Tanner Pettigrew / Courtesy photo
Sales manager and executive broker Tanner Pettigrew is running for Fayetteville City Council this year.
Pettigrew, 27, hopes to win the Ward 1, Position 2 seat to replace outgoing Council Member Sarah Marsh, who did not file for re-election. He’ll face challengers D’Andre Jones, Oroo Oyioka and Pedro Fimbres.
Pettigrew was born at the old Washington Regional Medical Center on North College Avenue in Fayetteville and grew up in Farmington. He attended college in Jonesboro and briefly lived in Alabama where he met his wife before moving to Fayetteville in 2016.
“When we moved back, I had a difficult time finding a job, and we also had a hard time finding an affordable and safe rental,” he said.
That experience stuck with him, and Pettigrew said if elected, he’ll focus on affordable housing.
“Young people and families who work in Fayetteville and want to make their home here are often cut out of both the buying and rental markets due to rising real estate prices,” he said. “I believe in preserving what makes Fayetteville special, but, at the same time, recognizing our need to grow in a way to allow for more affordable housing across town.”
Pettigrew said he agrees with the council’s recent decision to reject funding for two additional school resource officers for the school district – partially because of the financial uncertainty of the current times, but also because of the testimony of the students who are most affected by the reported disparities in the arrest statistics.
“While many people, including me, had positive experiences with SROs while in school, not everyone can say the same,” said Pettigrew.
Ward 1 encompasses south and southeast Fayetteville, including the areas south of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Huntsville Road. Mount Sequoyah, Happy Hollow Elementary, and Ramay Junior High School are also included in Ward 1.
The election is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 3.
Profile: Tanner Pettigrew
Position sought: Ward 1, Position 2
Residency: Grew up in Farmington, but has lived in Ward 1 since 2016
Employment: Rausch Coleman Homes, Area Sales Manager/Executive Broker
Education: Farmington High School 2011; Arkansas State University 2015, Bachelors in Business Administration
Political Experience: No previous candidacy or positions
Meet the Candidates
The following candidates are running for election this year. All candidates were sent a request for more information about their candidacy. Responses are posted in the order they’re received.
What made you decide to seek election to the council? Is it something you’ve been considering for a while?
After high school I moved away for a few years to attend college. While expecting our second child, my wife Adria and I decided to come back to Fayetteville to be closer to family and live in an inclusive and welcoming city. When we moved back, I had a difficult time finding a job, and we also had a hard time finding an affordable and safe rental. Buying a house was completely out of the question.
This has always stuck with me. Those who want to live in Fayetteville should be able to find a job, an affordable and safe roof to live under, and be part of a neighborhood that is welcoming, healthy and thriving. These are some of the main reasons I want to run for City Council. I am ready to help influence change where needed, preserve the aspects of our town that make it unique, and keep moving Fayetteville in a direction where it can reach its full potential.
Is there anything in particular that drove you to reside in Ward 1? How would you describe that part of town?
I love Ward 1. It is the heart and soul of Fayetteville. We have a combo of long-term residents and new implants. We love the character and charm, from South Fayetteville to Lake Sequoyah to Baum Stadium. My family chose to live in Ward 1 due to the inclusive values we share with many of the residents and the sense of community that exists here. This is our home and we love it.
Which recent council decision(s) do you agree or disagree with?
I am impressed with how the council and city administration is handling COVID-19 by putting the health of Fayetteville residents first. We led the region in taking precautions such as mask wearing and social distancing. I was happy to see the re-establishment of the City Board of Health. The response to the pandemic shouldn’t be based on politics but, rather, based on science. I’m also happy to see creative ideas like the Outdoor Refreshment Area and micro-street closures that will help our valued local businesses survive the pandemic.
I also support the council for the recent vote to not approve tax dollars to fund two new SROs at this time. Even though the positions would have been partially and temporarily funded by a grant, with the economic uncertainty we face with COVID-19 and the possibility our public schools have to close again due to the pandemic, it was a tough but right choice. More importantly, however, was the testimony of those most affected by the disparities in the arrest statistics. While many people, including me, had positive experiences with SROs while in school, not everyone can say the same. I am pleased these difficult discussions have led to more community involvement and hope that trend continues as the school district and the city work together to make our town healthy and safe for everyone.
Lastly, it is absolutely imperative that a council member be prepared to make choices that may be unpopular with some but reflect fairness and inclusiveness. These are the values that led me and my wife to want to raise our children in Fayetteville and especially in Ward 1.