In case you missed it yesterday, a physician, lawyer and U.S. Navy veteran said he’ll challenge Alderman Mark Kinion for the Ward 2 seat on the Fayetteville City Council in the Nov. 4 general election.
Robert Patton, 67, said he is running “to foster the city’s continued growth and uniqueness that make Fayetteville a popular city to live and work.”
“It’s important to maintain and preserve our city’s unique history as the home of the University of Arkansas,” said Patton. “But we need to be more than just a university town.
“While I heartily welcome the economic and population growth of Northwest Arkansas in the past decade, I think we can do more. I believe we must explore every opportunity to look at our regulatory structure as it affects our business community while continuing and increasing our efforts to enhance the uniqueness and charm that has made Fayetteville such a great place to live.”
That uniqueness and charm, he said, centers around good environmental stewardship, a strong value for education, and a broad tolerance for diversity in people and ideas.
A native of Lewisville, Patton graduated from the University of Arkansas in 1969 with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. Four years later, he earned a medical degree from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Throughout his career, he continued his education earning an MBA from South Florida University, and a law degree from the University of Arkansas School of Law. He returned to Fayetteville in 2008 after accepting a position as the first CEO of Mercy Clinic in Fort Smith.
As a veteran of the United States Navy, Patton served in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. He received the Meritorious Service Medal upon his retirement from the U.S. Naval Reserve in 2008 at the rank of Captain.
He currently works part time in emergency medicine at the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks and runs a private practice from his office on Prospect Street.
There are three other Position 1 seats up for grabs this fall, including positions held by Adella Gray (Ward 1), Justin Tennant (Ward 3) and Rhonda Adams (Ward 4). The city attorney position, held by Kit Williams, is also up for election.
Gray, Tennant and Williams all said they’ll seek re-election.
Sonia Davis Gutierrez, a Fayetteville graphic designer and creative educator, said in June she’ll challenge Gray for the Ward 1 seat. Ward 4 Alderwoman Rhonda Adams plans to serve out her term before moving to Tampa, Fla. with her husband, Charles, who recently accepted a position as dean of the Honors College at the University of South Florida.
The filing period for City Council candidates ends at noon on Friday, Aug. 15.
Profile: Robert Patton
Position sought: Ward 2, Position 1
Residency: Lived in Fayetteville since 2008
Employment: Part-time emergency medicine physician, Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks
Education: Bachelor of arts in chemistry, University of Arkansas; doctorate in medicine, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences; master’s in business administration, University of South Florida; doctorate in law, University of Arkansas
Political Experience: 1980s Lafayette County School Board member
3 Questions for Robert
We send each candidate three questions after receiving their announcement. We post their answers here once they respond.
What made you decide to seek election to the council? Is it something you’ve been considering for a while?
I’ve always had an interest in public service at the local level. I remember watching Rhonda Adams run for city council in 2010, even though she was the Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs and Registrar at the University of Arkansas School of Law. Rhonda’s entry into the political arena inspired me to fulfill my lifetime interest in seeking elective office despite my outside personal and professional responsibilities.
I considered entering the race for the city council in 2012 but my “plate was full” having just graduated from law school and facing the Arkansas Bar Exam preparation and test. My wife convinced me to wait until I could truly devote the time and attention needed to make a serious bid for office. Since then, several friends and citizens of Fayetteville’s Ward 2 have approached me asking that I consider entering the race. Their encouragement coupled with my own passion to revitalize our city led me to file for office. I want to bring my sixty-seven years of life experience as a Navy veteran, medical doctor, husband, father, and native Arkansan to local government. In the next three months I look forward to travelling throughout Ward 2 to listen to voters about issues they may have and ideas we can capitalize on to make Fayetteville more than just a college town.
Is there anything in particular that drove you to reside in Ward 2? How would you describe that part of town?
Both my wife Susan and I love to walk. From Ward 2 you can walk to numerous iconic restaurants, parks, grocery stores, and the town square as well as enjoy the Dickson Street nightlife, events and lectures at the University, and my work at the VA Hospital.
