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Jones, Vella seek Benton County District 8 justice of the peace seat

by Mike Jones | October 12, 2022 at 2:00 a.m.
Republican Joel Jones (left) will face Democrat Carol Vella for the Benton County District 8 justice of the peace seat in the November general election.

BENTONVILLE -- Republican Joel Jones will face Democrat Carol Vella for the Benton County District 8 justice of the peace seat in the November general election.

The district covers mainly Bentonville, along with a small portion of southwestern Little Flock and northwest Rogers. Its southern border is at Arkansas 102. The northern border is at Northwest 12th Street and Tiger Boulevard.

Early voting starts Oct. 24. Election Day is Nov. 8.

The Quorum Court is the legislative body of county government and is composed of 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.

The biggest issue facing the county in the next five years is growth, said Jones, who serves on the Quorum Court.

"The county will need to continue to work on infrastructure projects as the unincorporated areas of the county continue to see population and business growth," he said. "The county will need to continue the road improvement and maintenance program. The county will need to continue to evaluate ways to help rural water. The county will need to address the growing needs of the law enforcement and judicial systems."

Jones is in favor of jail expansion, which voters will decide on funding Nov. 8.

The jail is over capacity. This is causing major issues throughout the judicial system for all entities within the county, he said.

"The Quorum Court and county is charged with maintaining a jail and judicial facilities sufficient for the county. We are currently insufficient and need to correct that by expanding the jail," he said.

Jones said he is the better candidate for District 8 because he wants to continue to serve the people of Benton County.

"My experience and record as a JP for almost 10 years shows that I'm the best candidate for this position," he said.

Vella said as the area continues to grow, there needs to be an investment in infrastructure such as public transportation, sufficient child care, technology and low-cost housing options.

"We are well-positioned to welcome families to our community, but in order to sustain the growth and retain transplants, we must invest in the future," she said.

Vella is against expanding the jail.

"We need to do everything possible to avoid a tax increase, especially during times of inflation when many families are choosing between gas and food," she said. "Secondly, I think we owe it to our residents to first solve some of the issues, including failure to appear, that cause crowding in our jail before we consider a jail expansion."

Vella said she is the better candidate for District 8 because she cares about the community.

"I want to invest my time and passion to ensure that we are successful as a community," she said. "I bring a unique perspective as a businesswoman, nonprofit leader, parent, foster parent and refugee co-sponsor. I excel by bringing divergent opinions together to find creative solutions to problems. I plan to do the same on the Quorum Court. I'm eager to work with residents and fellow JPs to spend our tax dollars wisely after thorough research and consideration of all options."

Benton County justices of the peace are paid $267 per meeting of the Quorum Court, Committee of the Whole and Finance Committee.

Benton County

 Justice of the Peace, District 8

Joel Jones (R)

Age: 40

Residency: Bentonville for four years

Occupation: Small business owner and freight broker

Education: Bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

Political Experience: Benton County Quorum Court, 2011 to 2018 and 2021 to present

Carol Vella (D)

Age: 40

Residency: Bentonville for nine years

Occupation: Works at Walmart in marketing with a focus in diversity, equity and inclusion

Education: Master of business administration degree from Washington University in St. Louis; bachelor’s degree from New York University in New York City

Political Experience: None


Print Headline: Jones, Vella seek District 8 JP seat


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