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A Contender for City Council: Get to Know Andy Barrett

There is currently a vacant seat for Ward 1 Position 1 on the City Council and one of the people running for said seat is a relatively new face to the political scene. We wanted to learn a little bit more about Andy Barrett. And below- you can learn a bit more about him, too.

Offbeat: What was the tipping point on your decision to run for City Council? Andy: My friend Kristen Foster sparked the contemplation to run in mid-December, while I was reading in Penny U coffee shop. She informed me that the city was considering a special election to fill the Ward One city council position, and told me I should run. I had attended or watched all of the council meetings since moving here in 2014, and I sensed a need for an objective, outside perspective. The tipping point came when I told several of my friends about the spark, and they helped kindle the flame. Ultimately, I realized that running would be the best thing do could do for my daughter, Anari. She is what focuses my life. Offbeat: As a Federal Nuclear Inspector, what parts of that job do you think you’ll be able to translate into work the City Council handles? Andy: Primarily the skill of listening. I've been a resident inspector for fifteen years, and one of the most important roles is to attentively listen to everyone at the facilities that we inspect. From the executive managers to the front-line employees, we are required to carefully evaluate information we receive in an objective manner to ensure that any safety concerns are addressed properly. Being an inspector also requires intense focus and asking the right questions, at the right time. The role of a resident inspector at a nuclear power plant is sometimes called the Nuclear "judge, jury, and executioner", because we hold so much power to enforce a strict safety regime -- which is for good reason. That power has to be tempered by the inspectors own self-control, to ensure we make good decisions. I think this is exactly the type of skill that a person leading a city needs. Offbeat: If you could tackle one project, with guaranteed support from whomever you needed, what would it be? Andy: Change all nuclear weapons in the world into nuclear reactor fuel and make power for world peace. Offbeat: What are some of the main areas you really want to help promote/improve in our community? Andy: I would like to see Arkansas Technical University grow from its roots as a polytechnic, vocational style of higher technical education, to more of a research institution. I think that would be a great benefit to the State of Arkansas, which in turn, would greatly benefit our community. This would take much state and national funding to achieve. Laboratories and the people needed to support them are quite expensive. Unfortunately, first we have to address the fact that ATU is currently one of the lowest funded state schools in Arkansas. I'd also like to see the development on El Paso street kicked into high gear. Offbeat: Bonus question! If you could work with any politician, alive or dead, who would it be and what would you like to work with them on? Andy: There are many politicians that I have huge respect for, but ultimately the best choice for this point in time would be Donald Trump. I'd like to change his opinion on certain issues and help him to realize that we are all just humans trying to survive and have a good life. I feel he needs more understanding of his fellow citizens and the World. In my opinion, it appears he has lived in a bubble of wealth, fame and power his entire life, which likely comes with its own type of suffering.

To find out more on Andy and follow his journey check out his facebook page:

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