Ryan Abshire, a 23-year-old small business owner and Dickson Street bartender said he plans to challenge Matthew Petty for the Ward 2, Position 2 City Council seat in the Nov. 6 general election.
Abshire is the first to announce a bid for the seat since Martin Bemberg said he was no longer interested in running.
Aside from tending bar at Roger’s Rec, Abshire is co-owner of Abshire’s Neighborhood Store, a trailside convenience store located on Frisco Trail near the Center Street crossing.
Abshire cited eliminating debt and enhancing public transportation as some of his goals if elected. He also noted several changes to the paid parking program he’d like to see including a reduction in ticketing and the implementation of paid parking holidays.
The filing period for City Council and other municipal candidates ends at 12 p.m. Friday, Aug. 17.
Name: Ryan Abshire
Residency: Fayetteville resident since August 2009
Employment: Co-owner/operator at Abshire’s Neighborhood Store, bartender at Roger’s Rec.
Education: BA in English from LSU, 2008, studied creative writing for a year and a half at 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?
I’m running for council because I care about this city. I want it to stay unique, grow with its citizenry, and sustain itself. I don’t want it to become a faceless university town and I don’t want it to go broke. Since I’ve lived in Fayetteville, I’ve worn many hats: I’ve been a teacher, a student, a performer, a bartender, and a small business owner. Fayetteville is my home and its citizens are my friends and neighbors. I want to make sure the city uses our money to maintain our infrastructure, make it easier to do business, enhance public transportation, and eliminate debt.
Is there anything in particular that drove you to reside in Ward 2? How would you describe that part of town?
I’ve lived in Ward 2 since I moved here. For me, it’s the heart of Fayetteville. You’ve got an ever-growing arts community, nightlife, and some really awesome local businesses and restaurants. Ward 2 has just about everything you need. If elected I will have frequent ward meetings to gauge how the people feel about upcoming issues or current problems.
Are there any recent citywide or Ward 2 council decisions you agree or disagree with?
I greatly disagree with how the city introduced the paid parking system. It showed a disregard for local businesses and their employees. The system for reimbursing entertainment district employees’ parking costs is so tedious I wouldn’t be surprised if nobody has done it. We definitely need to review and modify this Malthusian system. We need to reduce the ticketing, introduce paid parking holidays, and consider changing the hours when payment is necessary.