FAYETTEVILLE -- Patrick Deakins and Dana Reynolds are running for the District 5 seat on the Washington County Quorum Court.
Incumbent Joe Patterson, a Republican, is not seeking re-election. The district is the northeastern corner of the county.
Dana Reynolds (D)
Residency: East of Nob Hill and in the district for 28 years.
Employment: Mobile app usability researcher for WalmartLabs; Transformation coach and hypnotherapy.
Education: Bachelor’s degree in art education from University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.
Political Experience: None.
Patrick W. Deakins (R)
Residency: North of Sonora and in the district for 7 years.
Employment: Certified public accountant at Reece Moore Pendergraft LLP in Fayetteville.
Education: Bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting from Oklahoma State University.
Political Experience: None.
Deakins, vice chairman of the county Republican Committee, said he decided to run after attending several Quorum Court meetings and speaking with constituents about what they wanted to see addressed.
"The people want essential services taken care of: good quality roads and bridges, emergency services and law enforcement," he said.
Beyond that, there needs to be a serious conversation about what the county spends taxpayers' money on, Deakins said. "I didn't get a good sense that (justices of the peace) were keeping their eye on the ball."
Raising sales tax and the property millage would be a drastic, last resort measure, he said.
Deakins' experience as a certified public accountant will help when it comes to looking at the budget in detail for places to trim spending, he said.
Reynolds, a Democrat, said she has no political aspirations but felt more of a civic duty to run.
"It sought me out and I said yes. I wanted to make sure there was an alternative choice for our district," she said. "I would definitely be honored to serve."
Reynolds said she does not have one issue at the top of her priorities list if she gets elected.
"Coming in with a pet project pushes other things to the side that are every bit as important," she said. "I want to look at the big picture and see how we can allocate resources to make the biggest difference."
Reynolds lives on a small farm, and said she understands those who choose to live in the rural part of the county do so for a reason.
"The area is growing so fast and one thing that tears at me is growth at the sacrifice of our natural beauty and resources," she said. "That's probably what's most near to my heart: preserving and promoting natural resources and farms."
Both candidates want to keep all the options on the table and find creative solutions to solve the issue of crowding at the county jail. Both said they would need to delve into the nuances of the situation before weighing in on a solution they would support.
"What I am worried about is that the situation is getting so critical," Deakins said. "We need to understand what would be a short time fix and what could solve problems down the road. I haven't heard anything specifically that excites me."
Reynolds could support a tax increase if it was for a viable solution, she said, but would like to consider several small changes to ease the crowded conditions.
"There is likely not a single solution," she said.
Justices of the peace serve two-year terms and are paid $200 per meeting.
The election is Nov. 6. Early voting begins Oct. 22.NW News on 10/16/2018
Print Headline: District 5 JP candidates speak for rural residents, they say