Fort Smith Mayor Sandy Sanders has announced he's running for re-election. Although his current term doesn't expire until December of 2014, he said he's already working on his campaign to stay in office for another term.
"We've had a very interesting time," Sanders said about his current term. "It's been great to meet with and work with the citizens of Fort Smith in a variety of subjects. A lot of things have been going very well. In fact, despite the national economy, just in the last 11 months, we've had 1300 new jobs announced for Fort Smith."
Sanders took office as mayor of Fort Smith on Jan. 1, 2011. Since then, Sanders said he's watched the economy continue to flourish, with hundreds of jobs coming to the Fort Smith area.
"Well, I certainly think we all want to see the economy improve and continue to grow," Sanders explained. "And again, despite the downturn nation wide, we've continued to attract new jobs and new growth into Fort Smith. I certainly want to see that continue."
Job creation and economic development are part of the reason Sanders said he's decided to run again.
That, and Sanders said there are still things in the works that he'd like to continue to be a part of.
"We have things to work on like I-49 and the continuation of that, the 12-foot channelization project, the revitalization of the downtown area, the development of the river front," Sanders said. "There are so many things that we have in the process right now, that I think within a very short period of time we will see, especially when the nationwide economy starts to turn too, we will see a lot of these things come to fruition for us."
Sanders said during his time in office many things have continued to define his term, including Whirlpool leaving town.
"From an economic standpoint, [Whirlpool] said they were going to leave, they did, they've been gone for more than a year now, so we need to focus on all of those new jobs we've brought in," Sanders said.
No other candidates have come forward saying they plan to run for mayor at this point. Sanders said his campaign chairmen are former Fort Smith Mayor Jack Freeze and Michael Barr, a local businessman.