Barbara Graves

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Barbara Graves is an at-large City Director for the City of Little Rock, an elected post she has occupied since 2000. She has also been Little Rock Vice Mayor since 2005. Graves is also the owner of Barbara Graves Intimate Fashions in Breckenridge Village.

Graves ran for Little Rock mayor in the 2006 election cycle. She ran on a platform of stronger mayoral government as recommended in a report by Vision Little Rock. "A new mayor will bring a different style," she said in an Arkansas Times interview. "There are 11 directors and it takes six votes to pass something. That is the only form of government we have right now. I’m prepared to work with what's given to me, in either form. As far as going back and revisiting what Vision Little Rock recommended, I certainly would want to do that and I would ask my fellow directors to do that. That would be step one."

Graves also recommended teamwork to improve all wards of the city. "I would look at all seven wards and what they want individually," she noted, "and work with each director to see how we can strengthen each ward. I don't view the mayoral position as a bully pulpit at all. I view it as an opportunity to work together. It's a team, it's not me browbeating 10 people to get what I want."

She ran in favor of the Pulaski County jail tax: "I'm absolutely for it. The jail is just a tool that we need to use," she said. "It's a quality of life issue, an economic development issue and a safety issue. It's a mushroom issue, because if it doesn't pass, we'll feel the problems even more. Right now we're writing tickets and citations for very serious crimes. Unless I kill you, they will just write me a ticket. We don't have that tool in our toolbox."

Graves also had other priorities in her election bid: "The three main issues are public safety, education and economic development and job creation. If the jail tax passes, the money the city spent on the jail should be redirected toward programs aimed at males age 14 to 21 who need a first chance, encouraging them to stay in school. We should focus prevention, intervention and treatment dollars there. I would want to have a serious planning session with the schools and pick the one thing we want to mutually accomplish. I want to be focused on establishing priorities, limiting priorities so things can be accomplished in three to four years."

"We need to interface with existing businesses and the Chamber of Commerce. We’ve got to turn the corner on Main Street and work with the Downtown Partnership. We need significant gathering places throughout the city. What about a sports complex out west? What can we do to develop Fourche Creek? How do we make sure each ward has something strong going for it to give people a sense of place and pride?"

Graves' husband Barry McDaniel is president of the Board of Directors for the homeless shelter Our House.


Warwick Sabin, "Focus On: Barbara Graves," Arkansas Times, September 21, 2006.

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