Jim Dailey serves as the Tourism Director for the State of Arkansas. A Little Rock native, Dailey graduated from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and served for more than 20 years as an elected official, 14 of those as mayor of Little Rock from 1993 to 2006. He worked to expand the Statehouse Convention Center, build Verizon Arena and create the River Rail and Big Dam Bridge projects. After serving as mayor, he worked as a broker/consultant with Flake & Kelley Commercial Real Estate.
He has been president of the National Office Products Association, president of the Arkansas Municipal League, chairman of the Advisory Committee of the National League of Cities, chairman of the FCC Intergovernmental Advisory Committee, a member of the Arkansas Broadband Council, chairman of Little Rock’s Airport Commission, and chairman of the Arkansas State Parks, Recreation and Travel Commission. He has been married to Patti Murphy since 1965 and they have two daughters, two sons and six grandchildren. Dailey loves the outdoors, particularly the activities of hiking, camping, backpacking and amateur photography.
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Up In Your Business is a Radio Show by FlagandBanner.com
[0:00:07.9] SR: Welcome to Up In Your Business with Kerry McCoy. A production of flagandbanner.com Stay tuned to the end of the show to hear how you can get a copy of this program and other helpful documents.
And now, it’s time for Kerry McCoy to get all up in your business.
[0:00:19.1] KM: Thank you Jessie, If right now you’re sitting at your computer, you might want to watch us live on flagandbanner.com’s Facebook page, it’s kind of fun to see what goes on behind the scenes and today, as with really, every day it seems like, a lot is going on. How many people are here Jessie? Wait, don’t’ tell me. There’s nine people in this room. That’s a lot of stuff.
For all you audiophiles out there, we are testing our new sling studio device, if you’re an audiophile, you may know what that is and you may have already creaked on it a little bit and I really shouldn’t call it a device or hardware, I should call it a toy because that’s actually really what these guys kind of think of it is.
We’re testing this hardware today, it’s only – this hardware’s only about one year old and it is going to revolutionize the quality of live streaming. You can see it in action on flagandbanner.com’s Facebook page right now as we speak, see if you think the quality’s any good. Also, I want to tell everybody this is Jessie’s last show with us.
[0:01:29.9] JESSIE: it sure is. If you listens very much, you know that Jessie has four small children, a full time job and hosts his own show on Wednesday nights right here on KABF, what’s the name of your show?
[0:01:42.9] JESSIE: My show is called Phonomania.
[0:01:45.1]KM: What the heck does that mean?
[0:01:47.1] JESSIE: It is people who love music.
[0:01:52.8]KM: Phonomania, people who love music. Any kind of genre of it?
[0:01:56.5] JESSIE: Any kind.
[0:01:57.0]KM: What time.
[0:01:57.6] JESSIE: Seven to nine on Wednesday nights.
[0:02:00.3]KM: Was your mic not on a minute ago when you were talking or was it?
[0:02:02.5] JESSIE: No, it was.
[0:02:03.3]KM: Okay, good. This show up in your business with Kerry McCoy began as a platform for me, a small business owner and a guest to pay forward our experiential knowledge in a conversational way. Originally, I thought it would appeal to entrepreneurs and wannabe entrepreneurs but it seems to have had a much wider audience because after all, who isn’t inspired by everyday people’s American made stories? Nobody, everybody’s this far. Another discovery I’ll find interesting is that many of my guest have a spiritual bend.
I think this belief and a higher power has been given them the ability to feel like they can take risks, that’s my take on it. Now, this next discover really caught me by surprise. Almost all my guest have the heart of a teacher which is to say they’re good at explaining, communicating and lifting others up.
Last, that business in and of itself is creative, more so than I ever thought every week on the show, I learn something new and creative. Our guest today on the show is Mr. Jim Daily. If you were to read his resume, you might think he was a millennial because of his service work and citizenship.
