Ecke seeks fifth term, faces Mapa in contest for District 6 seat on Washington County Quorum Court

Justice of the Peace Lisa Ecke (left) faces newcomer Michael Mapa in the race for the District 6 seat on the Washington County Quorum Court.
Justice of the Peace Lisa Ecke (left) faces newcomer Michael Mapa in the race for the District 6 seat on the Washington County Quorum Court.

SPRINGDALE -- Justice of the Peace Lisa Ecke faces newcomer Michael Mapa in the race for the District 6 seat on the Washington County Quorum Court.

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. The 15-member Washington County Quorum Court has four Democrats and 11 Republicans.

Mapa is a Democrat and Ecke a Republican. District 6 includes parts of southeast Springdale, east of Thompson Street and south of Robinson Avenue.

Early voting will start Monday. Election Day is Nov. 8.

Mapa said he's running as a continuation of the community service he began working with a local food pantry. He said he wants to provide a voice to the growing Marshallese community.

"I'm a Marshallese, and there's never been a Marshallese running for the Quorum Court," he said. "With the number of Marshallese growing, I want to make sure all voices are heard in our local government."

Ecke said she has fought for positive change on the Quorum Court, pointing to a new salary structure being considered and higher pay for employees. She wants to continue that work, she said.

"I've been making hard decisions," Ecke said. "I've been on the Quorum Court since 2015, and my constituents tell me they want us to make the tough decisions, not to talk everything to death."

The candidates have differing positions on one of the largest issues facing Washington County, a proposal to expand the county's jail.

The Quorum Court in July approved an ordinance setting a Nov. 8 special election on a proposal to issue up to $113.5 million in bonds for a jail expansion and up to $28.5 million in bonds for a Juvenile Justice Center expansion project. The bonds would be paid by a 0.25% sales tax increase that would expire when the bonds are paid.

Ecke said her view is the jail expansion is needed as a matter of public safety. She said allowing voters to make the decision is the right way to decide the question.

"When I came on the Quorum Court they were discussing this," she said. "So the voters will be the ones to decide. I'm glad the decision will be theirs, and it will be final."

Mapa said he opposes the sales tax increase, saying many people are still suffering from impact of the covid-19 pandemic and in District 6 residents are still recovering from a tornado that hit Springdale in March.

"I think we should invest in the community, in health clinics, mental health clinics, work to create jobs to provide people with a livable wage," he said.

Mapa said he wants to make county government more inclusive of everybody in the area. He said the county needs translators in government buildings to help people who speak Spanish or Marshallese as a first language.

Ecke said she wants to see county government continue to value its employees and to improve the services it offers to a growing region.

Each justice of the peace represents a district of roughly equal population. Redistricting for justice of the peace seats took place late last year.

Washington County justices of the peace are paid $200 per Quorum Court and committee meeting they attend.

Washington County Justice of the Peace

District 6

Michael Mapa (D)

Age: 37

Residency: Springdale since 2012

Occupation: Material handler at Marshall Town, independent accountant/tax preparer

Education: Attended Bryant & Stratton College, Richmond, Va., campus

Political rxperience: None

Lisa Ecke (R)

Age: 61

Residency: Springdale since 2004

Occupation: Co-owner of a food service company

Education: Associate degree from Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas

Political experience: Washington County Quorum Court, 2015 to present


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