In an unexpected announcement, Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola said he will not seek a fourth term. In an e-mail released on Tuesday morning, Stodola said he'll step aside at the completion of his term because an immediate family member received a serious medical diagnosis.
Stodola issued a letter to the denizens of the Capitol city.
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE CITIZENS OF LITTLE ROCK
I am announcing today that I will not be seeking a fourth term as Mayor of Little Rock. A very recent, serious medical diagnosis involving one of my immediate family members has caused me to take stock of the future and make a decision that is best for my family at this time. In light of this new development, I have decided to cap my time as your mayor at the end of this term.
It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as your mayor over the last 12 years. It is a job I love. Together, we have tackled many important issues and projects in our city, transforming our many quality of life attractions, finding ways to fund our city’s infrastructure needs, creating jobs and investing in our young people with public safety as a top priority. I am proud of this city and what we as a community have helped shape. I am confident in a bright future.
This has been a very difficult decision and I want to thank all of my many supporters for the faith and confidence you have placed in me. I truly regret disappointing you by not running. While I am confident we would be successful in November, I must absolutely do what is best for my family at this time.
As for me, I will return to the private sector and continue to pursue opportunities to develop new relationships with businesses and national organizations who are also committed to improving people's lives in communities across the United States. Between now and the end of the year, we will continue to work tirelessly to build a better city and as President of the National League of Cities, I will continue to showcase our city and its successes.
As for the future, as the old adage goes, “Once a mayor, always a mayor” so I will continue to find ways to stay involved in building the city I love and have dedicated myself to improving. As for politics, there are important races that occur every two years so I will stay engaged in the dialogue that will help direct our future.
I am blessed to be a part of this city and our many accomplishments and most happy to have been a part of it along with my hardworking colleagues on the City Board of Directors. Thank you for the opportunity to serve. Jo Ellen and I will be forever indebted to you.
Stodola's re-election effort was expected to be among the tougher and costlier races in the state next November. State Rep. Warwick Sabin and banker and state Highway Commissioner Frank Scott have both formed well funded exploratory committees.