For most of the fourteen years we lived as a family in Austin, Texas, we lived downtown and loved it. The downtown area is often the heart of the city. We watched downtown Austin grow thanks to a strong economic, political, and social community with a shared vision for greatness. I want to replicate the success we saw in Austin with our own vibrant downtown community. It bothers me to see so many abandoned buildings and for lease signs up and down College Ave.
We considered no other options when we returned to Fayetteville in 2008. Our first home was on Willow Avenue in the Historical District in Fayetteville. We subsequently moved to our current home on E. Prospect Street. Ward 2 presents some of the most historic and notable landmarks our town has to offer from Old Main and Fayetteville High School to Wilson Park and the 112 Drive-In movie theater. While Fayetteville may be growing in several directions, the heart and traditions of our city still reside in Ward 2.
Are there any recent citywide or Ward 2 council decisions you agree or disagree with?
Although my entering the race is not motivated by any particular council decisions, I was very disappointed that the amendment to the smoking ordinance failed to pass in 2011. As a physician, I have seen the tremendous negative impact smoking has on patients, their families, and society as a whole. I did testify before the city council in 2011 to voice my concerns as a medical professional and active citizen. While I understand how several people – including Mark Kinion – felt it was an overreach of government into the private sector, I strongly believe common sense and public health issues should take precedence.
News Release: Robert Patton
Dr. Robert Patton Enters Race for Fayetteville City Council
Retired Navy Captain, Business Leader, Physician, and Lawyer Aims to Serve the People of Fayetteville
FAYETTEVILLE, ARK. – Navy veteran and emergency room physician Dr. Robert Patton officially entered the race today to represent Ward 2 on the Fayetteville City Council, an area that includes most of downtown and central Fayetteville east of I-49. After submitting the necessary paperwork to be placed on the ballot, Patton said he is running to foster the city’s continued growth and uniqueness that make Fayetteville a popular city to live and work.
“It’s important to maintain and preserve our city’s unique history as the home of the University of Arkansas. But we need to be more than just a university town,” said Patton. “While I heartily welcome the economic and population growth of Northwest Arkansas in the past decade, I think we can do more. I believe we must explore every opportunity to look at our regulatory structure as it affects our business community while continuing and increasing our efforts to enhance the uniqueness and charm that has made Fayetteville such a great place to live. That uniqueness and charm, in my opinion, centers around good environmental stewardship, a strong value for education, and a broad tolerance for diversity in people and ideas.”
Patton, a native of Lewisville, Arkansas, earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas in 1969; a medical degree from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in 1973; an MBA from South Florida University in 1995, and a law degree from the University of Arkansas School of Law in 2012. He is a retired member of the U.S. Navy and a founding member of Emergency Service Partners in Austin, Texas, where he served as Vice President for Business Integration. Dr. Patton and his wife Susan moved to Fayetteville from Austin in 2008. Dr. Patton served as the first CEO of Mercy Clinic in Fort Smith and then entered law school.
Patton currently works part time in emergency medicine at the Veterans Hospital and has a private practice as a Civil Surgeon in his office on Prospect Street. He and Susan live in Fayetteville’s Wilson Park neighborhood and have four children and five grandchildren.
“I benefited tremendously in my life because of good public education, encouraging teachers, and supportive neighbors. I understand the importance of high performing schools, safe neighborhoods and good, well paying jobs. I want to build on all the things that make Fayetteville a unique, vibrant community and do it in a way that helps ensure equal opportunity for all our residents.
“As a member of the U.S. Navy, an emergency room doctor and a business leader, I have always been proud to serve and help others. Now, I want to do the same as a member of the Fayetteville City Council,” said Patton. “In the next few months, I look forward to listening to the people of Fayetteville and campaigning throughout Ward 2 to discuss my vision for the future of our community – a vision focused on a strong, vibrant city we are all proud to call home.”
To learn more about Dr. Robert Patton and his campaign, visit www.PattonforFayetteville.com.