by Max Brantley
As forecast here last week, Joe Smith, a long-time administrator in North Little Rock, announced for mayor today to succeed retiring Commodore Pat Hays. No word if he's a Navy buff, too.
State Rep. Tracy Steele is a likely opponent. Others have talked about a race. Here's Smith's release:
NORTH LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS — Joe Smith announced his candidacy for North Little Rock Mayor Tuesday from the steps of City Hall. Smith, a lifelong North Little Rock resident, has twenty years of experience in North Little Rock City government, serving as Director of Commerce and Government Affairs, Director of Community Relations, and Director of Administration.
“I’m proud to be a fourth generation North Little Rock resident, and a part of our great city’s unique history,” Smith said. “I also want to be a part of North Little Rock’s future by creating productive partnerships with our educational, civic, and business communities to ensure that our citizens are prepared for the good jobs and new opportunities of tomorrow.”
Smith has more than three decades of executive experience. A successful business owner, manager, and finance director in the private sector, he has created new jobs and improved efficiency. He understands the realities that the economy has on North Little Rock businesses, families and government.
In his city management positions, Smith has worked to bring over one thousand jobs to NLR including Caterpillar, Timex, Glaziers, Ben K. Keith and many other new businesses. He supervised the development of Dickey-Stephens Ballpark, which is the premier AA ballpark in the United States.
“I’ve been proud to be a part of the team, part of the progress that has made North Little Rock the great city it is today,” said Smith. “As mayor I will continue that progress and continue that vision, and together we’ll write a new chapter.
In the pubic sector, Smith has also helped to manage North Little Rock’s city operations and budget under the leadership of Mayor Patrick Hays. He has served in several capacities in city government and is the most experienced candidate to run for Mayor of North Little Rock. As mayor, Smith will maintain a balanced budget, efficient city services and responsive public safety.
“I believe that government should work for the people it represents,” said Smith. “I will demand the highest standards of accountability and responsibility throughout city government as Mayor of North Little Rock.”
The son of a North Little Rock policeman, Smith grew up in the Baring Cross Neighborhood. His grandfather and uncle worked for the Missouri Pacific Railroad, and his great-grandfather owned a restaurant and boarding house on Pike Avenue. He graduated from NLR High in 1969.
After graduating from the University of Arkansas, Smith moved back to North Little Rock and has since lived in all four city wards. He is married to Missie Smith, and today their children and grandchildren also call North Little Rock home.
Smith has been an active member of the North Little Rock community. He and his family are members at Lakewood United Methodist Church. He has worked closely with community and business leaders, neighborhood advocates, and civic organizations to help create a better quality of life for our community.
Smith is a member of the Central Arkansas Transit Authority (CATA) Board and the North Little Rock Economic Development Corporation Board. In 2000, he was inducted into the North Little Rock Boys and Girls Club Hall of Fame. He is active in the North Little Rock Chamber of Commerce, North Little Rock Crimestoppers and has previously chaired the Arc Arkansas Board, North Little Rock Riverside Rotary, Service and Opportunity for Seniors Board, North Little Rock Wildcat Education Foundation Board and North Little Rock Jaycees.