Mark Stodola is officially joining the race for Little Rock mayor. He will make his announcment tomorrow morning at the Neighborhood Resource Center on East 12th St.
The field is now expanded to five, with Stodola, Barbara Graves, Jesse Mason, Drew Pritt and Bill Walker indicating their intentions to run for the seat.
Excerpts from Stodola's press release after the jump.
STODOLA PRESS RELEASE EXCERPTS
I am running for Mayor because I believe I have the leadership skills necessary to continue moving Little Rock forward and help make it the next great American city in the South. Like Austin, Atlanta and Raleigh-Durham, the combined leadership efforts of government and the private sector will allow Little Rock to prosper in our future. As your next Mayor, I am totally committed to this goal.
Economic development and entrepreneurial activity in Little Rock cannot be separated from “quality of life” issues. As your former Prosecuting Attorney, I can say with complete confidence that real economic growth will occur only after we conquer our overall crime rate problem - including the City’s skyrocketing homicide rate. This “quality of life” issue is one of the first things new businesses consider when looking to relocate. People rightfully expect government to keep them safe in their homes, in their schools, and on their streets. As a parent of two young boys and as your next Mayor, making Little Rock safe and prosperous are my top priorities.
Great strides have been made in certain areas of the City. The River Market neighborhood downtown is a great example of our progress, as is the vibrant retail and neighborhood communities in West Little Rock. However, other neighborhoods in the City, particularly in Mid-Town and Southwest Little Rock, face continuing challenges, including vacant and abandoned houses that become havens for illegal drug deals and other criminal activities. All regions of Little Rock deserve to share in the progress we will pursue. I am committed to taking back these overlooked neighborhoods so that the good and decent citizens who live there can work and play without fear.
The City faces many other challenges and as the campaign progresses. I will be outlining my plans to:
• Rebuild our Mid-Town neighborhoods with in-fill housing which will increase property values thus reducing the pressure to raise taxes
• Develop more recreational venues, such as parks and ball fields for our children in Southwest and West Little Rock
• Place a police substation in Mid-Town and make the Little Rock Police Department’s “Quiet Nights” operation permanent
• Redevelop War Memorial Park and the University Avenue corridor
• Provide more public safety services to Southwest and West Little Rock
• Enhance code enforcement to rid our city of abandoned and burned out houses
• Explore ways to make our entire City accessible to wireless Internet services
• Partner directly with our schools and UALR to develop programs that advance greater opportunities for job creation