New mayor elected in Marked Tree, first woman to hold office

MARKED TREE, AR (KAIT) – Marked Tree residents have elected a new mayor, 86-year-old Mary Ann Arnold.

Arnold was sworn in at 5 p.m. by Poinsett County Judge Charles Nix in front of a crowd of supporters at the Municipal Building in Marked Tree.

Polly Wooten Norman has lived in Marked Tree for about forty years. She says she is excited about the new beginning for the city that is home to nearly 3,000 people.

"She will be a mayor for all the people, not just a few because she believes in Marked Tree," Norman said.  "I'm just so proud to have her as our mayor."

Arnold is the first woman to hold the mayoral office in Marked Tree. "I'm excited and thankful and appreciative of everybody's support."

She said beautifying the city and making it a place Marked Tree natives want to return to are two of her main goals.

"It's like all the small towns in the delta. Clean up. Get the lots mowed. Get the deserted houses taken care of one way or the other."

She plans to rely on her previous political experience and her love of Marked Tree to make decisions.

"I was on the quorum court for 22 years. So, I'm knowledgeable of the different challenges that come along your way, the demands that are made, and the fact that you need to budget and pretty well stick with your budget. If you don't have the money, then you don't buy things," she said. "We're all going to work together. We're all desirous of getting these things accomplished, and we're all going to be positive and we're going to have fun along the way."

Beginning Friday, September 6, she will serve the remainder of Wayne Nichols' term. He died in May.

Arnold faced Dixon Chandler in a run-off election. According to the Poinsett County Clerk's office, she won 58% of the votes with 424 votes. 302 people voted for Chandler.

Arnold will be eligible to run for a new 4-year term in November 2014.

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