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Crossett Area Chamber Of Commerce Candidate Conversations Part 4

Today is Part 4 of our “Candidate Conversations”, which is a six (6) part series that began on Friday and ends this Friday. The candidates answers to the leftover questions are presented to you during this series.

Today’s first question is:

Do you have interest in strongly encouraging Arkansas and federal highway departments to extend Interstate 530 to intersect Interstate 20 in Monroe, LA and improve US Highway 82 to a 4-lane, divided highway from Lake Village, Arkansas to Texarkana, Arkansas?

Dale Martinie:

The interest I would have in interstate improvements for 530 and extending down from Monticello to Monroe would obviously depend on traffic numbers and Federal Highway Department statistics. I believe 530 would follow the 425 path and actually skirt Crossett on the East side. This would have been a much different picture if we still had the plywood mill and full paper operations in production. That additional 500+ trucks of daily deliveries and pick-ups would have painted a much different picture than we see today. However, the change for 82 to 4 lane from Lake Village to Texarkana would have a positive impact on our economy with more passers-by utilizing the route. All of this will be based on state studies of traffic flow and the dire needs. As your mayor, anything that would positively impact our city and not create any adverse effects would have my full support.

Sarah Hollimon:

Improving the roads in and around Ashley County is a must. This goes hand in hand with both my vision for future business growth here and tourism growth here. It is no secret that road conditions improve the further north you go in our state. That sends the message to both those of us who live here and those who travel here that the lower part of our state is unimportant and not wortg travelling to. Well that couldnt be further than the truth!

I have to admit, the world of roadway construction is not familiar to me. I would need to work closely with our Crossett Economic Development Foundation to understand the process of achieving new road construction as well as with our county officials on what we can do to gain proper funding and better utilize present funding.

This is a step outside my comfort zone that will lead to growth not only in myself but to growth in our community AND in our county AND in South Arkansas.

David Newberry:

From what I understand, they tried to get 530 to go South to Monticello, but the landowners North of Monticello put up a huge fuss, and won. It makes sense to me to have that road go as far South as possible, but to Monroe would be a big undertaking and cost due to all the water they will run into, like the Saline and Ouachita Rivers, as well as the Felsenthal Refuge. It may serve just as well if they go ahead and make Hwy 425 4-lane from Hamburg to Hwy 65 North of Star City. We could still cut over to 530, but they truly need to make it 4-lane as well. So yes, I am very much in favor of any improvement North and South of Crossett.
Hwy 82 is being improved right now, and they are adding some 3-lane areas into the mix, which will help speed up the traffic, but there is no mention of it going 4-lane. The pressure to do so will require the expected traffic. I currently travel to El Dorado a few times a month and there is very little traffic on the road. In order to entice new businesses into the City we need a better road system, but to get the better road system the State has to have a good reason to widen the road, and that reason is the expected travel volume. This is the true version of a Catch-22 scenario.
It will be my job as Mayor to meet with the Highway Commission and lobby for improved roads. While the roads are most likely a long-time project, if we don’s start asking today, then we will not get them tomorrow. What we need is someone from Crossett to be on the Highway Commission to stand up for our “lost continent” here in Southeast Arkansas.

Kevin Cosby:

Business and commerce always benefit from having major highway or interstate access for their town. I would support any improvements to our highway and interstate access. The feasibility studies, traffic studies, and DOT guidelines fall outside of our control but I would definitely try to help encourage the improvements.

Crystal Marshall:

Absolutely! I have been working very closely with the Arkansas Department of Transportation since taking office. We have formulated a fantastic partnership and are in the process of bringing the ARDOT Director Lorie Tudor to Crossett to advocate for Crossett and our needs. She has been incredibly receptive and open and there is much potential in this newly developing relationship. Since being in office I’ve taken every opportunity to grow relationships across the state to ensure Crossett is on the forefront of our state leaders minds as they make decisions that impact us all. We are excited about this opportunity and absolutely plan to continue lobbying for Crossett to have greater access to Interstates and Highways. These expansions could mean huge increases to Crossett’s footprint in our state and a revitalization of our economy. Likewise I spoke to Senator Tom Cotton’s office just yesterday and am lobbying for Crossett via that channel as well. It is through building these relationships throughout the state that I can advocate for Crossett on a state and federal level and ensure we are part of the all expansion discussions and on the minds of our state and national leaders.

Our 2nd question for today is:

How do you stay grounded in balancing home, work and life?

Dale Martinie:

Staying grounded is a very simple task. I have worked my entire life and was never given anything. Therefore, I am very thankful for what I have. I have always been one to take care of my material possessions and take nothing for granted. I believe anyone that has the desire and heart to accomplish something can certainly do it through a good work ethic and honesty. Our home is our haven, our safe space. My family and I are simple people that enjoy every day of our lives and what it has to offer. My family will come first and I believe that to be true for everyone. We are a unit and love spending time with each other. My family is stretched across the United States but we are always there for one another. Having a very supportive family makes it very easy to stay grounded. As important as family is, my work has always been ranked right there at the top and is what provides for me and my family. Work has always been a key to my success and has offered my family stability for my lifetime. My full commitment to work has always been important and I have never wavered from that. I am fortunate enough to have a wife that is very dedicated to our community and is always involved. She provides me with insight that I might not otherwise have. As your mayor, it will always be Team Martinie working for our city and not someone looking to leave every day at 4:00. With my family support it will always be easy to balance these attributes.

