A local minister and former mascot for the University of Arkansas will run for City Council in Fayetteville’s Ward 4.
Nathan Allen, 29, will challenge incumbent Alderman Alan Long for the Position 2 seat in the Nov. 8 general election, he said this week.
Allen is an 11-year resident of Fayetteville who graduated from the University of Arkansas where he participated in the Razorback Marching Band and later became a mascot for the school. He is currently a minister at New Heights Church where he works as the Pastor of Young Professionals and a consultant for global missions.
Allen’s political experience has so far been limited to educating friends and family on political issues, but he said he’d like to become more involved.
“I now believe it is time to get off the sidelines and get in the game,” Allen said.
Allen didn’t mention any specific issues, but said he’s found some of the City Council’s recent decisions to be “extremely reckless and divisive” and said he would bring “some common sense” to the council if elected.
Allen said he has heard of “multiple businesses, opportunities, and potential residents” who have chosen to locate in other cities instead of Fayetteville because of their friendlier laws and less regulation.
Ward 4 contains a large portion of west Fayetteville, including Razorback Stadium, Holt Middle School, Holcomb Elementary School, and the Boys & Girls Club of Fayetteville.
The Position 2 seat is currently held by Alan Long, who won the seat in 2012 after defeating Mike Emery in a runoff election. As of Aug. 15, no other residents had filed for the position.
There are three other Position 2 seats up for grabs on Nov. 8, including those held by Sarah Marsh (Ward 1), Matthew Petty (Ward 2) and Martin Schoppmeyer (Ward 3). Marsh and Petty have said they will run for re-election, but Schoppmeyer will step down at the end of his first term in December. The City Clerk position, held by Sondra Smith, is also up for election.
The filing period for all municipal offices in the Nov. 8 election runs through Aug. 19.
Profile: Nathan Allen
Position sought: Ward 4, Position 2
Residency: Raised in NWA, lived in Fayetteville for 11 years
Employment: Minister at New Heights Church in Fayetteville
Education: B.A. History with a Minor in Political Science, from the University of Arkansas
Political Experience: None
What made you decide to seek election to the council? Is it something you’ve been considering for a while?
In the past, my political involvement was limited to registering people to vote in Fayetteville and helping to educate my friends and family on political issues. However, over the past couple years I have come to believe that it is my duty to seek the peace and prosperity of the city where I live, whether I am an elected official or not. However, I now believe it is time to get off the sidelines and get in the game. As a minister, it has been always been my privilege to serve people. I am excited for the opportunity to continue to serve people in an official civic capacity, as this is my first endeavor into professional politics.
Is there anything in particular that drove you to reside in Ward 4? How would you describe that part of town?
Many of my friends and family live in Ward 4 and I love living here. It is growing quickly and I would love for the chance to represent the great people that live in this part of town. I would say that Ward 4 has the greatest potential of any part of Fayetteville, and as our alderman, I would love to help aid our growth as much as possible.
Are there any recent council decisions you agree or disagree with? If so, please explain.
Over the past few years, a few of the City Council’s decisions have been extremely reckless and divisive. I would like to see some common sense brought to the City Council.
You don’t have to look too far to find many residents of Fayetteville who are upset with the current business climate in Fayetteville. Multiple businesses, opportunities, and potential residents pass over Fayetteville every year to move north to cities with friendlier laws and less regulation. I would like to see a reduction in excessive regulation and high taxation (Editor’s note: Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers, and Bentonville all collect the same 2 percent sales tax. When asked for clarification, Allen said he believes that both sales and property taxes are too high in Fayetteville, but added his bigger issue is “excessive spending.”).