Mayoral candidates answer some questions
Again, before Monticello’s special mayoral election May 9, the Advance-Monticellonian is helping voters know more about the candidates.
Democrat David Anderson, who is currently serving as Interim Mayor until the special election, and Independents Ronny Carr and Joe Rogers are vying to serve the remainder of former Mayor Zack Tucker’s term. Tucker resigned in January after being charged with abuse of offi ce and tampering with public records. The person elected in May will serve until December 2018.
The same questions were asked of all three candidates and their answers will be run in alphabetical order by the last name of the candidate. Here are Carr’s responses (Anderson’s responses were in the April 12 edition and Rogers’ will be in next Wednesday’s edition):
AM: How long have you lived in Monticello?
RC: I first came to Monticello to attend the University of Arkansas at Monticello in the fall of 1972. I finally settled here in 1976 and bought a home in 1979. My family and I lived in Texas and Louisiana while I managed cattle ranches from January 1981 until we moved back here permanently in 1987.
AM: Please tell us about your upbringing (e.g. where you went to high school, college, where are/were you employed and for how long, etc.).
RC: I was born and raised in Dumas. I graduated from high school in 1972. I attended UAM from 1972 untll around 1977, taking class around a busy work schedule of farming, raising cattle and helping my family run our fl ying service. In 1976, my wife and I bought a small feed store business in Monticello and ran it until December 1980. After we sold the store, we moved to Texas to work on a farm and ranching operation. Three years later, I took a managing job at McKeller Ranch in Mt. Pleasant, Texas that was the largest breeder of the Red Brahamn cattle in the world at the time. While there I had the opportunity to meet and associate with people from all over the world that came to buy our cattle. From there we moved to just south of Rayville, La. to manage an Embryo Transfer Center for a local family and eventually came back to Monticello in 1987. I started back to UAM in June 1987 and completed my degree in Ag-Business in December 1988. I started to work with the Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service in January 1989 and worked in Chicot County for a little over six years, then went to work with Farm Credit Services/ Delta PCA and spent 21 years with them and Agheritage FCS until I retired in June of 2016.
AM: Please tell us about your family of origin and your present family.
RC: My family settled in Lincoln County in the 1870s and were farmers. My grandfather settled in the Dumas and Watson area and farmed also. My mother and father, Irma and Gene Carr, farmed and then built “Big Ben Truck Stop” between McGehee and Dermott with his brother and sister-in-law for several years until they retired to the Plantersville community in Drew County. My wife’s family has been residents of Drew County since the mid 1800s; her parents owned Ross’ Service station beside the Drew County courthouse for 57 years until they retired and sold the property to the city of Monticello. My wife Wrenetta and I have three daughters and their families that all live here in the city of Monticello or the county. We have six grandchildren.
AM: Please tell us something not many people know about you.
RC: I enjoy classical music and have a great love of reading for entertainment and learning.
AM: Why did you decide to run in this special election?
RC: First, I need to say that I have never had a desire to run for public office of any kind but after observing for the past 40 years, and not just the past couple of years, I have felt compelled to fi nally stand up and say enough. We need leadership skills in the Mayor’s offi ce that have been lacking, I feel like this is evidenced by the current state of affairs of the city.
AM: The reason for this special election is well-known. How will you go about repairing Monticello’s image?
RC: I invite the citizens of Monticello to take a long hard look at our city and how its been operated and try to convince the town people that we can step up and take responsibility for this town we call home. Monticello is full of very intelligent and motivated people that need to step up and help the elected officials determine the right path for our city. We all need to take part in helping our city be the example of growth and progressiveness for Southeast Arkansas. We need to shore up our part of the state.
AM: What, if any, is your prior political experience?
RC: None, outside of campaigning for Barry Goldwater while in the fifth grade.
AM: What do you think is Monticello biggest asset?
RC: I believe that our biggest asset we have is our people. Regardless of where they work or serve, we will not succeed without successful people in the forefront and in the ranks pushing to get the necessary tasks completed.
AM: What will be your top priority if elected?
RC: To listen to the needs and wishes of the people of Monticello. I understand that there are infrastructure issues to deal with, but those things are ongoing as long as the city exists. There are only a few common themes I have heard over and over as I talk to the residents of Monticello. Infrastructure has only been a minor part of the concerns.
AM: Please outline the remainder of your platform (e.g., infrastructure, city growth, building of new amenities, etc.).
RC: I would like to see a completion of new water lines around the city, moving them from under the streets to the right of ways and easements already in place, the reason is obvious, streets are being dug up to patch water lines constantly. The sewer ponds are woefully inadequate for any type of big growth or expansion in Monticello and the sewer projects I’ve listened to are not going to be enough for rapid growth. We need to be thinking ahead for our future and not just putting a patch on an already overloaded system.
AM: Will you have an open door concerning the city’s finances?
RC: In my opinion, it has to be an open policy with checks and balances.
AM: How will you promote Monticello and its rapid expansion?
RC: You can only promote something you believe in, and I believe we have a city that can be a bright star in our state. Rapid expansion without careful consideration is not the answer we need to attract the businesses that our area can support and meet their needs as well as those businesses becoming a solid part of our community.
AM: How will you work with organizations like the Miracle League of Southeast Arkansas or the Southeast Arkansas Intermodal Authority?
RC: I am and have been a supporter of the Miracle League through business donations to them. They are doing a great work. The Intermodal is something that I’m unsure about its effectiveness at this point. I look forward to researching more about it and getting to know more about this project.
AM: What will be your working relationship with the members of the Monticello City Council and the government of Drew County?
RC: If the Mayor can’t work with the City Council then there is going to be a serious lack of direction and failure to accomplish necessary tasks. In my experience, I have been able to work with just about anybody or group of people if we can share some common goals. The City Council and Mayor should have a relationship like a marriage, you may not always agree but you don’t stop talking until you can reach an understanding of what’s important and what are the steps needed to affect the most good from your discussion. On the county government, we also should have basic common goals. Whatever Monticello does in the city or the county does in the county affects all the citizens weather in the city or county. We all need to work together for the common good.
AM: What will be your working relationship with the members of the Monticello Economic Development Commission and the Monticello-Drew County Chamber of Commerce?
RC: I will work with anyone that shares the common goal of keeping the interest of promoting Monticello and Drew County in the forefront of their efforts.
AM: Finally, and we understand this might have been addressed previously, what best qualifies you to be voted the Mayor of Monticello?
RC: My single and simple agenda is this, I want to lead Monticello into an era of growth and prosperity for my children and grandchildren and all that follow in our city that we can be proud of where all its citizens participate in making it a great city.