FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Half a dozen candidates are vying to be the next Washington County judge, with a pair of Democrats and four Republicans on the primary ballot.

The seat was vacated by Judge Joseph Wood, who is seeking the GOP nomination for lieutenant governor.

DEMOCRATS

Josh Moody was a teacher at the Washington County Juvenile Detention Center (JDC) for the last eight years, and on his campaign website he said that he believes in “compromise, civil discourse, showing respect for one another, and listening to each other.”

He earned a Business Degree from the University of Arkansas, majoring in Human Resource Management and minoring in Psychology.

“We need to break the cycles of poverty and incarceration by creating more opportunities for struggling families,” he stated.

Jail Expansion

Moody said he doesn’t support an expansion at the Washington County Jail at this time. He said he would like to see more investment in programs to help keep people out of jail.

“Let’s work on successful alternatives and initiatives that have been worked you know, throughout the country and different areas that have seen success, that have dropped recidivism, that have made communities safer without incarceration, incarceration is band aid,” Moody said.

Moody said he would like to see the quorum court consider implementing more of the recommendations from the 2019 study that looked at alternatives to jail expansion.

“Many of the people that are currently incarcerated are not a threat to the community,” Moody said. “We’re basically just mad at them and want to lock them up and they’re unfortunately too poor to buy their freedom.”

Combatting Division

Moody said a lot of county duties like roads and the animal shelter aren’t partisan and he wants to ensure the quorum court finds common ground. He said he wants to see the public be more involved in the decision making process.

“We should be relying on those people and those experts in the field, in the service, in the business world, to figure out how we can handle population growth and handle the growth overall here in this area,” Moody said.

Priorities

Moody said he’s running on ‘purple’ to bring compromise to county government.

“I’d like to kind of bring more civil discourse back into the quorum courtroom,” Moody said.

He also said he wants to put an emphasis on investing American Rescue plan money in diversion programs.

“Invest in proactive and rehabilitative services for people including expanding drug court, expanding veteran services, implementing a mental health court,” Moody said.

Moody said he’d also like to address homelessness.

Josh Moody – courtesy changethemood.us

His opponent in the Democratic primary is Charles Ward, a United States Navy combat veteran. Ward graduated from Elkins High School and attended Northwest Arkansas Community College.

Ward worked for the county for 15 years, spending nearly 14 years in the Department of Roads, where he served as road superintendent. He left his county job in March 2021 to start his own business.

Ward said that the county needs to evaluate its roads and bridges, understand how county growth changes the needs of transportation improvement and have a plan to address those needs.

Charles Ward – courtesy Facebook

KNWA/FOX 24 reached out to Charles Ward for an interview, but we was unavailable.

REPUBLICANS

Patrick Deakins is a Washington County Justice of the Peace for District 5 and has served two terms on the Quorum Court while currently being Chairman of the Finance Committee and Vice Chairman of the Jails and Law Enforcement Committee. He is also a Certified Public Accountant and CEO of Peritum, where he currently practices tax planning and preparation.

“I believe county government should be a connector between our local industry and non‐profits,” he said. “When all three work together and collaborate, we can overcome any obstacle and make a better future for all our citizens.”

Jail Expansion

Deakins said he fully supports putting a jail expansion on the November ballot.

“We’ve got to have the space as we grow for the individuals in our jail and to even have the space for these types of programs and that’s why I think these modifications are very needed,” Deakins said.

Deakins said he is committed to working with Sheriff Helder to make sure an expansion progresses.

Combatting Division

Deakins said he will set the agenda for the county and make sure the quorum court knows where the county is headed.

“I want to try to illustrate the challenges and opportunities that I see as county judge that way I can give them the information they need to help us address those challenges,” Deakins said.

Priorities

Deakins said he’s focused on the county’s roads and expanding the jail.

“We got to do a better job on our roads and that’s one thing if you’re live in Springdale and Fayetteville, it’s a whole other thing if you live out in the rural parts of the county and you live on a dirt road,” Deakins said.

He said he also wants to ensure the county is hiring and retaining people for the road department.

Patrick Deakins – – courtesy Facebook

According to his website, Mark Scalise is “the only candidate for Washington County Judge who has a law degree and who is a practicing attorney, the only candidate with an engineering degree, and the only candidate with over 30 years of corporate business and management experience.”

He is a lawyer in private practice, a businessman and a former deputy prosecutor.

Jail Expansion

Scalise said he fully supports expanding the county jail and would like to see the issue on the November ballot.

“Unfortunately not great people are also moving here and we have to get out ahead of it,” Scalise said. “We need to get it on the ballot, put it to a vote and let the people decide if they want to spend the money on a jail expansion.”

Scalise said the jail needs to be expanded in order to keep up with the area’s growing population.

Combatting Division

Scalise said his experience in Corporate America makes him ready to interact with all different kinds of people.

“When I’m dealing with the quorum court there are different factions, points of view, very passionate and I’d like to bring civility and some sense at least finding what we have in common,” Scalise said.

Priorities

Scalise said he would like to tackle the county’s infrastructure. He said the county will need to improve the roads as population grows.

“It’s historically been a rural county so most of the roads are farm roads, very skinny, not really made for all the traffic they are seeing right now, especially that’s coming, so we need to focus on widening and paving the roads in the county,” Scalise said.

Scalise said his engineering degree makes him ready to tackle the roads.

Mark Scalise – courtesy Facebook

Tom A. Terminella has lived in Fayetteville since 1970, graduating from Fayetteville High School in 1985. He has worked in the real estate industry for over 30 years. 

On his campaign website, he says that he “understands how to stimulate positive economic growth, and how we can work together to preserve our unique culture and empower Washington County to be the best it can be.”

KNWA/FOX 24 reached out to Terminella for an interview, but he was unavailable before Tuesday.

Tom Terminella – courtesy Facebook

Sharon Jay Lloyd of Prairie Grove has served as the grants administrator for Washington County for the past five years. Before that, she spent 22 years in education as a teacher, special education director and administrator. 

She has a bachelor’s degree from Missouri Southern State University and a master’s from the University of Houston. She was also a Washington County Justice of the Peace, representing District 2 from 2015-2016.

“I’ve aggressively sought grants to lessen the tax burden on Washington County residents,” she said when announcing her candidacy. She has also voiced a desire to reduce the county’s sales tax rate from 1.25%.

Jail Expansion

Lloyd said she is in favor of expanding the jail and has been since she was back on the quorum court in 2016.

“It is a shame that we have to go that route of expanding our jail but we have to know that there are people out in the streets that have committed crimes that are not safe to our community, so a jail expansion must happen,” Lloyd said.

Combatting Division

Lloyd said in order to bring the quorum court together she would like to see all justices of the peace serve on the county’s Budget and Finance Committee.

“All 15 members on the budget and finance committee, I think that will help a lot because everyone will have input during the time when the committee meetings meet and therefore when quorum court meets a lot of stuff will already have been shed out,” Lloyd said.

She said everyone is elected equally and thus everyone should have an equal say on the court.

Priorities

Lloyd said she would like to focus on road and bridge improvements. She said her experience working with infrastructure grants as the county’s grant administrator makes her ready for the task.

“In Washington County we do take roads, and our county roads, and our county bridges seriously, so I’d like to make sure that’s a smooth operation,” Lloyd said. “Right now it is, but there are improvements that need to be made.”

Sharon Lloyd – courtesy Facebook

Early voting is now underway across the state. If you need to verify your voter registration, you can do that here. Election day is May 24. KNWA is your local election headquarters, and you can follow all of our coverage here.