Fort Smith municipal races set

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 92 views 

The City of Fort Smith Board of Directors filing period is over, and the picture is a little clearer, with one incumbent automatically returning, one fighting for his job, and two new faces guaranteed to replace City Directors Don Hutchings and Steve Tyler.

On Tuesday (June 5), City Director Andre Good retained his Ward 2 position on the board after his filing was confirmed with no opposition for the Nov. 6 General Election.

In April, Good discussed his plans for a second term with The City Wire: “I need to focus more on the north side. There are a lot of opportunities here, like developing the river front … and working with the folks on the softball fields and the soccer fields.”

As a result of his confirmation, Good will sit out November, while City Director George Catsavis will fight to keep his Ward 4 position from challenger John Cooley.

In addition to the Ward 4 race, the November ballots will also include races for Wards 1 and 3, which were vacated by Tyler and Hutchings, respectively. While Ward 1’s top two candidates will be decided with an Aug. 14 primary, Ward 3 is set with a face-off between candidates Mike Lorenz and Matthew Garner.

Lorenz spoke to The City Wire in April about his intentions for the Ward 3 position: “My business and public service experience, along with a fiscal conservative philosophy and my family's history in our community have taught me what I need to be a successful director and to meet the challenges we face as a city,” Lorenz said in his statement. “If you choose me for your director, I intend to not only address the current and future issues that our city faces, but to promote teamwork and challenge the other board members and citizens of Fort Smith to share bringing back a sense of civility and trust to our city government.”

On Tuesday, The City Wire caught up to Garner, his opponent.

“Some of the key issues I look forward to addressing involve the I-49 project, finding a new tenant for the old Whirlpool building that will be vacated by the end of this month, and bringing citizens and government together, instead of pushing them apart.”

Garner added: “I felt compelled to run because Fort Smith is my hometown….I feel that currently we have a city that is withering away. We need to bring back young professionals, attract jobs of every kind, and make Fort Smith a place that people are wanting to move to. As an accountant I have a deep understanding of the budgeting process as well as the ‘numbers’ that make up the city budget. I want to share this knowledge and help the city not only save money, but improve service.”

Candidates Ken Pevehouse, Liz Berry Armstrong, and Keith Lau, will fight for Ward 1. Should one receive 51% or more of the vote during the primary, the candidate will receive automatic confirmation to the board. If the winning candidate receives less than 51%, he or she will face the candidate, who received the next highest number of votes, at the general election.

On Friday (June 8) at 9 a.m., all participating candidates in both the August Primary and November General Elections will meet at the Fort Smith City Clerk’s Office to draw for ballot positioning. City Clerk Sherri Gard and Jerry Huff from the Sebastian County Election Commission will oversee the drawing.