How long have you lived in Siloam Springs?
"Since 1981, except for about seven years away from Siloam (since then). I lived in Dallas for about five years, lived in Fayetteville for about two years, so (collectively) it has been 30-plus years."
With the 2018 midterm elections approaching, there is a vacancy to fill for the seat representing citizens in Ward 1, as the current director of that ward, Steve Beers, has announced he does not plan on running again. This vacancy has prompted three individuals to attempt to replace Beers, and per city regulations, a primary must be held to narrow this number down to two candidates, who will move on to the general election in November. The primary will take place on Aug. 14, and names on the ballot will be Fares Trinidad, Mindy Hunt and former Siloam Springs Mayor David Allen. As part of an effort to help citizens make an informed decision in the voting booth, the Herald-Leader sat down with each of the three candidates to get a better understanding of who they are, their background and the way in which they might use that position to better quality of life for this ward and the community at large. During the interview process, although each candidate was asked the same questions, some of the questions have been modified due to their responses and follow-up questions that were asked. Listed below are the questions that were asked of the candidates along with direct transcriptions of their responses.
• Are you originally from the Northwest Arkansas area?
"I am, grew up in Fayetteville, moved here my sophomore year of high school, and then graduated from high school and John Brown. Then I did my five year stint in Dallas and moved back to the area. But, I was in Fayetteville for a couple of years before my husband and I moved back to Siloam Springs but yeah, overall it has been over 30 years I think.
• What were you doing in Dallas during that time?
"After graduating college, I went there to find work."
• Are you married with children or grandchildren?
"I am, my husband Michael and I celebrated our 25th anniversary in January, and we have two kids: Jordan who will be 22 in August, she will be graduating from John Brown in December, and my son Joshua will be a sophomore in college at John Brown."
• What are your hobbies/interests?
"I like reading. I like walking. I like biking. I enjoy spending time with friends, just things like that."
• Are you involved in any civic organizations or engaged in any sort of civic programs?
"Currently, I am on the advisory committee for the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Siloam Springs here in town. I am also involved with the Odyssey of the Mind program, I am on the board of directors for that. Those are current positions, (but) most of my positions in the community were in the school district. From the time my kids were in kindergarten, I was PTO president or some officer in the PTO organization. I was also a leader, if not president in several booster clubs. Then, when my son graduated in May of 2017, I took a year off of that kind of community engagement and now I am just kind of getting back into the swing of things again with the Big Brother and Big Sister Advisory Council."
• What is your employment background?
"I celebrated my 20th year at John Brown University last year, last April, so I have been there 21 years now. I have worked in the college of business for three years. Previous to that, I worked for the graduate school, and then previous to that (I worked in the) degree completion program. So, I have worked in those capacities at John Brown for 20-plus years, all of them sort of in the business-related area, and prior to that I worked for a management consulting company in Dallas."
• What is your current position?
"I am the coordinator for assessment research. (When I say that) most people look at me with glass-eyes, but I enjoy it. It is detail-oriented, and involves working with other people to find all of the information that we need to put together for reports and for our credit agencies."
• What is your educational background?
"I received a bachelor's in broadcasting from John Brown University, and then I moved to Dallas, worked there for about a year before pursuing a master's degree in vocational education from the University of North Texas."
• Can you name three strengths that you possess that make you a qualified candidate to represent Ward 1?
"Yes. I listen well. I enjoy talking to people, finding out what they want and listening to what they are doing or listening to what they want. I also feel like I work hard and feel like I am financially responsible, which is a big thing. I like to listen to what people want and then do my best to put things into action that both people want but are also financially feasible. So, financially responsible, I listen well, I work hard and I tend to get things done."
• What is your reasoning for wanting to represent Ward 1?
"Well, and it is weird how to answer that as well. I was actually approached by the previous representative for Ward 1."
• Steve Beers?
"Yes, Steve, and so he actually approached me and two or three others in our district about the possibility of running since he had decided not to run again, and so that is sort of what got me thinking about it. I am not a politician, so I am getting outside of my comfort zone a little bit. I do not consider it as political as (other) positions, but I know it is an election. I am getting outside of my comfort zone a little bit, but it is time for me to get involved again, I have had my little bit of a break and this seems like a way to do it. My volunteer work has been focused on mostly the school district as I said, and so I am heading in a new direction now I guess."
• What do you feel are the most important changes that need to be made to the city and/or Ward 1?
"Quite honestly, I feel like we have made so many improvements in the last few years and we are heading in a good direction. Obviously the city is growing and I think we are for the most part keeping up with that growth. But honestly, as far as what kinds of things I feel like need to be done, I think a lot of that is going to depend on what people in the community tell me they feel like needs to be done and then weighing those things, and I will be specifically interested in what the people in my ward are interested in. When I look at the community I do not see drastic changes that need to be made, except for continuing the improvement process that is already in place, but there are things that I may not know that people may bring to my attention; that is where I think the fact that I am willing to listen will come in. I am going to listen and then speak on behalf of the people that are talking to me. I don't really know if that really answers your question, but I could say that I think we need such and such here. But that may not be what everybody else thinks we need, and so I would rather listen to what the people want and head in that direction."
• Is there anything else that you would like to add that I have not asked or that we have not discussed?
"No, I do not think so. I think they will have enough information to make an informed decision."
General News on 08/01/2018
Print Headline: City Board candidate Mindy Hunt