THIRD-TERM FAYETTEVILLE MAYOR Lioneld Jordan has proven to be a municipal maestro in managing one of the fastest growing cities in the nation. His forward-thinking philosophies on infrastructure, energy efficiency and inclusiveness within the community have Fayetteville positioned as an example for other cities today and decades from now. A Northwest Arkansas native, born in Fayetteville and raised in Madison County, Mayor Jordan worked for the University of Arkansas for 27 years on staff for the facilities management department and served two terms on the Fayetteville City Council, where he never missed a council meeting or vote.
On Being a Servant: Service is what I know. It’s who I am. I have a set of core beliefs that I’ve brought into this office and tried to establish it through the staff and into the citizenry: an open door, an open mind and an open heart. I believe in a partnership-based government where we’re all part owners no matter the color of our skin, or our religious belief or who we love. I believe everyone needs to participate, speak your mind, let your thoughts be known. I want to hear from people. Sometimes people agree with what you’re doing and sometimes they won’t, but that’s why you’re a public servant. Ultimately the people are your boss. You need to know what your boss is thinking.
On Managing Dynamic Growth: It’s not whether you’re going to grow but how you grow. I break it down to strong infrastructure. First you have your physical infrastructure. For the city, that’s trails, sidewalks, roads, bridges and such. We also believe in a strong digital infrastructure, broadband and strong social media. And then the third is the social infrastructure, social justice, equality and inclusion. I come from a building background, so I’m asking how we’re going to build these infrastructures.
On Leadership Beyond Here: We’re planning this city for 2050. Our Energy Action Plan lines up our buildings and our transportation with our goal to have the city off of fossil fuels by then. The plan lines up with the Paris Climate Agreement, and climate change is an important issue to me. So when the mayor of Chicago wanted to know if anyone wanted climate change information that he got before it was deleted from the EPA’s website, I said we wanted it. We’ve got it on the city’s website. I just did what I thought was right.
On Leadership Beyond Now: Even if you don’t believe in climate change, solar and wind power is coming. We need to be prepared for that. We’re trying to establish something not just for us, but for our children and our children’s children. We need to lay the foundation for our future not only in our city, but in our nation and in the world. Right now, at this moment in time, we need to work on this. We need to do it for our children.
In February, Fayetteville landed at No. 5 on U.S. News & World Report of Best Places to Live.