Since 1994, just two people have served as Bentonville’s mayor: Terry Coberly (1994-2006) and Bob McCaslin, who announced earlier this year he will not seek re-election this fall.
A lot has changed in Bentonville during the past 24 years, obviously, and even the most vivid of imaginations would struggle to envision how the city will evolve over the next 24 years. No city in the state is growing faster. According to the latest U.S. Census Bureau data the town’s population grew from 35,301 in 2010 to 49,298 in 2017, a 40% increase.
So the question begs: Who will take up the baton to lead the city through its next phase of development? The period to formally file as a candidate starts July 27 and ends Aug. 17, but anyone with an eye on the mayor’s job can certainly announce their candidacy before that.
And with less than five months remaining until Election Day, no one has. With notable mayoral races in Little Rock and Fort Smith already getting plenty of attention, the race in Bentonville hasn’t started.
It is likely potential candidates, city council members, etc. are waiting on the decision of the perceived front-runner – if you go by the word on the street. Troy Galloway has been the city’s community and economic development director for more than 20 years, but that’s just his civilian occupation. Galloway has been a member of the National Guard for more than three decades. He was promoted in 2016 to brigadier general, and also assigned responsibility as deputy commanding general at the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center (CAC) in Fort Leavenworth, Kan. He has been stationed there since last summer, and the assignment hasn’t ended.
The city has been supportive of Galloway’s job as a citizen soldier throughout his career. The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 also helps, ensuring National Guardsmen still have a job when they return from deployment or required training.
Galloway will eventually return to Bentonville and resume his position as one of the city’s leaders. Only time will tell if it’s in the capacity of his current job or in time to become a candidate for mayor.