But Mr. Dailey is a baby boomer and past mayor of Little Rock Arkansas and current tourism director for the state of Arkansas, Talk about a communicator. Today, we’re going to talk about the natural state and all there is to do here, we’re going to get his take on our current and future states of affairs and last, I want to hear some stories, some Arkansas folklore that he’s got some.
If you’re just listening for the first time, you may be asking yourself, what’s this lady’s story and why should I listen? Well, Jessie is here to tell you.
[0:03:42.7] JESSIE: over 40 years ago, with only $400, Kerry McCoy founded Arkansas Flag and Banner. During the last four decades the business has grown and changed dramatically. From door to door sales to telemarketing, to mail order and catalog sells and now flag and banner relies heavily on the internet. Including its newest feature, live chatting.
With time and experience, Kerry’s business and leadership knowledge grew, as early as 2004, she began sharing this knowledge on her weekly blog. Today, she’s used to learn skills to found the nonprofit, Friends of Dreamland Ballroom as well as the in house publication, Brave Magazine and now this very production. Each week on this show, you’ll hear candid conversations between her and her guest about real world experiences, on a variety of businesses and topics that we hope you’ll find interesting.
If you would like to ask Kerry a question or share your story, send an email to email@example.com or post a comment on flagandbanner.com’s facebook page.
[0:04:53.2] KM: Thank you Jessie. This is our 98th show, can you believe that Jessie? I mean, really.
[0:04:59.1] JESSIE: It’s mindboggling.
[0:05:01.0]KM: It is, I think you’ve been here for at least half of them, maybe more.
[0:05:04.3] JESSIE: Yeah, well over nine months of shows, I know for sure.
[0:05:08.3]KM: Hundred shows if there’s 52 weeks in a year, a hundred shows is two years, we’re almost – in September it will be the two year mark. You know, I like to do something really fun and exciting for the hundredth show like some sort of celebration or something special but I am not creative. If anybody out there has any ideas, help us if you have a suggestion, write a comment on flagandbanner.com’s Facebook page and if we use your suggestion, I will send you a gift from flagandbanner.com. I’m not sure what it will be but it would probably be some kind of flag or something patriotic.
It would probably be a home kit, like a flag pole and a flag for your home so if you’ve got a great idea, what we should do on our hundredth show, post it on Facebook and let me know, I would love some suggestions. Many of you may remember my guest today as the mayor of Little Rock from 1993 to 2006. But I remember him as the son of Mr. Dailey, owner of Dailey Office Supplies in Downtown Little Rock in what is now known as the River Mark area.
Dailey Office Supplies was the place to shop for your business needs. When I met Mr. Dailey, he was an older gentleman who couldn’t have been nicer to this young, naïve whipper snapper, just starting her business with little to no money but Mr. Dailey treated me with dignity and respect and once, he bought me a coke out of the vending machine to drink while I shopped. These caring qualities seem to have been passed down into the next generation. I see many of these traits in his son and my guest today, Mr. Jim Dailey.
Past mayor of Little Rock Arkansas and current tourism director for the state of Arkansas. Just listen to my guest’ resume and bio. He was born in Batesville, schooled. Schooled in Fayetteville, he served for more than 20 years as an elected official, 14 of them were as mayor of Little Rock Arkansas. Jim worked to expand the State House Convention Center, build Verizon Arena, create the River Rail and Big Dam Bridge projects. He has been president of the National Office Products Association and the Arkansas Municipal Lake. He has also been chairman for the advisory committee of the National League of Cities, the FCC inter-Governmental Advisory Committee, Little Rock’s Airport Commission and the Arkansas State Parks Recreation and Travel Commission. It is a pleasure to welcome to the table, the current tourism director for the state of Arkansas, Mr. Jim Dailey.
[0:07:40.7] JD: Wow Kerry.
[0:07:42.0] KM: You sound good.
[0:07:43.1] JD: It’s great to be here and especially great to be with you, thank you for remembering my dad. He was certainly one of, when you think about entrepreneurs and people that worked hard and were committed to their community at the same time, he was an example that I’ve tried to emulate that I don’t know that I’ve ever quite caught up with him. He was awesome.
