Wednesday, November 05, 2014

TOP STORY >> All five mayors re-elected

Leader staff writer

Area mayors retained their seats for another four years, but there were some changes on city councils.

Jacksonville Mayor Gary Fletcher defeated former Police chief Frank Sipes, and Sherwood Mayor Virginia Hillman withstood a challenge from two other candidates, Don Berry and Doris Anderson; Mayor Bill Cypert beat back a challenge by one-time Mayor Mickey (Stubby) Stumbaugh; Lonoke Mayor Wayne McGee is getting another term, just getting past Jim Bailey; and Ward Mayor Art Brooke got another term.

The Sherwood City Council will have one new alderman in January as Beverly Williams beat veteran Alderman Toni Butler. Jacksonville will have Tara Smith, who ran unopposed, taking Alderman Aaron Robinson’s seat.

Republican Robinson ran for the Dist. 11 Justice of the Peace position in Pulaski County and squeezed out an 11-margin victory over Democrat Sandra Prater.

Sherwood will start work on a new library as city voters approved a temporary one-cent tax to build the new facility. The tax is set to last only for the time necessary to cover the cost of the facility.

Fletcher garnered 3,678 votes, or 56 percent of the vote, to Sipes’ 2,837 votes, or 44 percent.

Sipes congratulated Fletcher. “I hope Jacksonville will now come together and unify. I hope Gary will move the ship forward like he said he would,” Sipes said.

The former police chief plans to stay active in the community and said that throughout his run his supporters encouraged him. “They were great. We learned a lot and met so many good people,” Sipes said.

Fletcher said Sipes ran a good campaign and agreed with him that now is the time to come together. “It’s time to erase that dividing line. We need to all come together and focus on our schools and development. We are still one city. I’m excited about the future. We are a city on the move,” Fletcher said.

First on Fletcher’s list is to make interim Police Chief Kenny Boyd the permanent chief. Fletcher will make the announcement at 2 p.m. today in a ceremony at the city’s Public Safety Building on Marshall Road.

In the other Jacksonville races, Alderman Mike Traylor retained his seat, garnering 3,890 votes, or 64 percent, to former code-enforcement officer Bill Shelley’s 2,174 votes or 36 percent. Longtime City Attorney Robert Bamburg got another four years in his job by collecting 3,256 votes, or 53 percent, to former City Attorney Keith Vaughan’s 2,935 votes or 47 percent.

In the Sherwood mayor’s race, Hillman collected 6,264 votes, or 58 percent, to Berry’s 3,777 votes, or 36 percent. Anderson received 688 votes, or six percent.

Hillman said she was pleased that voters are keeping her in office for another four years. “We ran a clean, positive campaign and appreciate everyone’s vote. We will just keep moving forward,” she said.

Sherwood voters kept one alderman on the council and replaced another one.

Alderman Mary Jo Heye kept her seat, garnering 1,504 votes, or 67 percent, to former Alderman Lex “Butch” Davis’ 737 votes, or 33 percent.

Beverly Williams, co-chair of the committee trying to get Sherwood its own school district, becomes the newest Sherwood aldermen, beating incumbent Toni Butler, 1,895 votes, or 68 percent, to 882 votes, or 32 percent.

Both Sherwood and Jackson-ville have been pushing for liquor sales as half of Sherwood is dry and 90 of Jacksonville is, but both halted their efforts in hopes that a statewide initiative would pass. Pulaski County voters said yes to the measure, but the overall state vote said no to alcohol.

In Cabot, Mayor Cypert won another term, defeating Stumbaugh by about 738 votes, 3,624 to 2,886.

Cypert stressed his sound fiscal leadership, including extension of a one-cent sales tax to improve the city’s parks, along with a new library and a freeway interchange between Cabot and Austin.

A runoff is set in Cabot Ward 3, Position 1, pitting Doyle Tullos   against Wendell Gibson, who finished 2,459-1,799, beating out Alderman Angie Jones, who had 1,648 votes.

Brooke, who won another term in Ward, said, “I feel good about the race. I feel very comfortable at this point with the tax issue. Hopefully, it passes and will increase everyone’s property values.” His hopes came true as the tax issue passed by 30 points.

Lonoke’s McGee said, “I’m happy. I feel proud that the city trusts me for another four years to keep moving forward, bringing more to the community... to make Lonoke a better place to live and keep it growing.”

In Beebe, Alderman Harold Welch lost to David Pruitt,  831- 790, in Ward 1, Position 1.

In Ward 3, Position 2, Alderman Dale Bass defeated Warren Spillman, 1,038-572.

In Ward 3, Position 2, Matt Dugger defeated Alderman John Johnson, 946-657.