Do you have five minutes to spare?

Lots of folks don’t!

What if someone told you that in the five minutes you could have spent pressing a voting machine lever; it would have been the most important thing you did the entire year.

Too late, you realize! I can’t call those five minutes back.

Hundreds of thousands of American men and women have given their lives at far too early an age…and they did so believing the right to vote in a democracy was the epitome of freedom for you and all your family to come.

So, what about the five minutes coming next Tuesday? Are you going to be willing to spend about 300 seconds of your time and go to your polling place and place your choices on the machine?

The Monticello Mayor’s race seems a good place to start.

Current Mayor Joe Rogers. He has promised a good bit and has his delivery on them been good? Not so much!

I’m sure voters remember the Conley Street flood some years back and remember that the bridge on that street was completely washed out. No traffic passed over it for a number of years. Mayor Rogers at the time promised the community it would be fixed without delay. Three years passed and who fixed the bridge? It was Mayor Allen Maxwell, who defeated Rogers badly at the polls. Who kept the promise?

Now, Mayor Rogers is a good fellow! But you understand that he isn’t the RIGHT person to have in the Mayor’s Office. I didn’t vote for him, obviously. North Main residents gave him fits about putting the new fire station in the middle of a street with a good number of residences on the National Register. He remarked that that the people on North Main didn’t care for him (voting wrong, I suppose), he said “I don’t care what happens to them” (their neighborhood, I presume). That attitude isn’t doing the job of representing all the people of this city regardless of their vote. A good mayor’s job is without a chip on the shoulder. Monticello apparently didn’t approve of Rogers’ job either, when Allen Maxwell won 1106 to Rogers; 485 (May 19, 2010). Unfortunately Mayor Allen Maxwell died unexpectedly in March.

Mayor Rogers’ first term wasn’t exactly a barn-burner either. His qualifications just weren’t there for the job. They still elude his candidacy. His strong point seems to be the least important for job and economic growth in our society. Baseball! Former Mayor Harold West started the Monticello Sports Complex of soccer, baseball and softball fields in case Rogers claims credit for that project.

Then, in that first term, he told council members there wouldn’t be a regular council meeting because there wasn’t any business to discuss. It is my assumption he was not prepared for those meetings. How could there have been no business in a city the size of Monticello?

Do you remember when Mr. Rogers decided he would just take it on himself to renovate the downtown square? Mayor Rogers had his crew rip up a unique piece of history, a concrete walk, in color, of the history the of the city. Seems as if Mr. Rogers had no interest in preserving a rich past. The kicker in this whole farce was the fact that the square didn’t even BELONG to the city. It still belonged to Drew County. Might still.

So, what about his opponent? Zack Tucker’s qualifications include more importantly the Director of the SEARK Cornerstone Coalition for Economic Development braced with a Master’s Degree in Community and Economic Development. The young man is also a member of the Intermodal Authority Board, the most important Monticello and regional project now underway. Allen Maxwell was big in this effort. He had contacts in Washington and Little Rock that can prove invaluable. Some, maybe many, that may have passed on to Mr. Tucker. Locally he is a member of the Monticello Festival Association Board, Drew County Museum Commission, Miracle League of SEARK Board, Drew County United Way Board and just as importantly an important assistant to the deceased Mayor Allen Maxwell, absorbing first hand Allen’s extensive knowledge. Arguably more important than all this is, he is WELL respected throughout the economic development and business community. Mr. Tucker was one of only two people to receive the designation as one of the most influential Arkansans under the age of 30 by the Arkansas Business Journal in Southeast Arkansas.

Someone asked the question: “You don’t want a 26-year old running our city do you?”

Well, you can bet your last dollar I do! Zack Tucker has the intelligence, the boundless energy, the education, the contacts, the respect of his peers in the business of city government, and no private agenda and vendetta.

I’m going to vote for Mr. Tucker…and I wish I had a thousand votes.

I’m also living in the hope that our legally voting citizens will see this most important Mayor’s race in our 50+ years in Monticello politics in the same light as we do and put this outstanding your man in the Mayor’s chair!

<em>William Frank Jackson</em>

<em>Mary Emily Jackson</em>

<em>* Frank and Mary Emily Jackson were the publishers of the Advance-Monticellonian from 1964-1996</em>

The Advance-Monticellonian

Mailing Address:
PO Box 486
Monticello, AR 71657

Street Address:
314 Main Street
Monticello, AR 71655

Phone: 870-367-5325
Fax: 870-367-6612

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