[0:08:04.4] KM: He was awesome.
[0:08:05.7] JD: He really was.
[0:08:06.9] KM: Did he start that business or –
[0:08:09.3] JD: He did, actually, he grew up in Little Rock, actually, I was born in Little Rock, not Batesville, even though I just love Batesville and was up there just last week for tourism.
[0:08:18.1] KM: You just grow up in Batesville?
[0:08:19.7] JD: No, really not.
[0:08:20.9] KM: That is on your bio that you sent me, I thought.
[0:08:23.3] JD: Well, somebody did, slipped that one in there.
[0:08:26.3] KM: Let’s talk to your secretary.
[0:08:29.6] JD: But I love Batesville, in fact, Mark Martin up there, you know, the race car driver, he is partnering with us now on some work with the state and getting our message out to the world because people love racing, they love the NASCAR circuit. His history’s got a museum there in Batesville now that is fascinating to see and you got to be side tracked here but quite frankly, he called our office and said, “Hey, I want to do something. You know, I’m back in Arkansas, I’m living here, I’ve got my Ford dealership here and I have a museum.” So I went and visited him and he took me on the tour of the museum and there’s actually, what's so fascinating is that his parents had to drive him to the race track when he first started doing dirt track driving there in Batesville because he was not old enough to drive a car yet.
His whole history is there, I mean, you can go through his journal where he won $150 here, the clutch went out here, you name it. I mean, what a history and what a hero and he’s giving back to Arkansas which is beautiful.
[0:09:33.9] KM: He contacted you?
[0:09:35.0] JD: He did. Just like my dad, he was that kind of person that cares about our state, always was giving back and he – Mark Martin is giving back just like my dad did for so many years.
[0:09:48.2] KM: Is there a freeway that goes to Batesville or do you have to take a highway?
[0:09:51.5] JD: Well, there’s not a freeway, although when you get off at Bald Knob, you go to Jacksonville and on up like Searcy and then get off at Bald Knob. You’re on four lane road most of the way and so, it’s what maybe an hour and a half to get there at the most, hour and a quarter or something like that.
[0:10:08.2] KM: Was that all?
[0:10:09.1] JD: Yeah. Beautiful county, right on White River and the mayor up there, Mayor Elumbaugh is is doing just a wonderful job of promoting that city. They have just redone the old Melba Theater in downtown Batesville, he love it that I’m putting this plug on your show because what they’ve done, they’ve got an incredible Aquatics and Community Center there that community came together around a tax, a limited time tax and I’d love to have it in Little Rock.
It’s the finest I’ve seen the state but the Melba is an old 1930’s theater that a couple of people there decided they wanted to refurbish it and reopen it, community came together, people from the college there, help reupholster chairs, refinish the arm rest on chairs and it is beautiful now. Sits about 400, now doing second run movies there in this place and right in their little downtown, a couple of good restaurants there.
[0:11:06.8] KM: It’s a theater like a movie theater?
[0:11:08.6] JD: Yeah it is. I mean, they’re running the –
[0:11:10.8] KM: The Old Realtors and stuff?
[0:11:12.3] JD: Exactly and like I can source the Realtor or the Realtor and the El Dorado or the –
[0:11:16.7] KM: I miss those so bad.
[0:11:17.9] JD: Lyric and Harrison. I mean, those – one of the things I’m captivated by is the history of Arkansas and maybe the history trails that people can follow when they visit you. Maybe it’s around several rites or maybe it’s the trail of tears or maybe it’s museums or maybe it’s old theaters of the 20’s and 30’s, who knows?
[0:11:40.6] KM: We got some great history here.
[0:11:41.4] JD: We do, yeah.
[0:11:42.4] KM: And the Delta is just full of history also.
[0:11:45.5] JD: There’s so much going on over there.
[0:11:46.6] KM: Did you go to school? Where did you go to school to get your degree?
