BENTONVILLE -- Octavio Sanchez wants to retain his Ward 4, Position 1 seat on the Bentonville City Council. A former council member wants back in the game.
Sanchez faces off in the Nov. 8 election with Tom Hoehn. Sanchez has served on the council since 2015. Hoehn was appointed to the council in July 2017 to fill a vacancy but resigned a few months later upon taking a new job.
Early voting starts Oct. 24.
Traffic may be the biggest issue the city will continue to face in the foreseeable future, Sanchez said. The city must continue to address roads and bike trails, the timing of traffic lights and promoting good manners of drivers, bikers and pedestrians, he said.
"Public transportation is part of the solution, but it is expensive and sometimes difficult to accept due to its current limited offerings. City funding needs to continue supporting it," Sanchez said.
Flooding in some areas is another problem.
"A more extensive drainage maintenance program is also needed," he said.
The city has a hand in regulating construction, so it must simplify its processes, which will lead to more affordable housing, he said. The city's Housing Affordability Workgroup is studying options, "one of which may be a higher usage of smaller residential units added to the main residence," Sanchez said.
Sanchez wants to continue helping the city make the best decisions for all by listening to residents and being a voice for them.
"I have eight years of experience doing that," he said.
Hoehn said he believes in the following five priorities for Bentonville in the coming years: responsible growth, infrastructure, public safety, servant leadership and "y'all means all" -- meaning representing all voices, not just the loudest ones.
"I consider myself a pragmatic problem-solver," he said.
When it comes to affordable housing, Hoehn noted the Northwest Arkansas Council recently suggested, "The solution to the problem is to adapt living spaces and neighborhoods to the way people want to live differing from neighborhoods of either all single-family homes or multistory apartment buildings."
City government can help by supporting affordable housing options, he said. Recent developments have included "workforce housing" options for qualified renters -- a positive step, he said.
Hoehn said he is running because "we call Bentonville home."
"Taking care of that home is a duty for us all," he said. "I am proud of the progress Bentonville has made, managing to both rapidly grow and maintain its welcoming attitude for new residents who have come from far and wide."
Hoehn said he has held leadership roles at large companies and managed multimillion-dollar budgets.
Council members are elected at-large in the city but represent wards. There are two members from each ward for a total of eight council members. Members must live in the ward they represent. They receive $808 per month.
Visit https://bit.ly/3Ek3RCJ to view council ward boundaries.
Bentonville City Council, Ward 4, Position 1
Residency: Bentonville for more than 25 years
Occupation: Retired in 2021 as a database administrator for Walmart
Education: Master’s degree in information systems from the Monterrey Institute of Technology in Mexico
Political Experience: Bentonville City Council since 2015. Ran unsuccessfully for Benton County Quorum Court in 2012
Residency: Bentonville for 10 years
Occupation: Executive vice president, digital and social, 4media group
Education: Bachelor’s degree from Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, N.Y.
Political experience: Appointed to Bentonville City Council; served July to November 2017