David Pruitt figures he has an opportunity to "help our city grow in the direction it needs to grow," which is why he's seeking a return to the Beebe City Council.
The 63-year-old, who has lived in Beebe for 37 years, is challenging Ward 1, Position 2 incumbent Linda Anthony in the Nov. 3 general election.
Early voting for the Nov. 3 general election continues through Monday at 5 p.m.. It is being held from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and the final day of early voting starts at 8 a.m. at the Carmichael Community Center, 801 S. Elm St. in Searcy, and White County Cooperative Extension Service Office, 2400 Old Landing Road.
Pruitt gave up his seat on the council in 2016 after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor for voting twice in that year's general election.
He said serving two years on the council "wasn't very good."
"It was like hitting a brick wall and, of course, the new guy can't hardly get anything done, but this time here, there are more people running so there will be new faces on the council ... .
"I just believe that the citizens need to have more ownership of the community. I think our city needs to be transparent to our citizens. The government of the city of Beebe needs to be transparent and let everyone now what's going on. I see the City Council making so many ordinances. They call this your dream hometown; just because you make an ordinance doesn't make it a good thing."
He brought up the billboard signs in the city as another thing that "kind of takes away from the dream hometown look."
"I don't know who voted that in on the council but it made our city, in my opinion, look pretty ugly. Those big signs are everywhere now."
Having things for kids to do in the Beebe community also is a big deal for Pruitt.
"We need a community center where kids can come together rather than sitting outside or sitting at home in front of their PlayStation," he said. "It seems like they all are on their computers."
Having a pool at a community center is something Pruitt said would be great for the community. He likes the idea of there being games available for children to play as well.
Pruitt runs an addiction recovery program in Beebe called Crissie's House of Recovery. He said its fourth year started Oct. 12.
"We give back to the community," he said. "We feed everybody. We have a food bank. We meet on Thursday nights. We feed them and we have testimonies where people have been delivered and separated from their addictions, drugs or whatever their addiction is. Over 2,000 people have visited us."
Born in raised in Rockford, Ill., Pruitt said he came to visit his parents in Beebe years ago and never dreamed it would be his home.
He said he has been married to his wife, Patricia, for 37 years and he has children in Beebe. He has owned his own business, American Tire and Auto Repair in Beebe, for nearly 21 years.
"We are all about giving back. I think it's a good thing," he said. "That's why I am so blessed with the business and ministry."
Concerning his misdemeanor plea in 2016, Pruitt said, "What I did was go to early voting, I voted early and when the election came up for president back in 2016, I went in to City Hall and I voted. It was an honest mistake but I was prosecuted for it."
The city pushed the issue and had me prosecuted so I stepped down from the City Council because I didn't want to bring negativity to the city. I got charged with a misdemeanor. What I did was I pleaded guilty. It was an honest mistake. I said I took full responsibility for it."
He said him voting twice shouldn't have been allowed. "The checks and balances in place didn't work on the voting. ... Then again, ultimately I felt I was the one who should be held accountable. When they seen my signature, they should have never let me vote. If they asked me if I voted something probably would have popped up in my mind. It was an honest mistake."
He said he paid his fine and the charge was "expunged."
Then-White County Circuit Judge Robert Edwards "expunged it and the prosecutor agreed with this to expunge it and take it off my record. I had nothing to gain on voting. I, family or friends was not on ballot."
Becky McCoy, the 17th Judicial District prosecuting attorney, said in answer to a complaint filed with her office by Anthony, Pruitt's opponent, that it is her opinion that Pruitt is ineligible to run for office because of his misdemeanor plea.
Anthony, along with Council member Derrek Goff, Tracey Lightfoot and Lee McLane, Mayor Mike Robertson and a resident, Jake Smith, are listed as plaintiffs in a emergency petition filed Oct. 23 against Pruitt and White County Clerk Carla Barnett asking for a declaratory judgment and writ of mandamus against his eligibility to run.