The Times endorses Barbara Graves in her race for mayor of Little Rock.
Graves’ long history of experience as a businessperson, a board member on numerous non-profits and now city director makes her our choice in this election. Having watched her for decades, we believe she will be a consensus builder — able to deal and negotiate with the various interests within the city, yet independent of all of them.
Since being elected to the city board, Graves has gained broad knowledge as the city’s representative on the boards of Central Arkansas Water, the Little Rock Sewer Commission, Central Arkansas Transit and the Little Rock Airport. Yet governing requires more than a thorough knowledge of government.
We like her because she built a business from scratch while living hand to mouth and raising two small children. She’s been a feminist by example, serving as the first woman president of the Downtown Rotary Club and as a bank board member. She’s served as president or board member of numerous non-profits such as the Komen Foundation and Youth Home, to name just a couple.
Graves was elected to the city board as an at-large candidate representing the whole city as opposed to a single ward. She has been supportive of redevelopment efforts in midtown, downtown and southwest Little Rock. While she has been equally supportive of development in west Little Rock, including the ill-starred Summit Mall, she has said she will support increased impact fees on developers if that is the finding of a current study being conducted by consultants hired by the city. Graves is a businesswoman, not a developer, and that is a distinction worth making.
We have four serious, quality candidates in this race. We support Graves because of her broad experience in the private, non-profit and public sectors. She has the ability to understand and talk to the various communities and interest groups in this city and will bring to the office a moderate, consensus-building style. We hope you will vote for her.
Early voting begins Oct. 23.
In the lieutenant governor’s race, Bill Halter is a former high-ranking federal official and former businessman who seems a reasonable and well-meaning sort. Very much so in comparison to his opponent. Jim Holt is running on a platform that is harshly anti-alien, anti-gay, anti-minimum wage, anti-prekindergarten programs for the state’s children, anti-most everything except shoving his own prejudices down everybody else’s throat. Arkansas deserves better, and will get it with Bill Halter.