Michelle McLelland, a Farm Bureau underwriter, has announced for North Little Rock mayor. Bubba Lloyd had already said he'd oppose incumbent Mayor Pat Hays.
Her letter on the jump. She likes blogs, bless her.
ANNOUNCEMENT OF CANDIDACY
Hello, I’m Michelle McLelland
A great city is measured by the quality of the lives of the people who live in it.
I know this well because I grew up in North Little Rock. I went to school right here at NLR West Campus (Ole Main). I’m proud to say that Blue and Gold runs through my veins. I’ve grown hoarse more than once cheering our Charging Wildcats on to victory.
Let me share a little about my family and me:
My brother Terry and I learned our values from our two loving parents Lowell and Sue Conder. This is where I learned that what matters is not your name or what you’re GOING to do or TALK about doing, but what you get DONE. It’s also where I learned that you usually get more done when you work WITH people than when you work AGAINST people.
My Dad, Lowell, was a simple man and accomplished many things in his life. The best lesson I learned from him was…People Matter.
My husband John of 17 years, and our two children, Samuel and Sarah share the love of living in NLR and also want to see this city reach new heights.
I’m 37 years old and my hobbies include singing in my church choir, doing yard work, and riding my scooter, but most of all, I enjoy spending time with my friends and family.
As far as my experience and qualifications go: I’ve been employed 12 years at Arkansas Farm Bureau as an Underwriting Analyst. I do not have any public office experience or a degree; however, the one thing you can count on is I will be up front and honest with you. I will be a Hands On Mayor, I won’t expect you to do anything I would not do myself for the betterment of this city.
For Four terms the people of this city have, by our votes, entrusted Mayor Hays with the most important job in this city – Mayor. I’m here today to say thank you for your service Mayor Hays, you have brought NLR very far. Under the Hays administration downtown NLR has gained some significant attractions- Alltel Arena, Dickey Stephens Baseball Complex, Upscale Condos & Restaurants. Our downtown is an exciting part of NLR, However, this did come at a price to all of us taxpayers.
It is time for a Fresh Approach! In recent years this administration has lost focus on some key and core services that are the backbone and foundation for our city. Our city’s infrastructure is weakening and we only have ourselves to blame!
A Fresh Approach also means shifting the focus from the "Wants" of the Mayor to the "Needs" for our ever-changing city.
Some of the key and core services I’m proposing we take a Fresh Approach toward are:
* How NLR taxes and finances are spent. Establish a Return on Investment system
* Schools / Education
* Law Enforcement / Fire fighters
* Growing our city/The friendliness and safety of our city
I’ll briefly touch on each of these points:
* How and where the city’s taxes and finances are spent. If and when we spend money on a project, we need a built-in accountability system that will tell us when we can expect to see our Return on Investment. I believe this is a key component to being good stewards of our city’s finances.
* Schools will be another priority of mine. We need to invest more into education, our schools, our teachers, and ALL extra-curricular programs equally. We can’t grant every want, but we can strive to provide their needs. Our teachers are some of the most important people that will ever impact our children’s lives. North Little Rock’s teacher’s salary and academics should be such that teachers in our neighboring cities and counties would be competing to be hired by our district and join the ranks of our dedicated teachers.
* I once heard a State Trooper say: "A happy officer is a good officer." Just like everything else, we can’t afford to grant every ‘want’, but we should be able to take care of their ‘needs’. We also need to make sure the salaries are competitive in order to entice good officers and firefighters to join the ranks of "North Little Rock’s Finest."
* I have asked several dozen people and friends who live in Bryant, Conway, Vilonia, and Cabot why they chose to live there and they all respond the same way: Better schools and a safer, more friendly community. I’m sure you have visited small towns around NLR; people there smile and give you a wave of welcome. REMEMBER: Smiling and waving or just saying a quick "Hello" cost you nothing; but it always will have a positive return to you.
If we are going to grow North Little Rock together, now is the time for leadership that measures and balances the needs of every neighborhood, of every person. To lead this city, the next Mayor will have to work to restore the confidence of every part of our 54 square-mile city we call North Little Rock - - from Levy to Park Hill, Indian Hills to Rose City, every neighborhood is just as important as the next.
Everyday thousands of people drive by NLR on their way home to Jacksonville, Cabot, and Conway…. I want people to "Head North For Home."
As your Mayor, I will expect you to be accountable and take responsibility in helping this city reach new heights as well. If there is a problem you would like to bring to the city’s attention, please be willing to bring a possible viable solution that is agreeable to all the parties involved.
Now…..just a word to all the NLR blog websites: I think blogs are a wonderful tool to get information out to people quickly and efficiently- - however, let’s do our best to encourage one another and keep our updates positive. "Positive remarks equal positive results".
As Zig Ziglar has said for years: ‘we have to get rid of our Stinkin’ Thinkin’!
As your Mayor I will be approachable. I want you to know I’m just like most of you: I work a full time job, My husband and I even have a part time jobs so we can have some extra family spending money; I pay taxes, I have a monthly budget to meet, I understand financial struggles just like anybody else. One thing I learned after completion of a 12-week course in Crown Financial studies is: if you don’t have the money for it, you don’t need to go into debt for it. However, if a debt arises, you must be willing to research and make smart choices before getting into that debt. We are to be good stewards with what we have been given and learn to live with what we have.
I know I will make mistakes as your Mayor. I am not perfect…issues and decisions will arise that we may have to "agree to disagree", BUT that should not stop us from agreeing on other issues in the future. It’s during those situations I will expect encouragement to do better, not criticism.
In being an approachable mayor, I will implement a "30 Minutes With the Mayor Walk". This will be a weekly walk in that you can schedule a time to walk and talk with me about any NLR issue that maybe on your mind. I can't promise we will solve anything, but at least you can bring it to my attention. I will strongly encourage the Alderman/Alderwoman to adopt this unique time as well each week.
As your Mayor I will rely heavily on the elected Aldermen/Alderwoman for their input and representation of their wards.
In Closing: I found an interview Mayor Hays conducted in 2005 at the 71st Mayor meeting in Washington, DC. In his interview he stated and I quote:
"in order to change things, you have to get off the sidelines and get involved"
With that being said, I’ll take your advise Mayor Hays because I too love North Little Rock…NLR is where I grew up, went to school, attended church, married, and where my children attend public schools today. I want to be known as YOUR Mayor, the Peoples’ Mayor.
Therefore, I now announce my candidacy for community-based public service as Mayor of North Little Rock.
Visit me at the group on Facebook:
"Michelle McLelland for North Little Rock Mayor"