Meet the Mayoral Candidates: Greg Henderson, Steve Landers, and Frank Scott


Mayoral candidate, Greg Henderson sits in front of the reflection pool with Entertainment Editor, Clem Fortune.

*Greg Henderson visited campus for an interview. Steve Landers responded to questions via email. A staff person on Frank Scott’s campaign responded to questions via email. 

As we honor the 65th anniversary of the Little Rock Central integration crisis, what lessons you have learned from that event and how you plan on creating a more equitable educational system in the city of Little Rock?

Greg Henderson – We’ve come a long way in a lot of senses. But at the same time, we’ve got a long way to go. We certainly spend way more money as a school district on the schools that are in more wealthy neighborhoods. And so the inequalities still exist. While yes, we’re fully integrated…we’ve got a lot we can do better.  Certainly, I mean, we have an aging school structure, we have an aging school district. …If you also look at some of the recent school consolidation, some of the school moves, it more negatively impacts the poor communities and Little Rock, that’s got to change. We need to look and see how we can – before we start going  and building new schools for West Little Rock – we need to see how we can go in and raise the quality of education; raise the quality of the structure, because if you don’t have a good structure…in the poor schools, they’re always going to lag behind. You’re gonna have a harder time keeping good teachers there. …we need to work on building  quality across the board for the schools to make sure that every school is really presenting the same level of …opportunity in the city of Little Rock.

Steve Landers – We must be inclusive in all aspects of our society, including education. While the Mayor and the City Board do not govern the Little Rock School District, I will continue to stress inclusiveness, equality, and excellence in education.

Frank Scott – One of the biggest takeaways from the nine trailblazers that stood out during the anniversary weekend is the recognition that every generation must make a commitment to social justice. Equity and equality are not forgone conclusions, even now. Ernest Green is a mentor to Mayor Scott, from whom the mayor often gets sound advice. Mayor Scott’s administration, in partnership with the Little Rock School District, created the city’s first Community Schools Model, which shows Little Rock’s commitment to ensuring equity in neighborhoods that have historically been underserved. The Community Schools build a network in which community members, school leaders, and families work together to develop supports and services that meet the needs of students and their families. Little Rock’s Community Schools are Chicot, Mabelvale, Stephens, Washington and Watson Elementary Schools and Mabelvale Middle School. 

Steve Landers, mayoral candidate.

What made you decide to run for mayor?

Greg Henderson – Yeah, the biggest driving force for me is my two kids. I got one that’s 11 and one that’s six, and as I’m looking at them, what does the future of Little Rock look like for them? …The problem is, a density issue where there’s not as good of a control population, ends up impacting things like school financing. So, we have to spread out districts, we have spread out schools, more than we would if we had a denser population where the schools are actually properly supporting the base. So that’s one of the things I’m looking at, what seeds do we need to plant for my kids when they’re looking at graduating college and moving back 15 years from now? … to make them want to come back here not just have to come back here because their parents are living here. 

Steve Landers – I decided to run for Mayor to help solve the growing crime and safety problem in Little Rock. This includes safety in all our schools.

Frank Scott – Quote from Mayor Scott: “The reason I wanted to run for mayor is to unite, grow and transform our city. We’re making a lot of progress in bringing new jobs to Little Rock and new attractions, like Top Golf, for residents to enjoy. And I want the next four years to bring even more transformation to our neighborhoods that have been left out of the progress and increase the availability of jobs for our residents.”

What advice you would give to young people looking to make an impact on local elections?

Greg Henderson – I think transparency has to be key to any public administration, you have to have voters that believe in you, …believe what you say. And yeah, there’s a big transparency problem right now …trying to do things that just really aren’t near the level of transparency we need to expect out of a government. …I think that the way that I’m gonna get there, by being open and honest and transparent, and also working with the board and realizing that sometimes we just have to make a compromise, it may not be exactly what I want. But we need to keep moving the needle forward, instead of just stalling out like we have been over the past three and a half years.

Steve Landers – Three words to those 18 and over: Vote, vote, vote. To those under 18, encourage parents, relatives, and friends to vote!

Frank Scott – Vote! Vote! Vote! When you turn 18, get registered to vote and tell your friends about it. Help them get registered. Get to know who your city ward director is, who your state senator and representative are, and who your representatives to congress are. We need more young people engaged in what’s happening, because the decisions being made today will impact young adults’ quality of life. 

Frank Scott Jr., current mayor.
Frank Scott, current mayor running for re-election.

What you plan on doing to solve the crime issue here in Little Rock?

Greg Henderson – The reality is that Little Rock, if you look back over the history of crime, tends to boil up about every 10 to 15 years. It’s a generational thing. …And, COVID had a lot to do with this current boiling up. …We need to impact the elementary kids, the middle school kids now, before they get to that age, that way, they’re making better choices. They’re invested in their own education. They’re invested in their own career and life. But at the same time we  have to…acknowledge there’s a crime problem right now. We do have a crime problem. We are short on staff for the LRPD, but not just the LRPD, but also within 911, and emergency numbers. …What we’re seeing happen is that nonviolent crime is …down considerably. …We need to make Little Rock PD a great department to work in, in order to get people to want to be there.  So we’ve got to find ways to attract police officers. It’s not enough right now just to say we’re going to hire more, we’ve got to actually proactively try to attract them, because we have too many vacancies to fill.

Steve Landers – Increased police patrols in every neighborhood by building a team of law enforcement professionals including the Arkansas State Police; fund better policing technology and equipment; recruit and retain trained and experienced officers.

Frank Scott – Quote from Mayor Scott: “Every time there’s a homicide in Little Rock I get a call about it, whether it’s at 2 a.m. or 9 p.m. It affects me deeply, especially because most of the shootings and killings are among boys and young adults who look like me. That’s why my administration is working so hard to prevent the need to pick up a gun. We’ve started helping young people learn how to resolve differences and arguments without resorting to violence. We also dedicated more than $2 million this year to prevention strategies in addition to increasing the presence of community violence policing. And the best crime prevention strategy is to have available jobs and the training to get the jobs. That’s why it’s so important we focus on growing the number of jobs available in Little Rock. Also, we’re working on how to slow the availability of guns on our street. We can’t tackle the violence problem without also addressing the guns problem. So if I’m re-elected one of the things I want to do is create a requirement that residents notify police if their gun is lost or stolen. That’s because a lot of our crime happens with stolen guns.”

What is a favorite high school memory?

Greg Henderson – It feels so far away but so close at the same time. This was the late 90s, early 2000s. We had a teacher that taught computer programming, I think we were the only one of the only schools in the state that actually taught computer programming. I think there were maybe 10 of us statewide, because we’d all do competitions. And so the teacher was a former Green Beret. …We’d go to these competitions around the state and even sometimes out of state and we would just go ride with him in his old pickup truck. He would tell us these crazy wartime stories about how they got flown in over Vietnam, and they just  parachuted out in the middle of nowhere and they couldn’t pack anything. They just have to parachute out in the middle of the forest somewhere and infiltrate some little village that was 100 kilometers away. It was just these crazy survival stories. I think more than anything looking back at our high school, I really loved that time with him. He was a fascinating character. He was interesting. … Twenty plus years later, I don’t really remember any individual instances, but there’s a handful of teachers like that who have stuck with me.

Steve Landers – Meeting my wife of 50 years, Sandy.

Frank Scott – Finishing!