Oct 21, 2022 - Politics

4 candidates compete for Rogers City Council

Photo illustration of Vonnice Boone, Rachel Crawford, Trey Weaver and Clay Kendall, tinted purple, and separated by white halftone dividers.

Photo illustration: Axios Visuals. Photos: Boone, Crawford, Weaver and Kendall campaigns

Rogers voters have their pick of who they'd like to represent Ward 3, the southwest part of the city.

Details: Incumbent Clay Kendall faces challenges from Vonnice Boone, Rachel Crawford and Trey Weaver.

  • Boone is a corporate financial reporting manager at America's Car-Mart and CEO and president of Vonnice Boone Consulting. She serves on the Northwest Arkansas MLK Council, the National Black MBA Association and the National Association of Black Accountants. She is board co-chair of the University of Arkansas' Office of Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board.
  • Crawford is senior national account manager at food manufacturer Mars and has served on the Rogers Planning Commission since 2018, where she's the current chairperson.
  • Kendall is managing partner at WealthPath Investment Advisors and has served on City Council since 2012. He's a former board member of Rogers Cycling Festival and Youth Strategies and has volunteered as a youth baseball coach and Rogers High School band booster volunteer.
  • Weaver is a real estate broker at Cohobnb Properties and is a commissioner on the Arkansas Board of Abstractors and the Arkansas Board of Auctioneers. He's a past president of the Board of Realtors and current president of the Mt. Hebron Historical Graveyard and Church Association and of the Historic Liberty Bell Schoolhouse Association. He’s co-leader of the Liberty Bell 4H Club.

Be smart: This race will ultimately be decided in a runoff election unless someone gets over 50% of the vote. A candidate can also win with 40% if they still have a 20% lead over the second-place candidate.

Yes, and: All Rogers residents can vote in this race regardless of where in the city they live. Council members must live in the wards they represent.

What's next: Early voting begins Monday, Oct. 24. Election Day is Nov. 8.

Q&A: Meet the candidates

Axios: Why are you running for City Council and what is your main goal or priority?

Boone: Representation matters for me and the community, especially at this moment as hate crimes have been on the rise. As a Black woman candidate, I am bringing my lived experience to my campaigning. My community is thirsting for something different. … If our government doesn't look like the people it's supposed to represent, that means there are voices and perspectives being left behind.

  • With the challenges that communities are facing, we can't afford to leave valuable voices unheard. This is why it is so crucial for me to run for office — I’m ready to stand up for communities that aren’t being heard.

Crawford: My three priorities are the following: responsible planning for growth, area leading support for first responders and effective communication to Rogers residents.

  • Responsible planning for growth: When you look at the list of active projects on the city's website, there are 35 listed. … I will work to help communicate any delays, progress or new projects to proactively alleviate concerns. I have experience on the city's Planning Commission, so I understand the holistic view when it comes to development. A key opportunity space in planning for growth is around design and implementation in our parks, focused on turf sports fields to catch up to smaller, neighboring cities.
  • Area leading support for first responders: Rogers needs to be viewed as THE city to want to be a police officer in Northwest Arkansas. In order for this to happen, our police department needs support to improve recruitment and retention. My stepson’s middle school has not had a dedicated school resource officer since he began sixth grade; he’s now a seventh grader. The position is allotted, but there is a lack of patrol resources, so the school resource officer position remains unfilled. All Rogers secondary schools' dedicated resource officer positions must be filled. Safety in our schools is a non-negotiable for our students and our teachers.
  • Communication to Rogers residents has an opportunity to continue to improve. While the city’s social media presence has gotten better and does a nice job keeping up with happenings, the Rogers' city website historically can be challenging to navigate, and information about current issues is not easily found online. For example, when residents have concerns or complaints about delays in street or park projects, they struggle with finding information relevant to their concerns through city communication channels.

Kendall: I am humbled by the faith the people of Rogers have placed in me over the last decade to serve as their city councilman. I believe that I have a track record of results and a vision for Rogers' future to keep us moving forward. I have been proud to support pro-business positions that have helped attract over 10,000 new jobs, $2 billion in private business investment, and cut our unemployment more than in half over the last decade. I have been a steadfast supporter of our first responders, voting to fund a new police dispatch station and state-of-the-art communications system that keep our local police connected with neighboring law enforcement agencies.

  • We have built two new firehouses and provided advanced equipment for our paramedics to keep our community safer. We have made historic investments to provide new parks and community events that will strengthen our quality of life. Launching Railyard Park and our summer concert series and the soon-to-be-completed Mt. Hebron Park are just two examples
  • If re-elected I will remain laser focused on building on these successes and understand that we must continue to balance our growth with the sense of community that makes this city such an incredible place to live.

Weaver: I'm seventh generation Rogers, and while we're doing a lot of things right at this time, I feel that our City Council has become very one-dimensional. I'd like to see a voice and representation for all communities, a voice for responsible growth and infrastructure, and a voice for family values since we're currently experiencing many of our long-standing traditional events being eliminated in the city of Rogers; one example would be Frisco Fest.

Axios: What should the city government do to best foster the growth in Rogers?

Boone: Rogers needs to ... offer more initiatives around diversity and inclusion, especially because Rogers was once a sundown town. To create more initiatives, if elected, I will create a diversity and inclusion board for Rogers so that we can provide the community with amazing initiatives around culture and experiences.

Crawford: It is important for the city to be a bridge to bring residents, developers, businesses and employees together while helping to overcome any roadblocks and obstacles that might be in the way.

  • Challenges often arise from lack of understanding, not knowing who to go to or being misinformed. Alleviating those challenges comes down to education, building relationships and consistent communication. The city government needs to utilize the best communication outlets to proactively keep residents in the loop on city happenings and future plans. Having conversations with the people of Rogers is key to fostering growth.

Kendall: I think what is so incredible about Rogers is that our most pressing issues come from the tremendous growth and success of our city. Thousands of new residents have moved here to raise their family and build a career over the last decade because this community is such an incredible place to live.

  • We are focused on making infrastructure improvements, investing in our parks and community facilities and fostering a positive economic environment that will continue to attract high-paying jobs.

Weaver: Rogers does not have an issue with needing to foster growth; we are currently experiencing record-breaking growth. Our issue is making sure we're ahead of the growing pains and not always looking backwards. We need to be building streets and extending water and sewer lines where we anticipate future growth.

  • We develop programs to assist with affordable housing. We need to recognize our homeless problem and start working on a comprehensive plan before it gets worse.
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