Leader Blues

Sunday, December 31, 2006

TOP STORY >>Area officials reveal their resolutions

IN SHORT: They want to spend more time with their families, work hard for their constituents.

By HEATHER HARTSELL AND JOHN HOFHEIMER

Every year thousands of people set New Year’s resolutions as they reflect on their lives and wonder whether or not they are fulfilling goals and making their dreams a reality. Whether those resolutions are to spend more time with family, to start exercising or lose weight, to save more money or to quit smoking, people make long lists of things they resolve to do or not to do.

Local community leaders are no different in what they hope to resolve, but may be more community oriented, as some offered up their resolutions for the coming new year.

Jacksonville Mayor Tommy Swaim’s resolution for the new year focuses on his private life. “I plan to spend more time with my family,” he said.

State Rep. Will Bond, D-Jacksonville, resolves “to go fishing with my dad more,” in the new year, he said Thursday. That and to see the Jacksonville area have its own school district. “I’ll work to pass legislation that will help ensure that more Arkansas students have access to two- or four-year colleges—to try to move from 50th in the nation in percentage of population with college degrees.

“That’s the key to economic development,” Bond said.

Among Bond’s other resolutions are to improve access to in-home care for senior citizens and to spend more time enjoying his 15-month-old twins.

With only a few more days left in his Sherwood Municipal Complex office, Mayor Bill Harmon said, “It’s going to be a new life for me.”

Harmon will have a new lease on life but will have to face continuing health problems. He is scheduled to undergo a third hip replacement next year.

“I resolved for my hip to be healed,” Harmon said after reflecting for a few moments.

Eddie Joe Williams, Cabot mayor-elect, joked that he kept last year’s resolution – that he wouldn’t make one, but said this year he resolved to fulfill promises made during his campaign.

“The minute after I’m sworn in I’ll start working diligently on my commitment to the community, to work hard and keep my campaign commitments,” Williams said.

While he wouldn’t divulge a personal resolution, Cabot Alderman-elect Eddie Cook did offer his New Year’s resolution for Cabot.

“My number one goal is two-fold for the city: first is better traffic flow, we need to ease up on congestion, we need more east to west roadways, and something needs to be done at Locust Street; second is that we have got to be better stewards of the city’s money by implementing city reserves,” Cook said. “It’s going to be a good year, the new mayor is already making good decisions,” Cook added.

State Rep. Susan Schulte, R-Cabot, says she hasn’t formalized her New Year’s resolutions yet, but expects trying to walk five days a week to continue to be among them.

How has she done in the past?

“Awful,” she said, especially for a woman who once helped found a running club.

Other resolutions include doing her daily devotions, to open up another business venture and, as state representative, “to be there for the folks who need me.”

With two new grandsons, Schulte also resolves to put playground equipment in her backyard.

Billye Everett, Cabot Chamber of Commerce director, felt two resolutions were in order this year.

“To get better organized so that I can serve the community better and to spend a little more quality time with my family and friends,” Everett said, admitting she usually doesn’t think anything about resolutions for the New Year so that way she can’t break them.

Everett wouldn’t be alone if she broke her New Year’s resolutions, 80 percent of the resolutions made on Jan. 1 are broken by Jan. 20. Numerous people chose not to even worry about thinking of a New Year’s resolution because of failed resolutions over past years.

Lonoke County Sheriff Jim Roberson resolved to work on getting the jail finished and his New Year’s wish would be for three or four new (patrol) cars. The county hasn’t bought any in three or four years he said, and some of them have 225,000 miles on them.

Lonoke Mayor-elect Wayne McGee resolved to be a hands-on mayor, to be on the job all he can and to take control of spending and working more efficiently. Personally, McGee said he hopes to lose weight.

“I’m going to try to live as long as I can,” Lonoke County Judge Charlie Troutman resolved. “We will work as best we can with what we’ve got,” he said and resolved that the new frontage road along Hwy. 67/167 at Cabot would be finished by spring.

State Rep. Lenville Evans, D-Lonoke, says he’s not one that puts his resolutions out there to break them. In the General Assembly, he has some things he wants to accomplish, but wants to get some more input before he talks about them.

“I want to spend as much time as possible with my children and grandchildren and to remain active in church and community,” said state Rep. Bobby Glover, D-Carlisle.

Other resolutions?

“I want to be the very best senator possible on behalf of my constituents, provide them with the services they richly deserve,” Glover said. “I want to rid the sales tax on groceries and to make sure that we afford the very best public education on behalf of the young people in my district.”

State Sen. John Paul Capps, D-Searcy, says he doesn’t break New Year’s resolutions because he doesn’t make them, but he hopes to be “as good a person as I can. I want to work hard in the job the people have allowed me to have in the Senate, particularly for those who are the least among us.”

Capps said he hopes to bring more cohesion and less partisianship in the political arena and in office; personally, he hopes to enjoy life more and be more appreciative.

White County offices were supposed to close at noon on Friday, but 40 minutes after closing, Bob Parish, the outgoing county judge, was still packing up the memorabilia in his office in readiness for incoming Judge Michael Lincoln.

Parish, who did not seek reelection, said he’s had a good run.

“I lost some friends and made some friends, but that’s politics,” he said. “I did it my way. I made some mistakes just like the new judge will make some mistakes. But my door was always open. No one was ever closed out. If anyone had a problem, we talked it out and I did what was best for the county as a whole, what was best for everyone,” he said.

Parish said he doesn’t make New Year’s resolutions, but what he wishes for everyone is good health, without which little else is possible.

Lincoln, Parish’s successor said he has given a lot of thought to the New Year and his resolution is to be a peacemaker.
“That’s what’s been on my heart,” Lincoln said. “I want to offer the hand of compromise, the ear to hear different view points and the mouth to speak blessings.”

Mike Robertson, the incoming Mayor of Beebe, says he doesn’t make New Year’s resolutions because they are too easy to break.

But he says the thing he is hoping for in 2007 is cooperation.