This interview is the fourth in an ongoing series that will help us all learn a little more about who’s running for mayor here in Fayetteville. Look for a new interview every couple of days (i.e. as soon as these folks respond). Links to these interviews will be easily accessible in the Mayoral Candidate Zone located on the front page. In order to create a repository of information rather than a battlefield for supporters, comments will be closed on these interviews.
Fayetteville Flyer: We know you were born in Fayetteville. Have you ever moved away, even briefly?
Lioneld Jordan: I have lived in Northwest Arkansas my entire life, and my family has been here for six generations. I grew up and graduated from high school in Huntsville. I moved back to Fayetteville in 1973 to attend the University of Arkansas, and I have lived here for the last 35 years. Fayetteville has been a great place to live, learn, work, and raise our family, and I will continue working to make sure it always remains the wonderful, unique, interesting, and progressive city we all love.
FF: What kind of music do you like, and what are some of your favorite artists?
LJ: I like everything from Classical to Country, from Yo-Yo Ma to Willie Nelson. I grew up on Ronnie Hawkins, Elvis, and the Beatles, and I still love everything rock and roll. Lucinda Williams is my favorite artist these days, followed closely by the late, great Stevie Ray Vaughan. In the Fayetteville music scene, my local favorites are the Cate Brothers, Still on the Hill, Charliehorse, and Jed Clampit (Come back, Jed).
FF: As a member of the City Council, is it true that you have never missed a single vote or meeting?
LJ: Yes, that’s true. I have never missed a Council meeting or a vote, and I was unavoidably absent from only one informal agenda session out of about 192. As Vice Mayor, I have presided over numerous Council meetings when our mayor was absent or out of town. I was elected to represent the people and to look after their interests, so I consider it a solemn obligation and a sacred public trust to attend every meeting and vote on every issue. I have put the people’s business first for eight years, and I will continue to do so as mayor.
FF: You’ve worked for the U of A for a long time. Are you a Razorback fan? If so, do you call the Hogs?
LJ: I have been a Razorback fan my entire life. Having been a student here, seeing my children graduate from this institution, and being on the University staff have only made me more proud to support our sports teams and our student athletes. I seldom miss a home football game, and you’ll find me wearing red and calling the Hogs from the cheap seats.
FF: Tell us where the vice mayor of Fayetteville would take an out-of-towner to get a real taste for dining in our fine city, would ya?
LJ: I proudly take first-time visitors to one of our many outstanding local establishments that reflect the facets of our community spirit — Hugo’s, Bordino’s, Herman’s, La Huerta, Powerhouse, Greenhouse Grill, Common Grounds, or Gaylord’s. Now, if it were an old friend back in town for the weekend, we’d have breakfast at Rick’s Iron Skillet, lunch at Brenda’s, and dinner at Mama Dean’s.
FF: OK, so I have heard two different people say, “You mean his name is Lioneld?” and they stress the “d” really hard as if they thought your name was Lionel. Personally, I don’t think Lioneld is all that strange of a name but I guess some folks do. Have you ever caught any flak over it?
LJ: No. It’s not as flashy as Mustin or Fire Cat, but Lioneld Jordan is a more honest name than George Dubya.
FF: Do you like James Bond movies? Just curious.
LJ: I go for Jack Ryan more than James Bond, but my favorite movies are classics like Cool Hand Luke, All the King’s Men, High Noon, Giant, Heat of the Night, and It’s a Wonderful Life. I spend more time reading than watching movies. In the past month, I have read Larry L. King, None but a Blockhead; Mike Rose, The Mind at Work; Miller Williams, The Lives of Kelvin Fletcher; and Once Upon Dickson by Anthony Wappel and Ethel Simpson; and I have reread Emerson’s Essays and Steinbeck’s To a God Unknown.
FF: Having been here longer than any of the other candidates, we figured we’d ask you this one: Are there any native Fayettevillians who you think have made a real impact on our community? You know, like some folks who have been here a while and have really done us proud?
LJ: Two of my heroes are Jessie Bryant and the late John Lewis. Jessie Bryant truly has a servant’s heart, both in public office as a Justice of the Peace for 14 years and in founding the Northwest Arkansas Free Health and Dental Center to serve low income residents with no medical insurance or access to Medicaid. John Lewis loved this town with a big heart and an infectious enthusiasm, and he had a vision for cherishing our heritage while building our future. Their different backgrounds reflect the diversity of our community, and their contributions demonstrate the wisdom of putting service to others above self-interest.
FF: As a kid, my sister and I would sometimes get to decide between Silver Dollar City and White Water for our family vacation. Where would the Jordans go?
LJ: Camping at Devil’s Den and floating the Buffalo were always two of our favorite family outings. Most recently, I spent a weekend camping with my grandson on the Mulberry River. It was a chance to spend time together as well as a wonderful reminder of the beauty of the Ozarks and the environmental heritage we must protect for future generations.
FF: These days, everyone has a blog. What do you think about small, community-based blogs? Do you see them as a benefit to local residents or do you believe that community journalists could do more harm than good?
LJ: Most blogs that I have seen are fairly interesting, because they give you a window into the joys and challenges of daily living for the people in our community. Those that deal with politics, whether I agree with their point of view or not, can be informative about the broad scope of public opinion. However, you should always take them with a grain of salt – except for the Fayetteville Flyer, which is the embodiment of all that is Good and True.