March 15, 2012 by wcobserver
WASHINGTON COUNTY – Local Democratic candidates are going to be busy this election season. Candidates for county, state and national positions were required to file their intent to run by March 1 and Justice of the Peace races will see several Democrats go head-to- head in the primaries.
Maria Hicks and Sharon L. Green will square off for the Democrat nominee for District 7. And both women say they’re ready to rumble.
“It is my first time to run as a candidate … the opportunity presented itself and I figured I really want to serve and do more than just work behind the scenes and help,” Hicks said. “There comes a time when you need to put up or shut up.”
A Fayetteville resident for 18 years, Hicks has indeed been quite active behind the politi- cal scenes. She is currently the VP of programs for the Washington County Democratic Women and Vice Chair for the Third district Demo- cratic Hispanic Caucus. As reported on WCObserver.com, Hicks recently con- fronted county officials and the Secretary of State’s office for not offering mandated Spanish-language voter registration forms.
Although she works extensively with minorities and women, Hicks said her big focus as a JP would be the streamlining and better monitoring of the county’s budgetary process.
“My bigger issue, the more I find out details about the Quorum Court, is the process they use for budgeting,” she said. “Currently what they’re doing is only re- viewing budgets and departments that ask for increases and not all the departments.”
Hicks said her professional work experience dealing with “budgeting and projections and analysis of income and
sales” makes her perfect for that kind of oversight position on the Quorum Court. However, she also said it’s her personal attitude that will make her a tough opponent both in the primaries and the general election.
“I’m a full-time mom and a full-time consultant for a computer data company. And all the other stuff I do is because I have a passion for it,” Hicks said. “I guess, don’t have a filter when it comes to some one being afraid to speak up. I just think if someone doesn’t speak up, if someone doesn’t help, then we can’t expect things to get better.”
Hick’s opponent in the Democrat primary is Sharon L. Green, a life-long resident of Washington County.
What’s more, Green has had some experience with running for elected office, when she went up against District 1 Re- publican incumbent Tom Lundstrum in 2008.
“It’ll be an interesting next few months,” Green said. “[In 2008] I was the new-comer. I’ve learned a lot and have stayed very active in the Quorum Court and stayed involved.”
Although Green didn’t defeat Lundstrum for the position, she said she’s stayed very active in Quorum Court proceedings while also working for the past 10 years at the Springdale Public Schools in the accounting department. As a JP, Green said she’d like to focus on continuing support and oversight of some of the newly initiated county plans, including the county-wide zoning and the animal shelter. As for the the hotly-debated Ozark Regional Transit fee, which in all likelihood will be sent to voters in May, Green said it is important to consider the concerns all the citizens in the community.
“I’m totally in support of helping the elderly … and I also understand the disabled,” Green said. “But having said that, I also think that it’s not necessarily the rest of the citizens’ responsibility to foot the bill for other people to ride free. I think you need to buy a one-day pass, or week pass, or for the students going to NWACC, they need to buy a pass. They need to pay for transportation. It doesn’t
have to be massive but they need to pay for it. I’m for having citizens being able to vote for that.”
Green said that representing the citizens of the county, and not just a specific district or party, is key.
“I know that being JP you have a district that you represent, but everything you do is going to affect Washington County, so you have to know the big picture,” said Green, who was all for a Democrat primary debate, although none has been planned.
“I think our citizens deserve to know who is wanting to represent them and who the best person for that would be. Is it someone running because they want one party or the other in that position or are they running because they truly want to be part of the neighborhood and represent of that district. There’s a big difference.”
The primaries will be held on May 22 , with early voting beginning May 7. The winner of the Democrat primary will go up against incumbent Republican JP Rick Cochran, who will shift from District 10 to District 7.