The mayor of a SWAR city will not run for office again once his term is over this November, trading in his gavel for a gulf club.
Mayor Wayne Smith said Monday evening that he has accepted a job as the operational manager at New Haven Golf Course in Texarkana, AR. The opportunity arose over the weekend, and Smith, an avid golfer, said he was unable to turn it down.
"To be able to have an opportunity to work on a golf course to me is the ideal situation and it's an opportunity that comes along once in a lifetime and I could not decline that," Smith said.
"And I felt that my responsibility for what I would need to be doing at the golf course and managing and running a vigorous re-election campaign would not be fair to anyone concerned."
Smith has served in the office since 2010. He previously indicated that he would seek re-election.
In recent weeks, another familiar face in Southwest Arkansas politics announced plans to run against Smith on the Nov. 4 ballot. David Haak, 65, officially served on the city board from 1996-1998. He served as Arkansas state representative from 1999-2004.
Smith said he has already notified some officials that he won't be running again. The agreement with the golf course owner happened Sunday night.
Despite starting the new job, Smith said he will serve out his term, which technically ends on Dec. 31.
"I look back on my tenure as the mayor and I did what I said I was going to do," he said.
He credits himself with standing up for the city's interests, resolving a water issue, improving the relationship between Texarkana, AR and Texarkana, Texas and securing a bond for street repair.
Smith said he was prepared to announce his formal candidacy on Aug. 11.
"For those that signed my petitions, I appreciate that. I had the signatures ready to go," he said.
This change will give Smith more time with his family, including his four grandchildren.
And, he said, a chance to perhaps improve his golf game.
Official candidate filing began July 25 and ends at noon on Aug. 15.
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