Just one candidate for the Little Rock Board of Administrators unseated an incumbent within the November 2022 election: Andrea Hogan Lewis. She beat longtime metropolis director Doris Wright by promising the residents of Ward 6 in west central Little Rock she would struggle for a greater sense of neighborhood, elevated public security and higher infrastructure. Lewis, 41, brings a contemporary perspective to town’s management. She’s the one Black lady on the 10-member board, the second youngest director and the one one with school-aged youngsters. Practically a 12 months into the job, Lewis stated the work of a metropolis board member extends effectively past the hour or two spent at public conferences each Tuesday. She considers her position customer support for town: day-to-day communication with constituents, assembly individuals from all walks of life and unexpectedly connecting with somebody on the grocery retailer. Along with her metropolis position, Lewis additionally serves as assistant vice chairman and a Group Reinvestment Act officer at First Safety Financial institution.
The place does your ardour for this work come from? My dad was a metropolis councilman in Joiner [Mississippi County]. We moved to Turrell [Crittenden County] and he simply is aware of all people there. My grandmother, his mom, individuals would come to her home on Sundays … and it wasn’t only for the household. If anyone got here in and wanted some socks, she’d go get ’em socks. In the event that they wanted a plate, she acquired ’em a plate. I simply grew up seeing it, and I don’t suppose I actually knew again then what it was doing to me personally. It helped form and mildew me. If in case you have it to provide, then why not? I give because of God, as a result of I do know with out him none of this could even be potential.
How has it felt to take over a place the place a few of the constituents advised you they felt uncared for below earlier management? It’s nice. The reward is there. I didn’t understand how a lot of a neglect that there was. I didn’t know the void they felt. As a result of it [lasted for] so a few years, it turned “That is what it’s.” And it’s like, “No, this isn’t what it must be like.” We have to take cost of our communities, get your neighborhoods again, and also you do have a voice.
How did you are feeling inside the first few months as a metropolis director? Truthfully, it was loads of unknowns. I’m the kind who will ask questions after I don’t perceive. I used to be quiet on objective as a result of this can be a new position and I’m simply attempting to really feel my approach. I do know it’s loads of shifting elements, so I used to be simply sitting again, monitoring and observing. It will get to some extent the place some stuff is good and improper, so let me communicate up. That’s what you’re actually beginning to see.
You and Antwan Phillips are very younger in comparison with the remainder of the board. Are you able to discuss what it’s like to affix the board as a younger Black lady? I believe it’s an excellent worth; an excellent asset so as to add. We’re in a unique stage of life, and we’re in a position to remind the remainder of the board that there are key factors and gamers on this metropolis that we should be conscious about. I’m hoping that our positions will carry different individuals to suppose, “ what, they did it and we are able to do it, too.” That’s what’s going to proceed to maneuver us ahead.
How do you suppose Little Rock, as a neighborhood, can method crime in a proactive approach? I’m nonetheless a believer in getting concerned with the police division and attending to know the officers. Having the officers come to the neighborhood affiliation conferences, having extra individuals generally come to these conferences, that’s the place you actually begin to kind these relationships. We additionally need to get the youngsters extra concerned in what’s occurring. I’m an enormous proponent of the neighborhood facilities. They’ve nice providers, nice athletics. There are issues that we simply need to get out and inform our individuals about.
What have you ever completed since becoming a member of the board that you just’re essentially the most happy with? We simply had the Ward 6 block get together [Oct. 28] on the West Central Group Heart. My purpose is to proceed to have it bigger and transfer it round totally different elements of the ward … We now have to embody your entire ward. All the totally different neighborhoods that make up the ward are distinctive, and we have to spotlight all of these. Greater than 40 distributors signed up without cost. They got here and made cash without cost, and that’s what it’s all about. We will spotlight these small companies. It was only a nice, nice environment to have the younger individuals and the older technology combine and mingle.
What are you prioritizing within the new 12 months? Cleansing up the neighborhoods. If we are able to care for the small stuff, it doesn’t develop into giant stuff. That’s the place all of the [previous] neglect got here from as a result of it simply piled one factor after one other. We want all of Little Rock trying presentable, throughout the board. Nobody can do all of it; it takes all of us to do some bit. I additionally need to focus extra on what we are able to do to pour into our youth and assist with getting our seniors extra concerned. I used to say loads, ‘Dwell, work, play and worship.’ That’s actually what we have to concentrate on for everyone.
Enjoyable truth: I’ve a twin brother.
Go-to karaoke tune: Something Beyoncé, however most likely “Improve U (feat. Jay-Z).”
Responsible pleasure: Actuality TV. “The Actual Housewives,” “The Kardashians” and “Married to Drugs” are a few of my favorites.
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