Sarah Hollimon:

I stay grounded and balanced through yoga and a constant conversation with God.

I have been practicing yoga for more than 20 years and instructing at my practice “Longdog Yoga & Wellness” for working on four years. In an area of the world where wellness is not honored, yoga might seem strange and therefore scary. But it is a gift from God to me and part of my grounding and balance of choice.

Through it, I have learned about how we live faster than we are designed to live. Among other situations, this fast pace trains us to breathe far shallower than our lungs are designed to breathe. Yoga teaches you to breathe first. That alone alters the way you see and react to the world around you.

Yoga has also taught me that as long as I am trying, at the end of the day what I managed to achieve was enough. Instead of lying awake nights worrying about the things I did not complete, I rest completely so the next day I am ready to achieve more. This gives me that Divine energy you might have noticed as I move from task to task calmly tackling what needs to be done.

Throughout my day I constantly consult God. Either praising him for the storm that is reforming me into a stronger version of me, or asking for His guidance through situations, or surrounding his many gifts with gratitude.

God led me home three years ago to use what I have learned in life so far to uplift Crossett. All of what I have achieved so far has been by His hand working through me. His guidance includes a balance so perfect, it is rare my scales tip to one side or the other.

Rare, but not nonexistent. There are times my focus on Crossett, which is my work, gets heavier than my focus on family. God gave my husband a loud voice and he uses it. And I listen. We adjust. We take another step forward together. Life is about monitoring and adjusting. And I keep a healthy sense of humor about the process.

David Newberry:

One advantage of being older is that you learn to streamline your life. Things that were once important are no longer important. You don’t need as much “stuff” to make your life full. I find myself very filled each day with the time I spend in Bible study, prayer, alone time with my wife, the joy of having our Daughter and Grand-Children in the same town and the many, many friends we have here in Crossett. Life has never been better for us, and being a Mayor will not hinder that fulfillment one ounce.
Balance comes from having priorities. I’m usually up for the day around 4:00 a.m. and spend my day studying for 3-4 hours, or until my wife wakes up. My comment is that I usually have a half-day’s work in before most people show up for their job. This will not change. As I stated in an earlier response, I will most likely be in the office by 5:00 a.m. to get the needed paperwork done and emails sent. I’m sure no one will every complain about the hours I put into the necessary work day. My priorities for the day can change on a dime if an emergency comes up or I need to take care of something personal, as you well understand. The balance of the day is accomplished when the work is completed and I have met the needs of the most important people in my life, such as my family and friends.
I’m not afraid of hard work and I’m not afraid of taking the needed time for people. At the same time, I live with the most wonderful wife a man could ever have. She doesn’t like it when I mention her, but those who know her will agree with me. She is good at reminding me to keep the proper perspective on work and play. Being grounded and balanced in life is much easier with you have a Godly wife by your side, and for her I am truly blessed.

Kevin Cosby:

God and family first,everything else will fall in place. I believe in working hard. My parents instilled in me a work ethic that I am proud of. I was taught to accomplish all you can today because you don’t know what tomorrow will bring. I don’t mind working late, after hours to finish the task. I take pride in a sense of accomplishment. When it’s time for downtime I relax with my family. We enjoy an active lifestyle. You can find us often times in the park riding bikes or enjoying the outdoors. In today’s fast-paced world I’m fortunate to have a supportive family who helps me maintain a good balance. With God’s blessings we can accomplish great things.

Crystal Marshall:

Work life balance is so important in the lives of working families. It’s vital to ensure time is wellspent with those most important, God and family. We are incredibly blessed beyond measure, as my husband’s business provides incredible flexibility so that our children are able to spend their time with him while I am at work enabling our children to nearly always be with one or both parents. This tremendous blessing allows for greater comfort as I work to serve the great people of Crossett, and we couldn’t be more grateful.
With every opportunity possible, our family loves to unite and work together to serve our community. Involving the entire family in as much as possible is a method that works so very well in my family. It not only allows us to have quality time together while serving our citizens, but it also helps teach our children how important it is to give back to the community. Together we can not only serve, but help grow our leaders of tomorrow.
Likewise, carving out special time for everyone is vital. Everyone needs those moments to feel special by having your undivided attention. For one of my daughters, our special time is early in the morning. At 9 years old, she sets an alarm and gets up to come snuggle in my lap before work. It’s one of the greatest treasures in my life. My other 9 year old daughter likes to lie together before bed in the evening and tell me all about her day, thoughts, ideas and it absolutely recharges my soul. Being able to flank my day with these special moments is such a blessing. As for my husband, he is my best friend and sounding board. We are united in our devotion to God, family, Crossett and to each other. Though date nights, and long talks are essential, we feed each other’s souls through our incredible level of respect and love we hold for each other.
And above all, putting my relationship with God first is crucial. It is only through serving him and his glory that I am able to serve my family and community.

Stay tuned tomorrow for the final part in our series, “Candidate Conversations”.

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