New Little Rock Town Manager Virgil Miller has said he plans to run for a full four-year term in ’22

Virgil L. Miller Jr., Ward 1’s new representative on the Little Rock board of directors, told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that he plans to run for a full four-year term in the November 2022 election. .

“I absolutely plan to run for a full term,” Miller said by phone Thursday.

In a vote by board members at a special meeting called Wednesday, Miller was selected to fill the remaining term of late city director Erma Hendrix, who died in office last month at the age 91. She had been a representative of Ward 1 for over a decade.

Miller won over 19 other candidates who applied to replace Hendrix. Board members narrowed the group to eight finalists earlier this month.

His term will end in December 2022.

Based on its current boundaries, Ward 1 encompasses the downtown core and surrounding communities. The seat is likely to generate significant interest from aspiring city council members during the 2022 election cycle. As the incumbent in 2018, Hendrix defeated eight challengers.

Miller, 68, works as the director of the Community Reinvestment Act group for Arvest Bank Operations in Little Rock, a position he has held since December 2013. Prior to that, he worked for the Metropolitan National Bank for 13 years, according to his curriculum. vitae.

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He noted that he works for Arvest Bank Operations, the bank’s holding company, which sets him apart from the bank itself.

The Community Reinvestment Act, a federal law of 1977, requires banks to meet the credit needs of their markets, including markets considered low to moderate income, Miller said. Its role is to ensure that the bank remains in compliance with regulations, he said.

Miller’s parents met because of what he called “the romance of the Freeway 365,” with his mother from Wrightsville and his father from Jefferson.

Although he was born in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, as a child, Miller’s family moved to Berkeley, Calif., According to a 2003 profile in the newspaper.

Her aunt, the late Maudelle Miller Shirek, was an influential East Bay activist and politician who served on Berkeley City Council for years.

Miller lived in California from second year until his first semester of seventh year, when his family returned to the Wrightsville area.

“You can imagine the culture shock I had moving from Berkeley, Calif. To a house on a freeway in rural Arkansas,” he said.

He recalled that it was the first year of integration. Miller was one of seven black students in seventh grade at Fuller Junior High School, he said.

“I had never seen anything like this in my life,” he said.

Miller had never embarked on a political campaign before running for the seat of Ward 1 left vacant by Hendrix’s death.

He recalls friends reminding him, “Virgil, you said you would never run for political office because, you know, that was something you just didn’t want to get involved in.”

Nonetheless, having acquired skills and experience working in his community development field for over 40 years, Miller described how his perspective changed.

He said he “began to think, quite frankly, that it was selfish of me” not to share what he learned in service to people and to the community.

Last year he was thinking aloud about running for the Ward 1 siege, but had decided not to run against Hendrix if she chose to run for another term in 2022, Miller said.

Recognizing that he was comfortable with his previous role as a valued figure in the community, Miller said: Aunt Maudelle [to] tell you the truth, from his grave, and just the Millers legacy, period, that we have a spirit of service. “

Asked what issues he wants to work on during his tenure on the board in the interim period leading up to next year’s election, Miller described three main issues that he says are important to the residents of the parish.

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He said people want to feel safe at home, at work and at school, as well as when going out for entertainment. Second, Miller cited the infrastructure in the neighborhood and finally mentioned the affordable housing options.

“My experience has definitely given me knowledge and skills on how to develop and work with people who create affordable housing opportunities for people,” he said.

Abandoned housing and weed-covered lots can be seen in abundance in the neighborhood, Miller said, based on his observations as a resident.

Miller supported the recent unsuccessful sales tax proposal led by Mayor Frank Scott Jr. and was one of dozens of honorary members of the “Rebuild the Rock” campaign committee.

The tax increase, which would have added a net five-eighth percent (0.625%) to the local rate, was rejected in a September 14 citywide referendum.

Miller said he believed it was “extremely important” to maintain revenues from a three-eighth percent (0.375%) sales tax that voters approved in 2011. The tax is expected to expire at the end of This year.

He said the removal of the three-eighth percent tax “should definitely be addressed, I believe,” and suggested he will work with colleagues in town to understand what the effect will be in the future.

Miller said on Thursday that he had not been officially sworn in. He was working with his family to organize an oath taking and said he preferred to take the oath before the next city council meeting on Tuesday.


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