Bryce Anderson and Brad Baine are running for the Paragould City Council Ward 4 Position 2 seat.
The election is Tuesday, November 3. Early voting begins on Monday, October 19.
The Daily Press asked candidates to respond to the following questions by email along with this statement: “We are asking that candidates try to limit their answers for each question to about 250 words at the most:”
PDP: Why do you want to serve on the Paragould City Council?
Bryce Anderson: Completing the Leadership Paragould class a few years back opened my eyes to the opportunities and potential of Paragould. Paragould is full of great people who want to make this city home for them and for future generations. Local businesses and industry provide ample jobs and potential for growth. Growth and opportunity are the reasons I came to Paragould in the beginning, its people are the reason I have stayed.
Now being embedded in this community, I want to be part of the path forward. I want to ensure when my children and their generation call Paragould home, it’s an even better place than it is now.
Brad Baine: I feel like it is time for me to give back to the Paragould community that has given so much to my family and me. A life-long resident of Greene County, I want to serve my community because I’m fully invested in Paragould, the city where I’ve lived my whole adult life – “The Friendly City.” Until last year, I’ve always worked out of town, yet I chose to commute to work so that I could continue to live in Paragould, the city that is so dear to me. So, after considerable prayer and consideration, I felt led and chose to seek election to serve my hometown.
Over the years, I have seen Paragould experience considerable change. Our town continues to grow in population and in economic development, yet some cities in this region are declining. With growth, come challenges to provide and maintain a high quality of life and services to the residents of Paragould. In the coming years, the mayor and the city council will make critical decisions for the future of Paragould, and I feel that I have the knowledge, experience, and dedication to my community to help guide the city through its changes.
PDP: How are you qualified to serve on the council?
Brad Baine: I have previously served in public service for 10 years on the Greene County School District Board of Education. This valuable experience of being a public servant has allowed me the opportunity to experience the challenges of serving the public. I respect and anticipate the difficult decisions that a councilman must make. I have experienced the rewards of seeing the impact that quality leaders, such as a school board member or councilman, can have on the people they serve. I respect the role of a city council member: an alderman is 1 member of an 8 member council, and he or she must be willing to collaborate.
I’ve been honored to serve as an active, ordained deacon at West View Baptist Church for about 15 years. One of the roles of a deacon is to serve as a board to help lead the church in collaborative decision-making considering budgeting, education, planning outreach ministries and overseeing opportunities for congregational spiritual growth. Like school board, serving as a deacon is another experience that I believe has prepared me for how to function as a cooperative yet innovative voice on a board or panel that is similar to the role of an alderman.
Additionally, I served in a leadership role for nearly 11 years at Williams Baptist University (WBU), most recently as the Vice President of Academic Affairs and Campus Life and for the last 10 months I have been serving as the Vice President of Academics at Black River Technical College (BRTC). From a financial standpoint, I help develop, monitor, and approve expenditures from budgets that exceed several millions of dollars.
All the while, I fully understand the importance and continuously seek the advice from mentors and other leaders.
Bryce Anderson: I moved to Paragould 15 years ago after spending time living and working outside Arkansas. This brings another perspective to local issues and exposure to ideas that I’ve seen other communities do well. Different perspectives make any team stronger.
Since becoming a resident, I have watched the city grow and change. Paragould is where I chose to start a family and raise my children. It has given me opportunities to invest financially as a homeowner, personally with its service and leadership opportunities, and spiritually with its encouraging community of Christ followers.
The people of Paragould have invested in me. I would like to serve as a way to give back to that investment.
PDP: What are the most important issues your ward needs to face first if you are elected?
Bryce Anderson: Ward 4 is diverse and the important issues vary depending on what area you reside. In the end, a councilman’s job is to listen to the various needs and concerns of the people and work to resolve those issues.
One of the first things I noticed when moving to Paragould was the absence of sidewalks and pedestrian walkways. Others have shared this concern and no place is this more evident than in Ward 4. Most evenings in my neighborhood you can find walkers, runners, and children playing, walking, and riding bikes in the street. Many of these streets are busy access streets with significant traffic. Although this may not be the most pressing issue, I would like to explore feasible options to connect neighborhoods, parks, schools, and recreation areas with sidewalks or walkways. Raising a family in one of these neighborhoods has revealed not just the inconvenience, but the safety concerns related to this issue.
