Oroo Oyioka / Courtesy photo
Local occupational therapist Oroo Oyioka is running for Fayetteville City Council this year.
Oyioka, 50, 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, Tanner Pettigrew and Pedro Fimbres.
Oyioka is from Nairobi, Kenya, but has lived in Fayetteville’s Ward 1 for a total of about nine years.
He described Fayetteville as a melting pot with people from all over the world and said he wants to give back to the city that has welcomed him through the years.
“It is one thing complaining about what is going on in other cities and it is another thing to be part of a lasting solution to potential problems,” he said. “I want to be at the table when decisions are made regarding distribution of resources, policing, housing, schools, economic vitality and roads.”
Oyioka said he agrees with the council’s recent decision to accept grant money to continue funding the region’s drug task force.
“We need to safeguard our children from drugs,” he said.
He also said the council made the right choice when voting against a proposal to add two more school resource officers to the school district’s middle schools.
“We do not want to put (police officers) in a situation where they could potentially use their law enforcement skills instead of disciplinary actions that can be handled by teachers and principals,” said Oyioka. “We need more counselors and psychologists who are trained to deal with mental challenges in schools.”
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: Oroo Oyioka
Position sought: Ward 1, Position 2
Residency: Lived in Ward 1 from 1999-2002, moved to Springdale and then back to Ward 1 in 2016
Employment: Restore Therapy Services at Fayetteville Health and Rehab, Occupational Therapist
Education: Masters in Occupational Therapy at University of Indianapolis; Currently working on doctorate
Political Experience: Chair of Kenyan Americans in Northwest Arkansas
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.
Mayor Lioneld Jordan
Ron Baucom (not received)
Tom Terminella (not received)
Pedro Fimbres (not received)
Council Member Matthew Petty
Council Member Sarah Bunch
Adam Fire Cat
Council Member Kyle Smith
What made you decide to seek election to the council? Is it something you’ve been considering for a while?
My name is Oroo Oyioka and I’m kindly asking for your vote to represent Ward 1, Position 2. On behalf of my family I want to thank Sarah Marsh for her outstanding service to Ward 1. We are blessed to be a diverse ward and I intend to welcome everyone to Ward 1. Security and safety will be a priority in Ward 1 through community partnership with our wonderful law enforcement. I will fight for excellent schools with sufficient facilities in the ward, outstanding outdoor facilities, and good roads. I will enhance partnerships with private entities to support and help to end homelessnes. I know some of those men and women first hand. Most of them have risked their lives for us. Thank you and may God continue to bless Ward 1 and Fayetteville at large.
One of my clients once told me “Fayetteville is such a little secret we don’t want the rest of the country to know about.” I totally agree Fayetteville is such a wonderful city. A melting pot with people from all over the world and yet with people who exhibit a sense of harmony that lacks in other cities. So I was driven to contribute to a city that has everything going right and yet much to offer. It is one thing complaining about what is going on in other cities and it is another thing to be part of a lasting solution to potential problems. I want to be at the table when decisions are made regarding distribution of resources, policing, housing, schools, economic vitality and roads.
Is there anything in particular that drove you to reside in Ward 1? How would you describe that part of town?
When we were looking to buy a house my wife wanted to live on top of a hill similar to where she grew up in the Kisii Highlands in Kenya. A location that met this specification happened to be in Ward 1. We love Ward 1 for its diversity and close proximity to the university and downtown.
Which recent council decision(s) do you agree or disagree with?
I agree with the unanimous vote for the drug task force. We need to safeguard our children from drugs. I also agree with City Council members voting down extra SROs. We love our Fayetteville police force. We do not want to put them in a situation where they could potentially use their law enforcement skills instead of disciplinary actions that can be handled by teachers and principals. We need more counselors and psychologists who are trained to deal with mental challenges in schools.