Mark Stodola (file)
In letter first sent Monday to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and the Arkansas Times, Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola said he won't seek a fourth term in office.
Stodola, who faced probable challenges from at least two candidates, cited a "serious medical diagnosis" an immediate family member. He has been mayor since 2007.
Stodola told the Democrat-Gazette that he didn't want to go into detail about the family member and that person's health. A lawyer and former Pulaski County prosecuting attorney, Stodola said he plans to return to the private sector.
On Tuesday morning, Stodola distributed the following statement to media and others:
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE CITIZENS OF LITTLE ROCK
I am announcing today that I will not be seeking a fourth term as Mayor of Little Rock. A very recent, serious medical diagnosis involving one of my immediate family members has caused me to take stock of the future and make a decision that is best for my family at this time. In light of this new development, I have decided to cap my time as your mayor at the end of this term.
It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as your mayor over the last 12 years. It is a job I love. Together, we have tackled many important issues and projects in our city, transforming our many quality of life attractions, finding ways to fund our city’s infrastructure needs, creating jobs and investing in our young people with public safety as a top priority. I am proud of this city and what we as a community have helped shape. I am confident in a bright future.
This has been a very difficult decision and I want to thank all of my many supporters for the faith and confidence you have placed in me. I truly regret disappointing you by not running. While I am confident we would be successful in November, I must absolutely do what is best for my family at this time.
As for me, I will return to the private sector and continue to pursue opportunities to develop new relationships with businesses and national organizations who are also committed to improving people's lives in communities across the United States. Between now and the end of the year, we will continue to work tirelessly to build a better city and as President of the National League of Cities, I will continue to showcase our city and its successes.
As for the future, as the old adage goes, “Once a mayor, always a mayor” so I will continue to find ways to stay involved in building the city I love and have dedicated myself to improving. As for politics, there are important races that occur every two years so I will stay engaged in the dialogue that will help direct our future.
I am blessed to be a part of this city and our many accomplishments and most happy to have been a part of it along with my hardworking colleagues on the City Board of Directors. Thank you for the opportunity to serve. Jo Ellen and I will be forever indebted to you.
State Rep. Warwick Sabin and banker Frank Scott have both announced exploratory committees for mayor. Each reacted to Stodola's statement Tuesday morning.
I congratulate Mark Stodola for his three terms as mayor and I join everyone in Little Rock in expressing my appreciation for his many years of service to our city. I am sorry to hear about the health challenge that his family is facing and I understand his need to make that his priority. I wish him every success as he completes his tenure in office and embarks upon the next phase of his career.
I have the utmost respect for Mayor Mark Stodola and am in solemn prayer for his family and their loved one referenced in the statement. His 12 years in the Mayor’s office embodied honor and decency, and Little Rock is thankful for his service.
By declining to run for re-election, Mayor Stodola has opened the door for a new mayoral leadership in Little Rock. I look forward to continuing my exploratory committee journey, listening to the concerns of families, and charting a course that builds on Little Rock’s wonderful assets, while working to unify our city to reach her fullest potential.
The mayor's election is in November.
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