The race for the Ward 1 alderman seat includes candidates Lloyd A. Holcomb Jr., Jean Painton, Milton H. Jenkins, Melanie D. Perkins and Alfred Carroll.
Lloyd A. Holcomb Jr., the son of current Ward 1 Alderman Irene Holcomb, said he is proud of his mother’s accomplishments but looks to carve out his own legacy.
“I love Pine Bluff and have been a resident of the First Ward for over 37 years,” Holcomb said. “I want to represent the First Ward into a new generation of progress. My campaign theme is ‘A new voice; a new vision; a new brand of politics.’ I intend to move forward in making this city a better place for everyone. We need to reduce crime and make the quality of living better for all residents and put Pine Bluff back on the right track.”
Holcomb said that if elected he will work for the betterment of Pine Bluff’s citizens by working to enhance legislation already in place.
Jean Painton said she envisions a Pine Bluff that includes a vibrant, livable downtown that offers an upscale nightlife scene. Painton said that goal can be achieved by working to put neighborhoods in order and get ahead of crime.
“I’m running because this city needs a change,” Painton said. “I am chairman of the Crime Advisory Commission. I feel that through the Commission, we can bring together the police and fire departments, the inspection department and landlords to work together to clean up our neighborhoods.”
Painton said that crime can be significantly reduced by demolishing abandoned houses and closing down drug houses.
“If elected, I plan to work very closely with Neighborhood Watch groups because they are the eyes and ears of the neighborhood,” Painton said.
Painton said she is excited about the potential for downtown development.
“I think that the most exciting we have going is new interest in downtown,” Painton said. “Nine buildings have been sold and there are plans for a state-of-the-art theater that will attract big acts. People are buying these buildings and restoring them.”
Painton said that she wants to work to get buses heading to Branson, Mo., to stop in Pine Bluff to see a show, eat dinner and stay overnight.
“This will give a shot in the arm to economic development in Pine Bluff,” Painton said.
Milton H. Jenkins said he believes in leading by example and wants to use a seat on the City Council to encourage community service for the betterment of all.
“We need to get more involved with addressing the problems that exist in our community,” Jenkins said. “We need to pull the community together to help itself. I am not one of those who feel that work begins and ends at City Council meetings. We need our aldermen to be more visibly involved in the community. We need to let people know that we need to be more proactive in whatever problems we have to deal with.
“It is critical that candidates are accountable to the community,” Jenkins said. “People need to be more committed to helping the community. The automatic candidates tend to spend all of their efforts at the City Council level. I won’t be doing that. I will be on the ground in the community. In the spirit of President John F. Kennedy, I ask not what your community can do for you, but what you can do for your community.”
Jenkins said that it is his hope that winning a seat on the City Council will allow him to unify people to help the community.
“Too many of our children are being lost to the criminal justice system,” Jenkins said. “The safety net has some holes in it. We need to put the nets in place or mend them so children will stop falling through.”
Melanie D. Perkins wants Pine Bluff to regain its sense of pride.
“I am a native of Pine Bluff and a graduate of Pine Bluff High School,” Perkins said. “I decided to stay in Pine Bluff and I have seen the city going through struggles. I want to get Pine Bluff back to how it used to be so that the citizens can gain a sense of pride.”
Perkins said that Pine Bluff needs to get its morale back.
“If elected, I will push to implement more Neighborhood Watch groups and make sure that they are being enforced,” Perkins said. “I also want to do something for the police force so that they have some type of leadership. I want them to see that the citizens and city leaders are behind them.”
Perkins said that she is also involved with the youth.
“Everything starts with them,” Perkins said. “How can we expect them to follow our lead if we are not leading by example? I will work to the best of my ability for the city and the people. I just love my city.”
Alfred Carroll said he believes his past experience and his ability to translate ideas into action make him the right choice for Ward 1.
“I’m the only one of the five candidates that put out tangible kinds of ideas to make a positive impact on this ward,” Carroll said. “I have put out the most comprehensive information on those ideas. I have not wavered from my focus on education, the economy, the elderly and the youth. We’ve been able to articulate well-thought-out plans on how we will go about doing what we said we will do. I don’t think the other candidates have given thought to the actual nuts and bolts of taking a concept from beginning to accomplishing what you say you will do.”
Carroll said his experience as a member of the Jefferson County Quorum Court, as an educator and as a minister have given him the tools to succeed as an alderman.
“In each area, one could say that I consistently get things done by challenging myself and those around me to do better, to give more and to do more,” Carroll said.