Washington County Offices

This is an archived endorsement from the 2016 elections.

VOTE FOR Issue #1 - County Office Term Length

There are several issues before voters this November.  The first one extends the term of most county offices from the current two-year term to a four-year term.  As it stands, our county administrative officials take office and have only about 11 months before they have to file for their party’s primary to get re-elected.  They spend more than half of their time in office running for office instead of doing the job that we elect them for.  This issue will not affect the terms of Justices of the Peace (the legislators of the county), who will continue to run for two-year terms.  A vote FOR Issue #1 will allow our county staff to conduct business without the constant cost of turnover at the top levels.

ELECT Mark Kinion for County Judge

The County Judge is the chief operating officer of the county.  Think “mayor” not “courtroom”.  Fayetteville Alderman Mark Kinion is the perfect candidate for this job!  A life-time resident of Washington County, Alderman Kinion has twice been elected to the Fayetteville City Council where he has served as a voice of reason, responsibility, and compassion.  His family roots are deep in rural Washington County’s Rhea’s Mill community so both city and rural residents can trust Mark Kinion to understand and represent their diverse interests.

The other candidate, Joseph Wood, was late to the race after the previous Republican nominee withdrew.  Unfortunately, that has left little opportunity for voters to get to know Wood and he hasn’t been making things any easier. You can see his face on signs across the county, but he hasn’t answered our calls or questionnaires, and he was a no-show at the Chamber of Commerce forum on Monday.  Mr. Wood is a Deputy Secretary of State and he works down in Little Rock, so we can understand that it’s hard for him to get back up here to talk about his plans for Washington County.  Wood has already announced his intention to run for Secretary of State in 2018, so it’s hard to imagine his heart is really in this race.  (He would have to vacate this post halfway through his term if Issue #1 passes.)

Alderman Kinion is a known quantity and there is no doubt he’s invested in doing the job of County Judge.  He brings corporate executive experience and professionalism to an Quorum Court that needs solid leadership.  During his tenure on City Council, he has demonstrated everything our county needs in its next executive.  Want to know how he will go about staffing?  Watch him at work on the Nominating Committee.  Worried about county services?  Kinion is chairman of Fayetteville’s Sewer and Solid Waste committee and works tirelessly to protect critical environmental situation around the White River.  Animal Services. University relations. Vice Mayor… the list goes on and on.  He is easily accessible to the people, knowledgeable about the issues, and you should VOTE Mark Kinion for Washington County Judge.



RE-ELECT County Assessor Russell Hill

The County Assessor’s office determines what your property is worth, an important part of our tax funding system.  It is an administrative office with 34 employees tasked to calculate math formulas established by law. There is limited discretion afforded to the elected official, who is basically an office manager.  To be honest, we aren’t sure why the Assessor it is a partisan elected position, except as a constitutional anachronism.

Both candidates for this office have excellent, but different, experience and credentials.  Assessor Russell Hill was a minister with a construction company before he took office two years ago.  Carol Waddle just retired from a full career in the real-estate industry with experience originating mortgages and writing property titles.  Waddle is running to offer her professional experiences as public service.  This has become Hill’s full-time career, and that’s probably why he’s working so hard putting his full-color signs all over town.  Whoever holds the office has a job tightly prescribed by law.  Either one would do a fine job managing the staff, but one

of them has already.

When you make your decision on this race, it will probably come down to your own party registration:  If you are a Democrat, vote for Carol Waddle.  If you are a Republican, vote for Russell Hill.  If party politics at the county level aren’t important to you and you think staff would benefit from continuity of leadership, then re-elect Russell Hill.  He’s done a successful job for two years, and we expect he will continue to do so for two or

four more.

RE-ELECT Justice of the Peace Daniel Balls
Quorum Court District 8

JP Daniel Balls has already served a term on the Quorum Court (like the city council for the county) and we appreciate his approach to problem solving.  He brings an analytical by-the-numbers strategy that will be essential in upcoming conversations about employee compensation and benefits packages, and the entire county budget in general.  We appreciate his commitment to paid parental leave, pay equity, and making sure that we attract and retain the best county employees.

For Fayetteville likes representatives that are accessible to constituents, and that is another big reason we endorse JP Balls.  His opponent, Samuel Taylor, did not receive our questionnaire because he seems to be totally off the grid: no web presence, no social media, no emails or phone contacts.  We were able to catch up with him at the Chamber of Commerce forum where his entire platform seemed to revolve around eliminating taxes and lower pay for employees.  When asked about constituent communication, the only thing Mr. Taylor had to offer was “I go into local businesses and ask them what issues are important to them.”

JP Balls can be easily contacted by phone or email.  And you can find him at almost any community event, meeting every-day people and listening to their concerns.  So unless you happen to be one of the few local business owners that Mr. Taylor chooses to grace with his presence, we think you should definitely vote to re-elect Daniel Balls for JP District 8.

ELECT Joe Kieklak for Justice of the Peace
Quorum Court District 11

Joe Kieklak is a recent graduate of the UA Political Science department now working for Fayetteville Parks & Recreation.  He brings a strong understanding of local government and personal familiarity with the issues facing residents of District 11, which includes the University of Arkansas campus and surrounding student housing.

We listened to Kieklak and opponent, Patrick Briney, at the Chamber of Commerce candidate forum where a surprising portion of the debate was concentrated on an audience question about same-sex marriages.  JPs have the authority to conduct wedding ceremonies and Briney, a minister, intends to abstain from offering services in his capacity as a JP while continuing to wed straight couples only through his church.  Kieklak offered an enthusiastic pledge to execute the full duties of his office, “conduct any legal marriage” and to “work hard for every single resident.”

Kieklak continues that theme throughout his platform, promising plans for a robust approach to homelessness, a focus on county support for sexual assault prevention in the University community, and collaboration with the city of Fayetteville to help meet their recycling and waste diversion goals.  Briney’s policy proposals mostly centered around slashing taxes and cutting services, suggesting several times that the county should close the animal shelter and privatize many other county operations.  While Briney’s plans would be dangerous to the financial stability, infrastructure, and community safety of Washington County, Kieklak takes a people-first approach.  That’s why we encourage you to vote for Joe Kieklak for JP District 11.

Justices of the Peace 
are elected by district
Voters must live 
within the boundaries 
as shown on the map.

Daniel Balls
for JP District 8

Joe Kieklak
for JP District 11