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Stafford running against Terrill for District 12 seat on Washington County Quorum Court

by Tom Sissom | October 21, 2022 at 4:00 a.m.

FAYETTEVILLE -- Evelyn Rios Stafford faces William Terrill in the race for the District 12 seat on the Washington County Quorum Court.

Stafford, who currently serves on the Quorum Court, was unopposed for the position in the Democratic Party primary. Terrill had no opposition in the Republican primary.

"I'm running to continue the work I've been doing in the previous term to improve the lives of county residents, to improve the local economy and to fight for better wages for county employees," Stafford said.

Terrill didn't respond to five voicemail messages left during a two-week period on the phone number listed in the candidate information filed with the Washington County Clerk's Office seeking information about his candidacy.

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 currently has four Democrats and 11 Republicans.

District 12 includes parts of southeastern Fayetteville, east of Interstate 49.

Early voting starts Monday. Election Day is Nov. 8.

Stafford said she opposes the current proposal to expand the county's jail.

The Quorum Court in July approved 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.

Stafford said she's troubled by the sales tax increase and the size of the proposed expansion.

"I think this is the wrong time to be increasing the sales tax, when people are still suffering from the pandemic and with the recent spike in inflation," she said. "That would give us either the highest or one of the highest sales tax rates in Arkansas."

Stafford also said she thinks the county should explore alternatives to incarceration that could reduce the need for such a large expansion project.

"It's way too grandiose," she said. "It's adding about 92% more space. It's too big, and it's too much."

Stafford said she's also interested in how Washington County allocates its federal covid relief money. Washington County received more than $46 million in American Rescue Plan Act money, and more direct aid should go to local nonprofit groups that have borne the brunt of helping those impacted by the pandemic, she said.

"That money was given to the county to help our community recover from the pandemic," she said. "So far, the bulk of the money has not gone to help the community."

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 for each Quorum Court and committee meeting they attend.

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Evelyn Rios Stafford (D)

Age: 49

Residency: Four years in District 12

Occupation: Co-owner Blue Star Business Services

Education: Bachelor’s degree in English from Rice University, Houston, Texas

Political Experience: Washington County Quorum Court, 2021 to present; Fayetteville Housing Authority Board, 2018 to 2020


Print Headline: Stafford running against Terrill in District 12


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