A self-employed author is running for mayor in Fayetteville.
William L. Harris, 73, will face Mayor Lioneld Jordan, who is running for re-election. He also faces Ron Baucom and Tom Terminella.
Harris was imprisoned from 1984-1998 on a second degree arson conviction, according to the Oklahoma Department of Corrections. Harris said he was framed and that he’s served a total of 20 years in jail, including six years in Ohio in the 1970s.
“My twenty years in jail are comprised of six years in Ohio, 1970-76, for what we did in Columbus to prevent Pres. Nixon’s visit, and another fourteen years in Oklahoma, 1983-97, for what they did to embarrass me after I confronted the leadership to suggest other methods,” Harris wrote in an email to the Flyer.
Harris wrote an autobiography about the incidents called “1983: the teflon tales.”
Arkansas law states that those seeking municipal office must be free from felony conviction, or conviction of embezzlement of public money, bribery, forgery, theft or other crimes involving dishonesty, including misdemeanors, unless the conviction has been sealed. It would be up to a circuit court judge to rule on the eligibility of a candidate who has filed for office.
Harris ran an unsuccessful campaign for Washington County District 2 constable in 2016.
Harris said he would advocate for library annexes in the north, east and west sides of town, and would push for continued development of city parks and trails, as well as Q&A sessions with Council Members at City Council meetings.
He also said the city needs a large public swimming pool in a central location.
“We have several private and semi-private pools around town, but an Olympic sized pool will be an important social center for kids through the summers,” he said.
Harris said he’s neither liberal or conservative, and said while Mayor Lioneld Jordan “is a good man with a sterling record of public service,” he thinks Jordan leans too far to one side.
“As an independent economist, I prefer to be somewhat dispassionate about the questions we face,” Harris said. “I am not hard and cold, but I am not warm and fuzzy either. Being an economist, I tend to value balance and equilibrium.”
The election is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 3.
Profile: William Harris
Position sought: Mayor
Residency: 15-year resident of Fayetteville
Employment: self-employed author
Education: B.S. in Economics from Oklahoma State University, 1969
Political Experience: None, but ran an unsuccessful campaign for Washington County District 2 constable in 2016
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 run for mayor? Is it something you’ve been considering for a while?
I found myself unable to run for unarmed Constable again, due to a legal technicality out of Oklahoma, which governs my case. When I heard that Mayor Jordan would run again, I wondered if I could possibly fill his shoes, and soon found several items that I would like to draw attention to in order to enlarge the conversation; that is, I believe the Mayor’s office could serve a lot more people.
How would you describe the city today?
A beautiful city, remarkably blessed, with all of the potential to lead the nation in solving some critical problems, and even to lead the world in the effort to save the planet without sacrificing humanity. I would advance a “faith-based humanics” in contrast to secular humanism.
Are there any recent city decisions you agree or disagree with?
The recent declaration that we have a Public Health crisis based on racism surprised me; but, if that is politically fashionable in this election year, I will gladly pursue federal funding to build a public swimming pool for our kids, which must of course be integrated. We will see if such a problem truly exists in Fayetteville. Less recently, years ago I was perplexed when a 10 year old boy led a homosexual parade in town. But such “equality” is necessary in our contemporary society, and I hope that our homosexual community can work with all of us to heal the gulf between our religious-traditional values and the pressing demand for sexual expression. Much of that is a tragic misunderstanding.