Candidate Spotlight: Mayra Carrillo

Mayra Carrillo in yellow dress.Early voting is underway and across Arkansas some races are gaining attention because of the new faces on the ballot. Some of those new candidates are notable because they’re more representative of their communities.

In Springdale, for example, three candidates of color are vying for seats on city council. Currently, all of its members are white even though Springdale has a large Marshallese population and 36 percent of the city’s population is Hispanic or Latino, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates. One of the candidates seeking office is Mayra Carrillo.

How long have you lived in Springdale?
25 years

What Ward/Position are you running for?
Springdale City Council, Ward 1, Position 2

Why have you decided to run?
I decided to run because I’ve seen the city grow significantly in all the years I’ve been here, but have not seen the city council include people from all of the communities that helped build Springdale to what it is today.

Given the national conversation about systemic racism this year, have you experienced any negative reactions to your candidacy?
I’ve had a few negative comments and messages, but I’ve dealt with people like that for most of my life. For the most part, I’ve had positive reactions from people in the city to my campaign. Just today, I heard from someone who went to vote and she said it was nice to vote for someone she knew.

Why should Springdale residents vote for you?
Because they know me. Because I’ve been out in the community for all the time I’ve been here building relationships. When I ask a business owner if they’re willing to put up my signs, for example, it’s not the first time I’ve talked to them.

Any final thoughts?
Go vote! And think about the people who can’t vote. Get involved in local politics, that’s where you have the most influence. Tu voto es tu voz!

Make your ancestors proud.

Antoinette Grajeda
Antoinette Grajeda

Antoinette Grajeda is an Arkansas-based journalist. She has covered race, culture, politics, health, education and the arts for NPR affiliates as well as print and digital publications since 2007.