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Action begins with announcements for Fayetteville city races

story by Ryan Saylor
rsaylor@thecitywire.com

Candidates for Fayetteville municipal races cannot start filing to run for office until July 25, but that has not stopped several incumbents and challengers from announcing their intents to run for a term on the council.

Fayetteville Vice Mayor Mark Kinion announced earlier this month he would seek re-election to his Ward 2 post on the council, as has Ward 1 Councilor Adella Gray.

In a press release, Kinion said he would seek his third term on the council in order to continue pushing economic development in the city, the largest in the Northwest Arkansas region.

“We have a unique heritage in Fayetteville that is irreplaceable and must be protected," he said, adding that the council "must look forward to more economic growth opportunities in every sector including business, industry, medical, technology and creative economy.”

Kinion, 57, is so far the only announced candidate for the Ward 2 seat.

Gray, 74, is also seeking her third term on the Board after a failed bid for the Arkansas House of Representatives in 2012.

In an interview with the Fayetteville Flyer, Gray said her age and experience was an asset and brought diversity to the council. She added that she was a supporter of "cutting-edge" legislation, which the Flyer noted includes a streamside protection ordinance and Arkansas's first energy improvement district.

She will face Sonia Davis Gutierrez in the non-partisan election on Nov. 4. Gutierrez, 40, first announced for the position and runs 3c21 Design.

Ward 3 Councilor Justin Tennant has announced his intent to run for a second term on the council, as well.

According to Fayetteville Deputy City Clerk Lisa Branson, the only member of the council to forgo re-election is Ward 4 Councilor Rhonda Adams, who is moving because of  her husband's acceptance of a new job. She represents Ward 4 on the council. Mike Emery has announced he would run to replace Adams. No other candidates have yet announced for the position.

Other municipal races up for re-election this year include city attorney and district judge. Williams is running for re-election, though Stewart has not made such a declaration.

Branson said candidates can begin filing with the Washington County Clerk to run for city council on July 25 and have until noon on August 15 to submit 30 signatures from registered voters within their respective ward to qualify for the ballot. Candidates for city attorney and district judge can obtain signatures from any registered voter living in Fayetteville city limits.

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Each member of the city council receives an annual salary of $12,504, the city's codebook states. The city of Fayetteville's human resources department said the city attorney's annual salary is $112,507, while the salary for the district judge is $123,988.

Terms for all incumbents will end Dec. 31, 2014, with new 4-year terms beginning Jan. 1, 2015, Branson said.

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