Leader Blues

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

TOP STORY >> Beebe mayor won't seek second term

Leader staff writer

Beebe Mayor Donald Ward announced before about 40 city leaders Tuesday that he will not run for re-election next year.

Ward saved the announcement until near the end of a 15-minute speech outlining the accomplishments during his seven years in office.
The accomplishments included a recovery from a tornado that destroyed one-third of the town just 21 days after he took office, a new city hall and fire department, four new fire trucks and a ladder truck, a fire rating that has been cut from eight to four, sidewalks into neighborhoods where the elderly live and an economic-development commission with a paid director to name a few.

Sitting with Ward’s supporters was State Sen. John Paul Capps who was there to present Ward with a Capitol Citation from Secretary of State Charlie Daniels for his work for the city. Ward said he was surprised by the announcement.

Ward had made no secret recently that he was considering running again even though he had said previously that two terms were all he wanted.

“This decision was not out of fear,” he told those who assembled for his announcement. “I be-lieve we could have won another term.”
Former Mayor Mike Robertson, whom Ward narrowly defeated seven years ago, has not announced that he will run, but has said he is seriously considering it.

Ward said his children were growing up and that he has spent so much time in public service that he sometimes feels like he doesn’t know them.

He said he will continue to teach since he has five more years left before he can retire. But he doesn’t rule out the possibility of a race sometime in the future either for another city office or for a higher one.

He quoted a line from former Arkansas Gov. Orval Faubus, who told him when asked for advice on running for public office, “You’ll know when the time is right.”

Ward said he made his an-nouncement early to make it easier for others who might be considering a race to get ready to run.
But he said that just because he isn’t running doesn’t mean he isn’t on the job now.

“I’m still the mayor until one minute after Jan. 1 (2007),” he said. “Even though some may now call me a lame duck, I pledge to work for you as hard as I have for the past seven years.”