John Fenley explains his decision to run for Pine Bluff Mayor


I moved to Pine Bluff in early 2020 from Provo Utah, where I grew up. I was searching for a place to build and grow several businesses. I had also hoped to open a Science Museum, Makerspace and Business incubator including Robot Combat and a Go-cart track. Later I saw the need for a compost yard. All those efforts ran into problems with the city that prevented them from progressing as I had hoped.

I moved because I saw opportunity here. I saw a place that most people overlook, with a bad reputation. I now understand that some of that reputation was warranted. I’ve seen the way greed, crime, and corruption have created an environment of fear and uncertainty. This makes it difficult for both business and people to thrive.

As a non-native I’m able to see some things that, perhaps, someone born and raised here doesn’t. I ran head first into a lot of the surprising ways the laws and procedures here can be unfriendly to business. Small changes have a large effect, and my goal as mayor would be to ensure that the city does everything possible to get out of the way of businesses to allow them to thrive, while giving them a stable road map for success.

I base the core of my being on several key qualities that I hold dear: I search for Truth, I believe in Equality, and I respect Personal Freedom. As a Libertarian, I believe in reducing taxes, and reducing red tape. I truly believe that everyone, and every place deserve the chance to change.

I differ from most Libertarians in one key respect. I see that in order to really be free, people need opportunities to grow and learn, and that the best role for government is to help create an environment where everyone has a stable base to build from. This involves programs to ensure that no person is left behind as our society prospers. The rising tide must lift all boats, not leave those without boats to drown.

I’m running for Mayor of Pine Bluff to bring fresh eyes and ideas to the table, and to collaborate with others to achieve prosperity. My thoughts include:
-Assemble a business facilitation task force to create a comprehensive list of existing and potential business, available resources, and to track their progress as they navigate toward success and growth.
-Do a complete audit of existing taxes, departments, and programs under city control. The overall goal is to eliminate waste, and put existing funds to their best use.
-I support the Rhythm and Bayous project, and aspects of the NAACP’s People’s Plan. I even think Go Forward had a few good ideas.
-We need third spaces for young people to interact. I support reconstruction of the Pines Mall and other social activity and mingling spaces if possible.
-We need a real Science Museum here to spark curiosity and hope.
-A children’s museum that gives freedom to play can improve lives in ways we can’t predict.
-Local gardens bring people together and help improve our connection to nature.
-A local compost yard and more city trash cans would help address challenges we face keeping the city looking good.
-One wild idea I have is to create a money fountain that would drop a dollar bill every minute. I believe this will attract people to a surrounding art, social, and business district, as well as reduce petty crime, and ease some desperation among people most in need.

While plans are good, I believe being flexible is better. I freely admit that I can’t predict the future and all the challenges we may face. With your help we can adapt and rise to new challenges, while keeping the ultimate goal of prosperity in mind. We can move in a better direction, not just blindly forward, but deliberately toward something great.

I see a shining future for Pine Bluff. I see a Pine Bluff that lives up to the motto “City of Progress”. I know that future is possible, and hope to help bring that vision to life.

-John Fenley