BENTONVILLE -- Republican Richard McKeehan hopes to gain a second term, while Democrat Stephanie Zamarron believes she also has the credentials for the Benton County justice of the peace District 3 seat.
The district covers central Benton County, including west Rogers and a small area of south Bentonville.
The Quorum Court is the legislative body of county government and consists of 15 members called justices of the peace who are elected to two-year terms. Each justice of the peace represents a district of roughly equal population. The Benton County Quorum Court is made up of 15 Republicans.
Early voting starts Oct. 24. Election Day is Nov. 8.
Population growth in the county is putting a strain on infrastructure, McKeehan said. Cities are being asked to incorporate more area to serve more residents, he said.
The county should host a meeting of all city, county and certain state officials responsible for services. They should do long-range planning with a view toward achieving goals that are best for each area. They should include transportation, water and sewage facilities and overall county planning goals for several years, he said.
Zamarron said there is a need to plan ahead to ensure the safety and well-being of the community while being good stewards of taxpayer dollars. Being fiscally responsible with the taxpayers' revenue will facilitate more affordable housing, expand public transportation and ensure investment in education and job creation, she said.
One infrastructure concern facing the county is jail expansion, which will be on the ballot Nov. 8.
McKeehan said he favors a jail expansion focused on areas that are absolutely necessary, including additional cells, a kitchen area and medical-needs areas.
"I am not in favor of nonessential items that would add cost and manpower to operate," he said.
Zamarron opposes jail expansion.
The Quorum Court did not exhaust all possible remedies for jail overcrowding before resolving to raise sales and property taxes, she said. Benton County should expand pretrial services, consider alternative sentencing, create a mental health court and establish precharge diversions, she said.
"There are better uses for our taxpayers' monies than incarcerating our neighbors," she said. "We should be building our community, not jail cells."
"I have experience with two years on the court," McKeehan said. "I'm a native and longtime county resident, former Bentonville councilman, engineering company owner who designed subdivisions and commercial sites in Northwest Arkansas."
Zamarron said it is now time for her to give back to her community.
"My 10 years in the U.S. Army and Reserves as a combat medic and behavioral specialist have prepared me to tackle social issues by working with the experts in the local institutions," she said. "My leadership and skills from my military service along with my years of teaching and coaching youth make me the ideal candidate for the future of Benton County."
Benton County justices of the peace are paid $267 per meeting for Quorum Court, Committee of the Whole and Finance Committee meetings.
Justice of the Peace
Richard McKeehan (R)
Residence: Rogers since 2011; has been a resident of Bentonville and Rogers for over 50 years
Occupation: Retired from Walmart Stores and as owner of McKeehan Engineering
Education: Bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
Political experience: Bentonville City Council, 2000 to 2002; Benton County Quorum Court, 2020 to present
Stephanie Zamarron (D)
Residency: Rogers for five years
Occupation: Substitute teacher and science and quiz bowl coach at Haas Hall Academy at the Lane in Rogers
Education: Bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Kansas in Lawrence
Political Experience: None