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Little Rock mayor announces re-election bid

Daniel Breen
Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. announces his re-election bid in a news conference Tuesday.

Mayor Frank Scott Jr. says he is seeking a second term leading the city of Little Rock.

Scott announced his intention to seek re-election Tuesday, saying he would continue to make good on promises to improve public safety, grow the city’s economy and boost educational services.

Speaking near Little Rock’s Dunbar Magnet Middle School, Scott said he remains focused on many of the same goals when he first took office four years ago.

“And I made a promise to voters that I would do everything in my power to create jobs, strengthen our communities economically, grow our economic standing within the region and within this nation and this state, reform public safety, improve education and expand affordable housing… and I’m proud to say that I have kept my word,” Scott said.

Scott touted his accomplishments in police reform, education and attracting more than 7,000 new jobs to the city. He says he will continue to further his goal of investing in traditionally underserved parts of the city.

“Areas that for far too long have been neglected, and that’s the reason why we took those intentional steps. And that’s the reason why now you’re seeing that close to 55% of new business growth over the last year-and-a-half happened south of [Interstate] 630, east of I-30,” Scott said.

Scott said a key goal is to continue to spur business growth and development in the city’s southwest and eastern neighborhoods. He says that begins with ensuring the city’s police force is adequately staffed, but goes far beyond that.

“Because we can have 1,000 or 2,000 officers, but if we don’t address the root causes of the issues, whether it’s education, job opportunities, mentoring, understanding that we have to have more diversion projects to make sure our youth are not idle… that they know they don’t have to turn to a life of crime.”

Scott faces three challengers in the mayoral race: businessman Steve Landers, nonprofit founder Pamela Whitaker and food blogger Greg Henderson. Scott was one of four candidates for mayor in 2018, and became the city’s first popularly-elected Black Mayor after beating challenger Baker Kurrus in a runoff election.

Daniel Breen is a Little Rock-based reporter, anchor and producer for KUAR.