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Veteran, deputy city attorney in Springdale seeking spot on Fayetteville City Council

by Stacy Ryburn | July 20, 2023 at 1:30 a.m.
David Dero Phillips

FAYETTEVILLE -- A veteran and deputy city attorney in Springdale is seeking a spot on the Fayetteville City Council.

David Dero Phillips, 61, said he intends to run for the Ward 1, Position 1 seat vacated by Sonia Harvey. Phillips said he has lived in Fayetteville since 2006 but is a lifelong resident of Northwest Arkansas.

Phillips is a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Army Military Police Corps and was at the Pentagon during the attacks on Sept. 11. He recalled being about 20 feet away from the crashed American Airlines Flight 77 that hit the building.

Phillips returned to the region after serving in the military to care for his elderly father, and he and his wife moved into her family home in south Fayetteville.

Phillips said he wants to be involved in the issues facing the city and shaping its future. He cited homelessness as a health and safety issue that needs to be resolved. Service organizations are overwhelmed and need more financial support, he said. Concentrations of people living near trails pose risks to their lives and others, he said.

At the same time, the city should not spend taxpayer money on a laundry list of expensive endeavors, Phillips said. He praised the number of amenities in Fayetteville but said often the money could be put to better use.

"Some of these other things that would be strictly government-funded that have marginal benefit, I'd be very leery of that," he said.

He said the city should strive for a balance between development and green space, preserving what makes the city a desirable place to live while also encouraging growth.

Ward 1 covers most of the southern part of the city, including 15th Street, South School Avenue, Huntsville Road and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Notable landmarks include Walker Park, Lake Sequoyah, Kessler Mountain Regional Park, Fayetteville High School and Ramay Junior High.

The special election will be held Nov. 14. Candidates have until noon Tuesday to collect at least 30 signatures from Ward 1 residents to qualify for the ballot. Ballot position drawing will happen on or before Aug. 1.

Artist and small business owner Bob Stafford also has announced his candidacy for the position.

City Council members serve four-year terms and earn $16,214 per year. The positions are nonpartisan. Only voters who live within a candidate's ward can vote in the special election.

The term ends Dec. 31, 2026.

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