Rep. Fite, Assessor Yandell announce their re-election bids

by The City Wire staff ( 9 views 

Sebastian County Assessor Becky Yandell and Rep. Charlene Fite, R-Van Buren, are the most recent to announce their re-election bid in the 2014 election cycle.

Other area officials to announce a re-election bid include Sebastian County Circuit Clerk Denora Coomer, Sebastian County Sheriff Bill Hollenbeck, and Sebastian County Judge David Hudson.

Also, Rep. Terry Rice, R-Waldron, will challenge Sen. Bruce Holland, R-Greenwood, in the GOP primary for the District 9 Senate seat.

In announcing her re-election bid, Yandell, a Republican who is in her fifth, two-year term, said she and her staff had accomplished much since first entering the assessor's office nearly 10 years ago.

"We put public records online, added online assessing, made interactive GIS maps online, we created a business personal department with field staff to help business owners with their assessments and developed a way to simplify business assessments," she said in a press release. "We reinstated the churches and church properties used for church purposes back to exempt status, prohibited homestead and tax freezes to be removed from homes sold until January of the following year, launched several campaigns to let the public know they are entitled to homestead exemptions and disabled and over 65 tax freezes."

Yandell also highlighted her office's action in reducing the assessed values of properties that sit above the plume of trichloroethylene (TCE) in south Fort Smith. Whirlpool Corporation has admitted to spilling TCE, which the company had used until the 1980s as a degreasing agent. The company is now under a mandatory, supervised cleanup plan as required by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality.

A member of the Assessors Association Board for the past two years, Yandell serves on the Public Relations Best Practices Committee of the State Assessment Coordination Department, the Executive Board of the Area Agency on Aging and has been awarded the Outstanding Member Award by the International Association of Assessing Officers.

"It has been a great honor and privilege to be able to work for the taxpayers, school systems, cities, and other entities in the county," Yandell said. "It has been an honor to listen to what the taxpayers concerns are. I ask that you will support me once again and vote for me for assessor to continue my work."

A member of Christ the King Catholic Church, Yandell is married and has three daughters and nine grandchildren.

Fite has announced she will run for a second term in the Arkansas House of Representatives.

Fite, a retired educator with the Fort Smith School District, was first elected in 2012 and serves on the House Technology Committee and the Children's Committee for Aging, Children, Youth and Military Affairs, where she serves as vice chairperson.

In announcing her run for re-election, the 63-year-old touted 11 bills for which she was a sponsor — bills that passed both the House and Senate. A press release provided by her campaign detailed her sponsored bills.

"Bills sponsored by Fite include one establishing civil penalties for the crime of stalking; an act providing for licensed qualified interpreters for individuals who are deaf; an act strengthening sentence enhancement for domestic battering; an act concerning the required child maltreatment central registry checks for adoption; an act to provide for extended post-conviction no contact orders for certain criminal offenses; and an act to amend the child maltreatment act."

Fite, whose district includes a large section of western Crawford and Washington Counties, said he was looking forward to continuing her service in the House should she win re-election.

"It has been an honor and privilege to serve the people of District 80 in the Arkansas House of Representatives," she said. "I look forward to working with area and state legislators to make District 80 an excellent place to live and work."

A missionary to Taiwan for eight years, Fite holds a masters degree in education from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville and has done post-graduate study at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Okla., the University of Arkansas and the University of Central Arkansas in Conway.