Brad Baine: First, I fully recognize that the city council, along with the Mayor, are responsible for setting the vision and policies that are used to determine the priorities for a city. And, it is the responsibility of the respective Paragould service departments to provide these critical services. On that note, I am very appreciative of all the individuals and agencies who work in these critical service departments – I feel fortunate to live in a city that has many high quality services.
Ward 4, and essentially all of Paragould, benefits if the city will keep addressing the needs for clean streets/yards/buildings. I will fully support providing quality safety and law enforcement services. The city should maintain and enhance recreational activities/facilities for all ages, provide a public dog (pet) facility/space for Paragould residents to enjoy activity with their dogs (pet). I want to improve opportunities for educational experiences for all demographics of citizens. As a member of the council, I want to continue to pursue economic development and proper planning for housing, services and amenities.
Also, I recognize the tremendous value in seeking the insight from the Paragould citizens, so I will seek, listen to, and welcome the voice and ideas to benefit the needs of the citizens of Ward 4 and those of the entire community.
PDP: What citywide issues or projects do you see needing to be dealt with by the council?
Brad Baine: The City of Paragould should form a focus group or panel that would develop and implement a “Paragould Placement Center.” The “Paragould Placement Center” would bridge the gap between individuals who need or have education/training and the industries/business that are looking for quality employees. I feel that this “Paragould Placement Center” should make use of the educational/training institutions inside the city, as well as those in the nearby communities. Additionally, Paragould needs offerings and activities for the families with young children and for the senior adults, two increasing population demographics. Some suggestions are classes in the basics of cooking, pet care, technology, economics, and instruction in soft skills and hard skills.
Bryce Anderson: Supporting our police, fire, and other city departments should always be a priority. This means giving them the resources to operate effectively and allowing them to expand with the city.
I believe for any city to be a vibrant, healthy place; you must bring youth back into the community. Economic development initiatives for new industry, locally owned small businesses, and educational opportunities are key to an expanding job market. In addition, community development and quality of life efforts are important to improve Paragould by making it a more desirable place to live and work. Addressing areas of Paragould that can be cleaned up will enhance the image of our community. Adding greenspace and pedestrian access to businesses, schools, and restaurants all lead to improved social interactions that add to the appeal of making Paragould a place to call home and raise families. Many of these efforts require long term planning and vision. I believe it’s time for Paragould to consider these efforts and I am excited to be part of the discussion.
PDP: Please tell us about yourself (family, employment, etc.)
Bryce Anderson: A job opportunity with Syngenta (an agriculture company) brought me to Paragould in 2005. I have lived and worked in the area since. Growing up on a family farm, I’ve been involved in agriculture my whole life and I love being part of the agriculture community here. My wife, Heidi, moved to Paragould after we were married in 2006. She is a CPA and has an accounting practice in Paragould. We are thankful for our two daughters, ages 10 and 8. They give us sharper focus and purpose to the things we invest our time and energies in. We are members of Reynolds Baptist church, CASA volunteers, and involved in other local organizations. My wife refers to me as a professional hobbyist, so I won’t mention all of my interests. I most enjoy hunting, being outdoors, exercise, and playing music.
Brad Baine: I was born in Paragould, and I lived in Stanford, Arkansas where I attended school at the Stanford School District (WPS!). I graduated high school in 1995 from Marmaduke High School. I received my bachelor’s degree in education from Williams Baptist College (University). After teaching and coaching in the Jonesboro School District for 4 years, I returned to college and earned my master’s degree from Arkansas State University and my doctorate from the University of Arkansas.
I have been married to Meredith, who teaches at GCTHS, for 20 years, and we have 2 sons, Luke, who is 15 years old and Isaac who is 13. Professionally, I have been an educator for over 20 years; the last 10 years I have been an administrator. Until last November, I served as Vice-President of Academic Affairs at Williams Baptist University for 4 years. Now, I serve as the Vice-President of Academic Affairs at Black River Technical College where I work on both the Paragould and Pocahontas campuses. As an administrator at a Paragould college, a former school board member, the spouse of a Paragould educator, and the parent of two school-aged sons, I am passionate and knowledgeable about education and serving the community I live in.
I am a conservative with Christian values, and I have a heart for service in the community. Dedicated to my community, I am an active member in the Paragould Rotary Club and Paragould Chamber of Commerce. I am respectfully asking for support and your vote if you live in Ward 4. I welcome your comments and questions, so feel free to call me at (870) 476-8002. I want to be your councilman for Ward 4 Position 2, and I commit to listening to my constituents and working hard to serve “The One and Only Paragould.”