Jerry Ponder chose Benton as home for his family 17 years ago. He delved into the community and has served as an alderman for 12 years and chairman of the city’s finance committee for the past 9 years. Now a vice president for First Security Bank, his leadership has further been proved through his professional life.
Ponder, a “lifelong Astros fan,” also serves the community through his involvement with First United Methodist Church, the Benton Gold K Kiwanis Club, Saline County Safe Haven, Imagination Library and more. He and his wife, Kristi, have six children and 20 grandchildren.
When their youngest child reached high school in 2006, Ponder says he sought out a public office not everyone was “champing at the bit” to serve. “Twelve years later, the knowledge and experience I have attained as a result of my service has prepared me well to serve the city as mayor,” he says.
“We are an attractive place for families to want to live. Our schools are highly rated, and there are not any nicer parks in Arkansas than the facilities we have at Riverside. Our event center has done an outstanding job of providing a place in central Arkansas where all sorts of different groups and events have been able to gather.
“I wish to be a part of leading the process of continued growth, both residentially and commercially. I want us to be inviting to new businesses, and a true partner with helping our existing businesses to maximize their potential.”
For Benton to grow, proactive measures must be taken to address citywide concerns, Ponder says. Issues such as streets and drainage, educational support, public safety and business incentives are of paramount importance to Ponder’s campaign. Running on his experience, Ponder says Benton needs a candidate who has ample experience in municipal political operations.
Ponder says he is the person. “There is no time to wait for our mayor to learn how to do the job, they must be ready right now. Benton needs someone who can start building a stronger Benton as soon as he sits in the office.”