A modern day ‘Renaissance Woman’ Bryant seeks Hope seat

Professor challenges Ward 6 incumbent Montgomery

By Rick Kennedy, managing editor
Within the City of Hope during the 2018 election cycle, two races, limited to two city wards, Ward 6 and Ward 7, bring the dynamic of well-educated professional educators challenging well-known and long established incumbents.
The biggest contrast in candidates happens in Ward 6, where incumbent Steve Montgomery, the current Mayor and owner of several McDonald’s restaurants in southwest Arkansas, faces a worthy modern-day “Renaissance Woman” in challenger Carla Bryant.
Consider the lesser known Bryant as a long time educator and principal, currently an Associate Professor of Education at Southern Arkansas University, then she is a co-pastor and missions director of Word of Grace Church, and then, she has rentals and property development interests both locally and out of state, and then, she’s also traveled across the world.
And lately, in Bryant’s own words Thursday night, “I’ve traveled house to house across the district, walking in the rain over the last two weeks, meeting and listening to the citizens of Ward 6 in boots and blue jeans.”
And what has Bryant discovered?
“Hope really has a very diverse and multicultural population, and I believe city government and policies should better reflect those changes and realities, and we have a whole new generation of young people here that need to be reached and connected with,” Bryant said.
Bryant said she is running because “Hope is a wonderful place to live, and I love Hope. I want ‘Hope’ to be the ‘best Hope’ it can be, not another version of Texarkana.”
“And we should be celebrating our successes in Hope now, and not only from the past. We have many successful people from Hope doing great things here now and across the country now,” she said.
Speaking as a developer and entrepreneur herself, Bryant said she believes Hope is ripe with opportunities, especially for young people, and she said better opportunities are needed to keep families in Hope and keep visitors in Hope to stay.
“Hope has so much more to offer than being a lunch stop off the highway,” she said.
Some of those opportunities Bryant cites are attractions for families, like a movie theatre, an indoor trampoline park, and an indoor skating rink, and across the board, Bryant said the people she’s talked to want Hope to have a sense of “Vibrancy” again.
With her impressive and diverse body of life’s work, Bryant does say that there is one thing that she is not, “I’m not a politician; I have a good eduction, some different ideas, and a will to go out and connect with people.”
Bryant said, “There is also a sense that city leadership is not approachable; there needs to be a renewed and modern-day connection and collaboration with the people in the community. That is what I want to bring to the table.”

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