HomePine Bluff newsDiverse views emerge in Pine Bluff's heavily contested mayoral forum

Diverse views emerge in Pine Bluff’s heavily contested mayoral forum

Pine Bluff, Arkansas – Pine Bluff’s mayoral race is heating up as the political year kicks off, marked by a candidate forum featuring incumbent Shirley Washington and six challengers. The event, organized by Arkansas Community Organizations and Pine Bluff Interested Citizens for Voter Registration, Inc., provided a platform for candidates to present their visions and address the concerns of potential constituents.

The candidates participating in this highly contested race include state representative Vivian Flowers, City Alderman Steven Mays, Joni Alexander-Robinson, John Fenley, Charles Washington, and Samuel Glover. Each brought unique perspectives to the table, focusing on various key issues facing Pine Bluff.

During the forum, the candidates were questioned on topics such as contract fairness opportunities and their top priorities as mayor. Alderman Mays emphasized the importance of investing in youth programs, noting a lack of engagement among young people with the existing initiatives. “The youth programs that we have need to be upgraded. You don’t see a lot of youth going to them; they want to stay at home,” Mays said.

Joni Alexander-Robinson highlighted the potential impact of after-school programs in keeping schoolchildren engaged. She proposed a city-wide initiative to bring resources to young people, strengthening community resources in partnership with the city.

Vivian Flowers, drawing on her decade-long experience of working with diverse groups, expressed confidence in her ability to establish effective working relationships. “I think my record speaks for itself when it comes to being able to work with people,” Flowers said.

Incumbent Mayor Washington emphasized her efforts to cultivate civil and productive relationships with city officials. Her goal has been to maintain civil council meetings and strong working relations for the efficient handling of city affairs.

The need for trade jobs in the city was a concern raised by an audience member. Fenley responded by acknowledging a sense of desperation in the city and the need to showcase available opportunities to the youth. Glover, with his background in parks and recreation, also recognized the importance of increasing job opportunities, particularly in teaching trades to young people.

Washington, with his experience as a Pine Bluff police officer and a veteran, stressed the necessity of a proactive approach to providing job opportunities for the youth.

The forum concluded with all candidates expressing their desire to move Pine Bluff forward, making it a destination location. This mayoral race is crucial for Pine Bluff’s future, and with primary day in Arkansas on March 5, early voting beginning on October 21, and election day on November 5, voters have important decisions to make. The diverse range of views and priorities showcased at the forum reflects the candidates’ commitment to addressing the city’s challenges and advancing its growth.

Nathan Kim



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