Friday, October 24, 2014

TOP STORY >> Davis takes on Heye

Leader staff writer

Sherwood Alderman Mary Jo Heye is facing former Alderman Butch Davis in her bid for re-election to the Ward 2, Position 1 seat.

Heye said she is running for re-election because “I believe in giving back to my community that has given so much to me. And I truly see Sherwood as a diamond in the rough with so much untapped potential.”

She continued, “I have the background, the leadership and the creativity to help transform Sherwood into the premier community of central Arkansas.”

Davis said he wants his old job back because “I don’t like the way the other person did things. First thing first, you have to be dedicated to the residents. And, if you’re not dedicated to the residents, you shouldn’t be in it.”
The retired Army veteran added that he is more available to constituents because he is retired.

Heye said her bachelor’s degree in economics from Texas A&M University plus professional and civic experience qualifiesher to serve on the council.

The certified USA coach continued, “My leadership and vision took the Sherwood Sharks from one of the smallest teams in central Arkansas to the largest summer swim program in the entire state.”

Heye served as Arkansas Swimming’s administrative vice president and represented the organization at the National USA Convention. She received the 2013 Conoco Phillips Arkansas Swimming Volunteer of the Year award.

The alderman was also recognized as the Sherwood Chamber of Commerce’s Woman of the Year in 2010.

Heye, a certified Municipal League official, served on the league’s Public Safety Advisory Council, the league’s Extra Large First Class Cities Council, the Sherwood Parks and Recreation Committee and the Sherwood Street Committee.

She has been a member of the Sherwood Chamber and Rotary Club and served on both of their boards.

Davis doesn’t believe any kind of education qualifies a person to be an alderman.

He served on the council from 1998 until 2012.

Davis has been inducted into the Arkansas Military Veterans Hall of Fame, suffered a gunshot wound to his spine while fighting in Vietnam and is the city’s military liaison.

Davis is also a member of the executive councils for Little Rock Air Force Base, Camp Robinson and Camp Pike.

He has organized annual parades and started a community garden in the Indian Hills subdivision accessible to all Sherwood residents.

Heye said planning, progress and participation are the most pressing issues Sherwood is facing.

“We need better long-term strategic planning. We need a vision of what we want this city to look like in the future and come together as a community to make those goals reality,” she said. “In order for us to be attractive to young families, we need to be more progressive.”

Heye suggests that the city needs sidewalks, especially in its older neighborhoods, trails, bike lanes, green spaces and parks.

She continued, “We are keeping our citizens in the dark. We need to be more transparent and make it easier for our citizens to be a part of the process.”

The alderman suggested televising council meeting for free on Comcast, web streaming all committee and council meetings and making recordings available for citizens to view at their convenience.

Heye said, “Openness and transparency will encourage more participation. The more involved our citizens are, the stronger our community is.”

Davis said the most pressing issue facing Sherwood is its need for a new library and other infrastructure.

A proposed 1.3-mill increase — roughly $200 per year for the owner of a $150,000 home — to fund the construction and furnishing of a new library is on the Nov. 4 ballot.

Davis said the Amy Sanders Library needs to be replaced and a new library should be built elsewhere. He added that the police department is also “very busy” and could use more space.

Heye moved to Sherwood in 1992 from Germany.

Her eldest son, Trey, was born in Germany, but her other children — Christopher, Thomas, Ian and Nicholas — were born after the family settled here.

Trey passed away unexpectedly on Dec. 6, 2000, from a “medical error,” the alderman shared.

She ran the Sherwood Sharks swim team from 2001 until 2012 and was elected to serve on the city council in 2010.

Heye was born in Houston and grew up in Conroe, Texas. She has also lived in Phoenix, Ariz., where the alderman worked in property management and was a loan officer for a mortgage lending company.

Davis said he moved to Sherwood in the ‘70s and attended John Tyler Community College in Virginia.

He enlisted in the Army at age 16 and has been married to his wife, Judy, for 49 years. They have one daughter, two sons and three grandchildren.

Heye said, “My candidacy is about the future of Sherwood. And the future of Sherwood is quality of place. Quality of place is an economic issue, a determinant of quality of life and an enhancer and protector of our property values.”

Davis said he wants voters to know he is honest and trustworthy. “I have no hidden agendas or motives for running.”