Friday, October 21, 2016

TOP STORY >> Q&A: Cabot’s Prentice, Koller

Leader staff writer

Cabot Alderman Rick Prentice is seeking re-election to represent Ward 3, Position 2. He is being challenged by Tom Koller for a seat on the city council. Voters can make their choice during the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 8 or in early voting beginning on Monday.

Rick Prentice, 65, and his wife, Sharon, have been married 23 years. They have four grown children. Prentice has lived in Arkansas since 1964 and in Cabot for the past 10 years. He is a retired Navy veteran and has been employed for 25 years with Summit Truck Group as a corporate risk and safety manager.

Prentice has been on the city council for eight years.

Tom Koller, 46, is married to his wife, Katie. They have four children. Koller has lived in Arkansas for 27 years and in Cabot for two.

He has been involved with Cabot for four years. Koller has been in medical sales for 18 years. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business from Harding University in Searcy.

Why do you want to serve as alderman for Cabot?

Prentice: I want to represent the citizens of Cabot in a way that will be bipartisan, gain economic growth and keep strong family values.

Koller: I have been interested in city government my whole life. Previous job responsibilities and living in larger cities made it hard for me to participate. I am ready. I have the time that it will take to be effective. I have the desire to the serve the citizens and I am ready to be their voice to make our city a better place to live.

What do you think qualifies you for this position?

Prentice: I have served on the city council for four terms and have represented the citizens with honesty and integrity. I am currently serving as the chairman of the Fire and Police Committee. I believe that every person should have a voice in their city and I take great pleasure in listening to them, weighing their issues and using my vote as their voice.

Koller: I am a common sense, down-to-earth individual that brings the desire to serve the citizens of Cabot. My business background, planning skills for both now and the future, and ability to listen to the needs of the citizens makes me an excellent choice for councilman. I hope this dedication has been shown by my presence at intersections all over Cabot the past weeks waving to the people in an effort to give them the ability to know who I am.

What do you see as Cabot’s strengths and weaknesses?

Prentice: Cabot has a great school district, strong Fire and Police Departments; a strong Chamber of Commerce and a great working relationship between the mayor’s office and the city council that results in a unified city government, which includes the three independent commissions which are: Water, Parks and Recreation, and the City Planning.

Koller: Cabot has many strengths. Our Parks and Recreations system is outstanding and continues to grow. Our school system is one of the best in the state and brings new families to our great city. Our residents are our best strength. They make Cabot great.

Cabot needs to monitor infrastructure. We are set for water and wastewater but need to continue to monitor street and traffic issues. I understand how Cabot is tied with the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department and will continue the relationship with them for improvement. However, we must continue to add new roads and overlay current roads to get caught up.

If elected what would be your top three priorities?

Prentice: 1. Completion of the Community Dog Park. 2. Maintain and grow our parks and recreation facilities and programs for the youth of our city. 3. Strive to keep transparency in our city government and keep our Fire and Police Departments strong.

Koller: I will become a certified elected official through the Arkansas Municipal League. This will improve my abilities to serve and give me the opportunity to represent Cabot on a state level on an advisory committee.

Cabot needs to expand its senior citizens program. Some initiatives have been started, but I promise to continue to keep this at the forefront. This has been one of the most asked questions since my announcement. A new center and additional transportation opportunities are an immediate necessity.

Economic development is a must for Cabot. More emphasis and resources need to be dedicated to economic development on not only a local, but regional level. Cabot needs more restaurants and shopping opportunities for its citizens. We need to pursue opportunities instead of waiting for them to come to us.

Why should residents vote for you and not the other candidates?

Prentice: I believe that the citizens should vote for the candidate of their choice and not because of what I say or my opponent says, but for what I have done by representing them and our great city for the past eight years. I believe that Cabot is a great place to live and raise our children and grandchildren. As a conservative, I am asking for your support.

Koller: It is time for new faces and new ideas on the city council. It is time for Cabot to start preparing for the growth of the future instead of reacting to it. I will serve the people as their voice. I am asking for your vote. Please visit my website at for additional information and to contact me with your questions. I am here to serve you.