Banker Frank Scott, Jr. is considering entering the Little Rock mayoral race. The life-long Little Rock resident said on Tuesday he’s exploring a 2018 bid. His interest follows announcements by state Representative Warwick Sabin and Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola.
Scott says facilitating economic development through infrastructure improvement is a top priority. The former State Highway Commissioner is in favor of one such project – the widening of Interstate 30 through downtown – that has met opposition in public comments to the regional transportation planning agency Metroplan.
“It’s a big deal and so many voices have to be heard. Many voices were heard and during that process we had several iterations to make certain that as a member of the Highway Commission we responded to the community. We responded to their engagement and we listened. We made certain we put as much attention to those details, as long as they fitted within the realm of budgeting, finance, engineering, and things of that nature,” Scott told KUAR.
Scott’s potential contender, state Representative Warwick Sabin, has opposed the I-30 widening project while Mayor Stodola has supported it with changes. Many neighborhood groups remain opposed to the plan despite some changes. READ MORE ABOUT THE I-30 DEBATE HERE.
Scott also lists improving public safety as a major plank. He says crime is generally caused by underlying issues like a lack of education and job prospects. Scott’s first priority is filling vacancies in the LRPD ranks.
“Once we fill the hole in our boat as it relates to our vacancies that we have currently I think we can have a greater opportunity of focus and have a concerted effort to those things to help us move toward the long-term for our greater future,” says Scott.
Some city directors have called for a residency requirement for members of the LRPD. Many officers live in outlying towns like Cabot, Benton, and Jacksonville. Scott says he’d like a police force that “mirrors the city and has individuals who come from the city” but that a residency requirement isn’t practical at this time.
“I think right now when we have 70 to 80 vacancies I don’t know that we can go whole sale into certain things. I think we need to fill those vacancies first,” says Scott.
Scott has also served on the Little Rock Port Authority board, and was Deputy Policy Director and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs under former Governor Mike Beebe’s administration. He's currently an executive and First Security Bank.