Fort Smith mayor remains hospitalized
Fort Smith Mayor Ray Baker “has recovered completely” from the medical emergency that put him in the hospital on Aug. 18, but remains in the hospital with a blood clot in his leg.
Baker, 71, entered St. Edward Mercy Medical on Aug. 18 with severe dehydration. In an Aug. 27 statement from his office, the dehydration resulted in kidney problems that weren’t severe but did require time to correct.
On Thursday (Sept. 9), the following statement was issued from the mayor’s office: “Mayor Baker is doing well and has recovered completely. He would have been released from the hospital this week, except a blood clot developed in his leg from being immobile for a long period of time. When the clot has been dissolved, he will be released from the hospital. The Mayor is looking forward to returning to his duties as mayor. When released, an announcement will be made.”
Baker, now in his fifth four-year term, announced Sept. 24 he would seek a sixth term as mayor. Fort Smith businessman and former Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority Director Sandy Sanders is also running for the mayoral post.
In Fort Smith’s manager-council form of government, the mayoral position is primarily ceremonial, with official duties limited to signing documents and presiding over board meetings and board study sessions. City Director and Vice Mayor Gary Campbell is filling in with ceremonial and meeting duties.
The recent hospitalization is Baker’s second in 9 months. He entered the hospital Nov. 15 after becoming weak from an the infection. Baker was in the hospital several days to recuperate and convalesce after the illness.
Baker successfully underwent surgery and chemo for colon cancer in late 2007.