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story.lead_photo.caption Shirley Sandlin (from left), Sam Slaton and Jeff Wadlin

BENTONVILLE -- Voters in District 8 will decide a three-way race for a seat on the Benton County Quorum Court.

Shirley Sandlin, the incumbent and a Republican, faces Sam Slaton, a Democrat, and Jeff Wadlin, the Libertarian candidate in the Nov. 6 general election.

Shirley Sandlin (R)

(incumbent)

Age: 75

Residency: Bentonville and District 8 since 1971; Benton County since 1962.

Employment: Retired.

Education: Attended University of Arkansas

Political Experience: Benton County assessor for 20 years; Benton County Quorum Court since 2009.

Sam Slaton (D)

Age: 31

Residency: Has lived in the district since 2016.

Employment: Teacher, Thaden School in Bentonville.

Education: Bachelor of arts in creative writing and philosophy, University of Arkansas

Political Experience: None.

Jeff Wadlin (L)

Age: 47

Residency: Bentonville since 2017; Benton County since 2011.

Employment: Membership team with Sam’s Club.

Education: Master’s in business administration, Kellogg School of Business, Northwestern University.

Political Experience: None.

District 8 includes parts of northwestern Bentonville. Justices of the peace serve two-year terms and are paid $230 for each Quorum Court and Committee of the Whole meeting and $144 for meetings of other committees on which they serve.

Sandlin said she wants another term on the court because the county has several projects underway she would like to see to completion, especially the proposed new $30 million courts building.

"I would like to see that done or at least be off to a good start before I walk away," Sandlin said.

Sandlin said she is satisfied with the building design, and she favors the funding plan, which includes a temporary, one-eighth cent sales tax increase that is planned to be voted on in a special election in March 2019.

"I don't see Benton County slowing down as far as our growth. Certainly Bentonville is growing. With that, the need for court facilities is growing," she said. "I would like to know that our justice system is going to be prepared for that."

Slaton said he thinks the courts building's design meets the county's needs, and he would support the sales tax funding plan. Slaton said the courthouse is an important part of civic life and of downtown Bentonville as the county seat. For that reason, he said, the building has to be more than just a bare-boned structure.

"The building specs seem to satisfy the needs of the judges and their staffs and the people who work in the facility," he said. "My question is how does it fit in downtown? I hope the building will be viewed not as this 'citadel' the public can't go into but it should be 'knit into' the fabric of the downtown square."

Wadlin said he thinks the county needs a new courts building, but not the one that's being proposed.

""Do we need something? Absolutely. I've been on jury duty. It's cramped and not efficient. Does the county need something that requires a tax increase or long-term debt obligation? No," he said.

Wadlin said the county needs to reduce the cost of the project and to cut spending to allow it to be built within the county's existing revenues.

"It's not clear to me we need it to be a $30 million building. Does it need to be that elaborate. I'm also not convinced it needs to be downtown. Downtown Bentonville is a growing commercial district," he said. "Traffic is something we need to be concerned with and this is going to generate more traffic."

Early voting begins Oct. 22.

NW News on 10/11/2018

Print Headline: Three-way race for JP District 8

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