Springdale Elects First Latino City Councilman

Kevin Flores is the first Latino elected to city office in Springdale. He was one of three candidates of color seeking a seat on city council.

Headshot of Kevin FloresKevin Flores has won the election for Ward 2 Position 2 on the Springdale City Council. According to unofficial results, Flores defeated Councilman Rick Evans with about 57 percent of the vote.

Flores grew up in Springdale and is a first-generation college graduate. He is also an attorney and a U.S. Marine Corps veteran.

On his website, Flores says as a product of Springdale, he has always aspired to give back to the community that laid the foundation for his success.

“Over the past few years, I have done exactly that by actively volunteering in our public schools,” Flores says. “I now hope to give back to our community through serving you in the Springdale City Council.”

Flores’ platform included a focus on infrastructure, promoting the city’s downtown area and creating a future strategies committee. The independent group would consist of stakeholders that represent various aspects of the community. Flores says they would identify potential future land use projects, development and general planning for the purpose of more efficient growth management.

Springdale has a large Marshallese population and 36 percent of the city’s residents are Hispanic or Latino, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates. However, a person of color has never been elected to city office. Kevin Flores was one of three candidates running for Springdale City Council in an effort to change that.

Mayra Carrillo in yellow dress.Mayra Carrillo has lived in Springdale for 25 years and says she ran for Ward 1 Position 2 because she hasn’t seen the city council include people from all of the communities that helped build Springdale to what it is today.

According to unofficial results, Carrillo lost to Randall Harriman by 2,763 votes. Carrillo earned about 43.5 percent of votes, while Harriman garnered 56.5 percent. In a statement on social media, Carrillo thanked supporters and said as a single mother with an 8-to-5 job, campaigning was tough, but well worth it.

“Unfortunately, we were not able to achieve the goal we sought, but much the same work remains to be done, that work to build a place where everyone feels like they belong,” she says. “And I will still be out in the community trying my best to help make that a reality.”

Headshot of Derek Van VoastDerek Van Voast also lost his bid for election in a three-way race for Ward 4 Position 2. None of the candidates won a majority of the vote, so Mark Fougerousse and Councilmember Kathy Jaycox are headed to a runoff.

In September, Jaycox announced she was dropping her bid for reelection because she was planning to move to a different ward. Because of that, there’s been some confusion about which candidates are eligible for the runoff.

Jennifer Price, executive director of the Washington County Election Commission, says the law requires a runoff between the two candidates with the most votes so that would be Fougerousse and Jaycox.

Price says state law also states that votes cast for the candidate will still be counted and the withdrawn candidate can advance to a runoff. If the candidate that withdrew wins, it would result in a vacancy in the election.

You can find more election results from around Arkansas here.

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.