Friday, October 24, 2014

TOP STORY >> Butler vs. Williams

Leader staff writer

Alderman Toni Butler is running for re-election to her Ward 3, Position 1 seat against Beverly Williams.

Butler is in her 12th year on the council. “My sole purpose for being an alderman is to be an advocate for the citizens. I consider being elected an honor and want to continue to help better the wonderful community in which we live,” she said.

Butler continued, “An alderman’s goal should be to listen and take action when necessary. We should be easily accessible in some form to receive concerns and questions from the citizens.”

Williams said, “Since my retirement, I have enjoyed the opportunities to volunteer in my community more frequently. Through those opportunities, I realized that I wanted to offer my services to the growth and further development of my city with an emphasis on Ward 3, which is ‘The Original Sherwood.’”

Butler said she is qualified because “in my previous jobs experiences, as well as being fortunate to be a stay-at-home mom, I had opportunity to interact and be involved with the public in various ways.”

She said she worked with her neighborhood to unite in opposing a public swimming pool being built at the end of Coolhurst Avenue.

Butler explained, “Now the pool is where it needs to be…At that time, our alderman would not listen to or return our calls. I know how it felt to be ignored. I want to be and consider myself the alderman who listens and cares.”

Williams said she brings communication skills, understanding of governance and grant writing experience to the table.

The candidate was a school administrator for 30 years.

“Communication was essential as we worked to implement local school, district and state governance and saw its impact on schools, the students, the families and the communities,” Williams said.

As assistant commissioner for the state Education Department, the candidate said she helped draft legislation, establish rules and regulations to implement existing laws and implement numerous federal and state guidelines.

She added, “Educators are creative in seeking grant opportunities to fund projects. Cities often need similar grant writing skills to fund unfunded one-time expenses/enhancements.”

Butler said flooding is a major problem for Sherwood. “We have old underground lines in our city that could cause problems at any time,” she noted.

Butler also said the animal shelter has outgrown its facility and should consider expanding.

“They are doing an amazing job now, but could do even better with more room,” the alderman said.

Butler said the city is losing funds on The Greens at North Hills golf course and club. She believes a solution should be sought to make that venture more profitable.

The alderman continued, “These are just a few of the things that, handled correctly, can help our community begin to reach its full potential.”

She said the council should be more transparent and provide any information requested that can be legally provided.

“This availability will better equip the citizens to become more aware in what or how they may wish to become involved,” Butler concluded.

Williams said the most pressing issues facing Sherwood are its continued pursuit of a standalone school district, economic development and creating and maintaining aesthetic enhancements in all wards.

The candidate co-chairs the Sherwood Public Education Foundation committee that is following steps to detach from the Pulaski County Special School District.

Butler has lived in Sherwood for 32 years. She has been married to her husband, Gene, for 44 years. They have two children and two grandchildren.

The family attends Sylvan Community Church.

Butler is a Sylvan Hills High School graduate and completed 1.5 years of college.

She took and taught dancing for 33 years, and was a substitute teacher at Oakbrooke Elementary.

Williams was born and raised in North Little Rock. She graduated from North Little Rock High School and has lived in Sherwood for 38 years.

The candidate has been married to her husband, Bill, for 43 years. They have three children and seven grandchildren.

Williams earned a bachelor’s degree from Hendrix College in Conway and a master’s degree from University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.

She is also licensed as a mathematics, physical and computer science teacher.

Williams was the Sherwood Chamber’s 2013 Woman of the Year, served on its board of directors and was secretary of its Military Liaison Committee.

She was Sherwood Rotarian of the Year in 2013, President of the Year for 2012-13 in that Rotary district and Sherwood’s club was Club of the Year at the same time.

The candidate established the Rotary Club scholarships and its summer reading program that gives every fourth grader attending local schools a book to read.

She is also a leader in the club’s ethics awards for middle and high school students.

Williams is the Little Rock Air Force Base’s 314th Airlift Wing Honorary Commander through 2016, a member of the St. Vincent North Family Patient Advisory Council and has attended North Little Rock First United Methodist Church for 32 years.

Butler said she wants voters at the polls to know she is “always considering their best interests and attempting to find ways to lessen costs and at the same time bring in revenue to improve our community.”

The alderman said she takes her job seriously and has no conflicts of interest.

“I will not rubber stamp any issue and promise to only make decisions based on your feedback and an honest heart. I will listen and do my best to find a solution. I will always put Sherwood citizens first,” Butler said.

Williams said, “I hope the voters know that I have a deep love for this city, I am passionate about its growth, and that I have a high level of energy and the knowledge to help us move forward.”