Six Candidates Vie for Mayoral Seat

August 16, 2006 - Posted at 5:44 p.m. CDT

MARMADUKE, AR - It's a town that has been through a lot in the last five months. Marmaduke is still trying to rebound after April 2nd's tornado and a number of the town's residents have been critical of the current city administration.

Some of those residents are looking to take matters into their own hands and run for mayor, challenging current mayor Nileane Drope.

"A lot of people were not satisfied with the way things were handled after the storms and they just thought someone should run that could have a handle on this," said candidate Melissa Carter Vinson.

Vinson is a homemaker and life long Marmaduke resident.  She is joined in the race by city employee Byron Phillips, Charlotte Van Gilder, former mayor Robert Dowler and Marmaduke Pharmacy owner Kathryn Eddington. While each candidate has a different background, they all agree on the issues important to the town.

"I think one of the major focuses for everybody is bring more business into the town of Marmaduke," said Eddington.

"The tornado has done a lot of damage to us and we need to do more to clean up. I would like to see more housing come back," commented Dowler.

With so many candidates, everyone feels they are the best fit for the job.  However when all is said and done, only one will have the title of mayor.

"This means the world to me," said Drope who has held the position for four years, "I dearly love this town, I love the people and I love this job."

Dowler said, "I have the experience that I had before as mayor that and I have always been in the field of management."

"I would like to see Marmaduke grow but not too much," said Eddington, "Marmaduke is a small town we want to keep it small."

"I am the type of person that wants to jump right in the middle of things and get things done, I will do whatever it takes to make sure our city is cleaned back up and back on its feet," said Vinson.

While each one of the candidates felt compelled to run for their own reasons they all must face the harsh reality that with a little over 400 registered voters and six candidates, this election has the high probability of heading to a run off.

Von Gilder and Phillips were unavailable for comment Wednesday.  The mayoral election is November 7th.