Ivan Whitfield made his announcement at the Masonic Lodge in front of a crowd of friends, family and supporters. He said that he has been encouraged to run for mayor on issues such as the city’s poor drainage system.

In a strong speech, Pine Bluff Third Ward Council member Ivan Whitfield announced Tuesday night that he is running for mayor. “For over 35 years, I have had the opportunity to work, to share, to live in this great community. I have touched the lives of many citizens. I have been fortunate enough to be with them on sunshiny days during graduations, birthday parties and babies being born,” said Whitfield, who also served as the city’s police chief for more than a year and was on the force for more than three decades.

Whitfield also said that the city needs to hire an economic development specialist, because if we hire our own who will help keep our businesses here and recruit others, it’s a must. The alderman also spoke about the need for more youth programs and the redevelopment of the city’s housing infrastructure.

As for running against Mayor Shirley Washington, who has already announced her intention to seek re-election in 2020 and who hired Whitfield as chief in 2017, he said that she told him more than a year ago that God wanted her “to run one time,” then she would go back into retirement.

When closing his announcement speech, Whitfield told the audience at the Masonic Lodge that he is ready to lead this great city. He also said that it is time to tell our children they no longer have to leave this city to grow and succeed.