates vying for the open Ward 4 position, newcomer John La Tour joins the Fayetteville City Council. Ward 4 resides over the western area of Fayetteville covering Wedington Drive to sections of the University of Arkansas campus and north of Mount Comfort Road.

La Tour plans to make Fayetteville a more business-friendly town with his position. He wants to implement a hands-off, free market approach for businesses to thrive.

“Businesses in my mind serve people much better than government services,” La Tour said. “Let me illustrate this. The next time you’re checking out at Marvin’s IGA, Harps or Walmart, ask the cashier where they parked. They’ll say way off to the side. But if you go to the County Courthouse, City Hall or any public institution, be sure to notice the spots up front reserved for official use only.”

La Tour has worked as a certified public accountant for 35 years in Fayetteville, and four years as a constitutional lawyer.

La Tour also campaigned for a limited government. When the proposed smoking ban for Fayetteville restaurants was going on locally, he was against it because he said it would “diminish choice in the marketplace.” If people want to smoke, the legislature should allow people to think for themselves, he said.

“In my mind, a government should not pass a law requiring you to brush your teeth three times a day, even if it is a very good policy,” he said. “I want to leave people free to choose for themselves even if they choose badly. As government grows, liberty shrinks up and retreats. That’s why we have to limit government.”

La Tour has been public about his opposition to Civil Rights Ordinance 119, but said he is pleased to see it’s up to a public vote. He said the ordinance as it stands is vague on some points about perceived discrimination and was wary of the civil rights administrator’s abilities.

“When push comes to shove I’ll take free over funky any old day,” La Tour said. “Leave me free.”

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