Three candidates are vying for the Quorum Court’s 10th district currently held by Frances McGill, who is not seeking re-election. District 10 is made up of parts of Okolona and Gurdon.

Three candidates are vying for the Quorum Court’s 10th district currently held by Frances McGill, who is not seeking re-election. District 10 is made up of parts of Okolona and Gurdon.
The three candidates are Terry Hughes, Sherry Kelley and Rita Roe.
Voters in District 10 will choose on May 18 who they want to represent them on the county’s legislative body.

Terry Hughes
Road and jail conditions are the county’s biggest issues to Terry Hughes. Since he announced his candidacy, Hughes said constituents have stopped him to talk about roads being patched in their areas.
As for the jail, Hughes said he recently toured the jail after an invitation from Chief Deputy David Buck. “The roof leaks over there,” Hughes said. “When it rains, they have to set out trash barrels to catch the rain. That’s county property. If the roof leaks, pretty soon you won’t have a building.” Though it was built in 1986, Hughes said it is not a new building despite what many think. “Two years after it was built, it was completely obsolete” because of changes in jail standards like cell size and storage. “Another thing that was brought to my attention was, if we had our own kitchen we could save $21,000 a year.” Hughes proposes the kitchen area be built onto the jail where the Sally Port sits with three walls. Another door would have to be added to the jail for incoming and outgoing prisoners and jail staff, he said. “The county already owns the equipment needed except for a vent-a-hood. I intend to look into the roof situation and what we can do. I intend to find out both sides of the issue.”
In his district, he said, there is a “little flooding problem. There are at least three business I can think of that get flooded occasionally. There’s at least one road I know of without a drainage ditch on one side, and when it rains it washes the road out. I’m not certain those businesses are in my district, but it doesn’t matter. As a Quorum Court member, I would represent the whole county.
As for budget issues, Hughes said he would like to further research how the jail budget gets reimbursed for its expenses. “That money goes back into the General Fund instead of the Jail Fund, which seems like a poor business practice to me. It’s something I would want to look into.”
A general contractor, Hughes said he has “always had to be leader, no matter what I did.” At 21 years old and working for a large construction company, Hughes was called on in only a “matter of weeks” to supervise an entire crew of five carpenters and several laborers. “I’ve had to run entire projects, large and small, and get correct materials to do the proper job.”
Hughes said that on a daily basis he has to deal with property owners, architects and coordinate all subcontractors on any given job.
One recent project he recalled was a roofing job for the Gurdon School District in which the company had to construct a single roof on a number of spread-out buildings. “It was mathematically complicated,” he said. “But we did the project, and saved the Gurdon School District $200,000 … I’m always in charge.”

Sherry Kelley
Jobs, the jail, staffing of the sheriff’s department and county road conditions are the biggest issues in Clark County, according to Sherry Kelley.
Kelley said she recently surveyed 30 people in the county, “from the county judge to mayors and others,” about the county’s issues.
“The number-one issue on everybody’s minds is jobs and economic development,” she said. “We have had some growth — Drumco added jobs and Danfoss Scroll added jobs in the last couple of months — but I think that everybody wants more.”
The jail and sheriff’s department are “very important,” she said. “There are some challenges there.” With staffing, Kelley noted that, at a minimum of eight hours each day at different times, there is only one deputy on duty to patrol the entire county. “That concerns me,” Kelley said. “Also, there are some challenges at the jail from things like a leaky roof and mold.”
With road conditions, Kelley attributed any poor road conditions to last year’s record flooding. “Hopefully we’ll have a dry spell coming up, and road crews can repair damaged culverts, roads and bridges.”
Kelley addressed the fact that jobs and economic development “are not out of the realm of possibility” in her district. “I think we can strive for and expect job growth and development in District 10 in the Okolona and Gurdon communities.” She said Gurdon is a “prime location” for such development, with two places for possible railroad spurs (from the Gurdon-Whelen Springs line and the Gurdon-Glenwood line).
Now that the county is part of a regional intermodal authority, Kelley said development in the district is a “real possibility. Some of our targeted areas of growth for Clark County are alternative fuel sources and green building products. And we have great natural resources in District 10.”
Kelley attributed Georgia-Pacific’s ability to remain open while other plants in the area have closed to employee training. As a member of the Economic Development Corp. of Clark County, Kelley supported the funding for training at Georgia-Pacific. Calling the move an “investment,” Kelley said, “When we invest in our employees, we invest in our community.”
Tourism could also increase the district’s economy, she said, as the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is constructing a fishing peer at Gurdon Lake, and there is new playground equipment at Gurdon Park.
Kelley said she is also interested in expanding and developing festivals in the District 10 community and supporting youth activities, churches and volunteer fire departments. “As your representative, those things are important to me,” she said. “Any needs or ideas constituents have will be met with concern and enthusiasm.”
As for budget items, Kelley said she believes the county jail is important to the budget, whether its improvements or relocating is the topic.
“Seeking grants to fund these improvements or construction is important to me,” said Kelley, who recently toured the jail. “There are some pressing needs. I am also interested in seeking grants for any other concerns that our community might have. I feel grants, if they are available, help take the burden off taxpayers and stretch money further through matching dollars. It’s important to be innovative to make our money go further.”
Asked what leadership she has, Kelley noted she is a graduate of the inaugural class of Leadership Clark County, a nine-month course on the county’s history, industry and education that was developed to build future leaders.
Kelley said she has had “real world experience” from serving the last four years on the EDCCC, and has “gained support of others who are committed to the growth of our community. I’m a good listener. I’m motivated, and I like to motivate others. I’m also well connected through my 10 years of experience in radio.
“I meet with members of the community, from the Clark County Extension Service to church leaders, university presidents, the county’s office of emergency management, and city and county leaders. A radio host and news director at NOALMARK Broadcasting, Inc., Kelley said she does this “on a regular basis, and it is my job to know what’s going on in the county.”

Rita Roe
Everyone in the county knows the number-one issues is jobs,” said Rita Roe. “And other than that, the jail is also something that needs to be addressed so we’re not having to farm out prisoners to other counties.”
There are also road conditions Roe said she has concerns about, as well as “trying to get more money for the rural fire departments” for upgrades.
In her district, Roe attributed last year’s rainy weather to the disrepair to roads, culverts and bridges. “They need work on them — especially in the Gurdon area.”
Roe added that she would “like to see some businesses pick up here, just like all over Clark County.”
As for budget issues, “I think that one of the main things the Quorum Court needs to look at is the salaries that we pay our county employees. I think, if it’s possible, it’s important for some way to come up with some increases to be able to recruit and retain highly qualified personnel.”
Asked what leadership experience she has, Roe noted that she has a master’s degree in administration and has been an educator for 30 years, the last 13 of which she has been principal at Gurdon Primary School.
“My interest for this position is not based on an agenda that I have preset,” Roe added. “I want to be here to represent the people in my district and listen to them about the concerns and issues they want brought before the court, and to do my job to the best to my ability to represent them in those areas.”