Leader Blues

Monday, February 16, 2009

TOP STORY >> Brooks is latest to run for mayor

Beckie Brooks, a local realtor and longtime Jack-sonville activist, is running for mayor to succeed Tommy Swaim, who is resigning. A special election will be held May 12.

“I want them to feel the city is theirs again,” she said, referring to residents. “It’s not that way anymore.”

Although she said she appreciates the work of the present mayor, Brooks believes “there are a number of issues that could renew and reenergize the citizens of Jacksonville.”

She wants the city to be “more user friendly.”

A strong supporter of the Main Street overpass, Brooks now believes that “the opening of the Graham Road railroad crossing is crucial to revitalizing the southeastern section of Jacksonville, including Sunnyside Hills Addition.”

“This has hurt too many people,” she said, referring to the closing. “Having support in city hall would help the effort” to reopen the crossing.

Brooks wants to eliminate the city’s privilege license, saying that “one should not have to pay a tax to do business in the city.”

“Citizens need to be more appreciative of government,” Brooks said, “and government, at the same time, should never forget that it works for and serves the public.”

Brooks supports an independent Jacksonville school district, as well as charter schools in the city. She wants more programs for the elderly, including citywide transportation to every neighborhood and assist them in other ways so they live at home as long as possible.

She said she wants to maintain a strong relationship with Little Rock Air Force Base.

She was instrumental in the cleanup of the old Vertac chemical plant.

The owner of Beckie Brooks Real Estate Co., she has been in business in Jacksonville since 1975, first operating a business with her husband, Harold, and then as a local realtor.

A former teacher at Homer Adkins and Warren Dupree Elementary schools, Brooks graduated from Arkansas State Teachers College (now UCA) with a degree in home economics.

Local builder and Alderman Gary Fletcher, developer Tommy Dupree and Alderman Kenny Elliot have filed their required petition of signatures with the Pulaski County clerk as candidates for mayor.

The clerk’s office has certified all three candidates.

The filing period started Tuesday and runs until noon March 2.

Jacksonville residents interested in running for mayor in the special election need to turn in a petition with at least 30 signatures of Jacksonville residents who are registered voters.

Two other residents—motorcycle minister Randy (Doc) Rhodd and former police Lieutenant Bill Shelly – have also announced their intentions to run for the spot being vacated by Swaim.

Swaim announced in January that he would retire from his $95,000 job come July 1.