Robert Pruitt, currently serving his sixth term as a city commissioner, says he was asked to run for the Dist. 11 state representative seat but decided against that because there are still some things he wants to accomplish for Henderson.
“I still think I have unfinished business for the people of Henderson,” said Pruitt, who filed papers for his city commission candidacy on Jan. 4.
He said his main priority has always been to make Henderson one of the best cities in which to live in the United States. To some extent, he said, that’s been accomplished. When looking at schools, drugs, gun violence, homelessness and other indicators, he argued that Henderson is in the top 10% in the country for livability.
Beyond that general goal, Pruitt said his next priority is to continue to bring high-wage jobs so that people can live and raise a family here but also so that young people who go away for college will want to move back home after graduation.
“I think Pratt (Paper) is a good start with that type of pay,” he said.
Pruitt also mentioned growth that is currently happening, specifically the Jagoe home subdivision that will be built on Barrett Boulevard behind Walmart. The planned 300-home neighborhood should help to sway people to move and work here, which in turn would increase payroll and property taxes.
The Inner City Improvement Plan, in which $1.2 million has been set aside to fund projects in the East End, is a good start for local neighborhood development, but he’d like for more to be done for other areas in the city. He said in the past each city neighborhood had its own “vibe” and he’d like to find ways to develop more of that past character in current areas, Pruitt said.
Pruitt was first elected in 2008, he said.
In the most recent election, he placed third behind Austin Vowels and Rodney Thomas. Vowels has decided not to run for re-election.
The field for the Henderson City Commission race is set. Tom Williams, Kelsey Hargis, Dwight Williams, Nick Whitt, Thomas and Pruitt will vie for the four seats. Because the number of candidates did not exceed eight, there will not be a May primary election for this race.