Get to know Raymond Burks

Raymond Burks hails from Southwest Arkansas and graduated from Stamps High School in 2002. Aside from a brief internship in college, he has lived in Fayetteville since August 2002. He graduated with a Bachelor’s in English with a focus on Creative Writing December 2009 from the University of Arkansas. His community engagement involves serving on the University of Arkansas’ Fine Arts Fee Committee in Spring 2006 and Spring 2007, University of Arkansas’ KXUA from 2005-2008, where he was a radio talk show host, a rotation DJ, and was then elected Station Manager by the Student Media Board. He also worked as a Producer for Fayetteville Public Access(then known as Community Access Television) in 2007, where he produced the award winning serial drama, “Bring Down the Moon.”

Aside from being a trial writer for the CBS daytime drama, “The Bold and the Beautiful,” most of Raymond’s professional employment is tied to customer service and community engagement in Fayetteville. He worked as a Front Desk Associate at The Inn at Carnall Hall from 2008-2012 and then for the Student Accounts Division of the Treasurer’s Office from 2012-2014. He is currently a Support Manager for the Walmart on Campus, a position he has held since 2015.

Raymond’s hobbies consist of hosting game show recreations in his living room for friends to come and play, singing karaoke, writing fiction, contributing to the political blog Misfit Politics, and enjoying pedestrian and mid-level eats.

 

 

Raymond on the Issues

Naturally Beautiful City

When moving here in 2002, one of the things I noticed was how lush and beautiful the scenery was in and around town. What was a naturally beautiful city with green as far the eyes could see is turning into an industrial wasteland, full of high-rises that obstruct gorgeous views, outside developers that destroy the land to build more useless, unaffordable housing, and the ever growing threat of the parks we use to relax and exercise being sold for more of these petty ventures. If elected Alderman, I will vote against any measure or any building project that threatens our parks or more of our gorgeous greenery and scenery.

Safety of All Residents

Safety in our town is one of the most important issues we face, as we’ve all noticed an uptick in our local news reporting the latest shooting or attack in our entertainment districts and beyond. Confidence in our law enforcement is at an all time low because of the storiesin and out of Fayetteville and Northwest Arkansas. That confidence is also low because of a perceived lack of law enforcement presence outside of known hotspots for violence in our entertainment district. Residents and visitors traveling to downtown and beyond shouldn’t have to worry for their safety. If elected Alderman, I will vote for any measure that improves lighting on our streets, parks, and trail system(for all months out of the year). I will also establish a dialogue with community and law enforcement on solutions and ways we can keep downtown and all parts of Fayetteville safe.

A Fair Fayetteville

An issue that is a hot button one recently has been Civil Rights Ordinance 5871 that extends protections to gender identity and sexual orientation in the city. It cites and fines businesses that allow discrimination against the LGBTQI community. I voted in support of the ordinance due to outside influences unnecessarily vilifying the trans community. However, my personal position on this is clear: I support business owners having the right to run their businesses however they see fit and I support the free market and word of mouth to determine what happens to those businesses. Once elected, I will work for Ward 2 and my support for any ordinance or legislation lies with the more compelling arguments. What happens in Fayetteville shouldn’t be influenced or decided by propagandist robocalls from a famous reality TV family in Springdale, nor does it need to come from coastal elites and metroplex visitors (more…)

Diversity and Inclusion

I believe in a Fayetteville that is diverse and fair in all areas, including socioeconomic diversity. Our city council sets benchmarks on diversity and grandstands on how Fayetteville should be a melting pot, while continuing to push longtime residents and those who wish to live here and raise a family out of the housing and rent markets. The biggest issue of diversity we face is how many longtime residents(of various races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, political views, and income) feel that hand of diversity isn’t extended to them by the city. (more…)

Easy Transportation for All

Fayetteville streets are usually not difficult to navigate. But the years I’ve spent here, there is still “patchwork” on opposite sides of certain streets(parts of Cleveland, parts of Leverett, North Street) that prove cumbersome to many of us that rely on sidewalks for transportation.There’s also a lack of upkeep(excessive branches) on some of those areas that either the city refuses to upkeep or cite the landowner for. For drivers, it seems like construction projects that take up most of our summer usually never fix the potholes and the problems related to localized flooding during the Spring. (more…)

Recycling and Ecosystems

Fayettevillians are incredibly passionate about the impact waste has on the local environment, ecosystems, and also how it impacts the planet at large. It is my belief that we can all make a difference by recycling, reusing, and repurposing items. But many lack the enthusiasm to research or get on board when they see other cities with eyerolling efforts to ban and police items like plastic straws. We need a commitment to the environment that is a real effort to inspire citizens, local businesses, local renters, and others to care about the environment beyond becoming another clickbait story in the national news. (more…)

Follow the Money

Many of us see taxes as revenue that is designed to go into our local schools, our streets, transportation, and the other bonuses that keep our city running and thriving. But beyond those essentials, what is your money being used for? Property and local sales taxes are high and many of you feel there’s nothing to show for it.  Knowing where our money is going is the first step in holding our city government accountable for wasteful spending.  Once elected your Alderman, it will be my duty to follow the money and make what the city spends more transparent for all of you. (more…)

Growth and Development

Fayetteville has always been welcoming of transplants, visitors, and students who are here to get a great education. In fact, in many of the jobs I’ve held, I’ve interacted with a wide variety of people who are new to town. But there seems to be growing discontent among many locals(some who have been here for a long time) that the city’s welcome mat has come at the expense of them and especially at the expense of our local culture and our gorgeous views. There is a feeling among many residents that our town is being sold out from under us due to big developers and skyrocketing property values. (more…)

Campaign Blog

“Ray The Misfit”

Ward 2, The past 48 hours have been an eye-opener in the world of politics. From misconstrued words to the surfacing of opinions that create hurt feelings to outright smears and lies being spread at the expense of my candidacy, this has been a learning experience. Even though this is […]

High-Rises vs. Mid-Rises

Ward 2, I just want to clarify something about my initial use of the word “high-rise” in my press release since those quotes are getting a lot of attention. While these structures are technically considered “mid-rise” buildings to many in the development and real estate industry, their positions in certain […]

Fayetteville Flyer Preview

Ahead of Fayetteville Flyer’s announcement with my intentions to run, I decided I would share what was sent to The Flyer’s Todd Gill in an email. I couldn’t wait to share these with the public and I want all of you who share my Fayetteville First, Fayetteville Forward agenda to […]

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