[0:11:49.0] JD: I went to school here in Little Rock, I went to – I’m a catholic so I went to Holy Souls and Elementary School.
[0:11:55.9] KM: But where’d you go to college, Fayetteville, right?
[0:11:57.3] JD: Fayetteville.
[0:11:57.8] KM: Already got that wrong.
[0:11:59.1] JD: No, I started, I went to Kevin High School and then I was going to be a dentist, that was my thought. I went to New Orleans to go to a school down there at Judgment School of Loyola, go down there a day before classes, I called my dad and said, “You know, I don’t think I really want to be a dentist” and he said, “that’s fine.”
I have a son as a dentist now but that said, we had a great visit about that, I came back after two years at Loyola, came back to Fayetteville, was there for three years, graduated and so my roots are deep here in Arkansas.
[0:12:32.8] KM: Does your son have back ache, I have to hear all those dentists with back ache from bending over and looking into people’s –
[0:12:37.8] JD: You know –
[0:12:37.3] KM: You're twisted funny.
[0:12:38.5] JD: Actually, I hear him talk about it with his shoulders or what have you. In fact, he goes, he has a physical therapist that he works with that helps him train to use the muscles that allow him to do that kind of thing where he’s on his feet or even if he’s sitting on a stool reaching over people.
[0:12:54.0] KM: That’s right, I have a friend as a dental hygienist and they’ve got a lifespan that you can do that work because you wouldn’t think of it as being a strange as it is.
[0:13:01.1] JD: But now, talking about theaters, I want to interrupt you because I am so proud of what you have done over here on Nice street.
[0:13:05.8] KM: Dreamland?
[0:13:07.4] JD: That is just unbelievable and something you don’t know as well.
[0:13:11.1] KM: What?
[0:13:10.9] JD: When I split off from my dad to do more of the commercial type of office furniture and office design, back in 1980’s, early 80’s. I ended up looking. We located our office down in Riverdale but I ended up looking for a building. I was thinking about moving into a building. Unfortunately, I did not get your building but I was looking –
[0:13:32.2] KM: You looked at it, did you?
[0:13:32.6] JD: At your building to have it redone and to kind of a design studio for office furniture.
[0:13:37.3] KM: Expensive, wasn’t it?
[0:13:38.6] JD: It was and at the same time, I was in the mist, somebody approached me, I was interested in buying the company and that’s when I got back in politics after I saw –
[0:13:45.7] KM: You worked for your dad for how long?
[0:13:47.8] JD: I was with him from – probably 1965 to maybe somewhere around the early 80’s.
[0:14:00.5] KM: Why’d it close? Why’d you close it?
[0:14:02.5] JD: Well, I mean, after I had split off and then sold that, I kind of lost.
[0:14:06.6] KM: after you split off from –
[0:14:08.4] JD: From the original Dailey’s Office Furniture, Dailey’s Office Supply.
[0:14:11.0] KM: What did you split off to be?
[0:14:11.9] JD: More contract design, we were steal case dealing, now that my company is sold, now today’s office.
[0:14:18.9] KM: Right.
[0:14:20.8] JD: They took it on to me to be a much bigger company.
[0:14:22.6] KM: That’s more module kind of – you put up walls and stuff.
[0:14:26.3] JD: My dad was more of the retailer type. I mean, which he loved and you know, he started the first of the open houses during Christmas holidays and he would always buy all the gifts and accessories and all of that.
[0:14:38.1] KM: You mean, open houses for businesses, they didn’t do that before?
[0:14:43.3] JD: That blew while I was in Arkansas for one thing back in those early days, you know, you couldn’t sell anything on Sunday. My dad’s creativity said, “I’ve got an answer to that, we’re going to have an open house on the first Sunday of November, whenever it is, we’re bringing out all of our new stuff, we’ll let people come in, we’ll serve them coffee and tea and desserts and what have you. If there’s something they want, we’ll set it aside for them and they can come back and buy it on Monday.”
[0:15:08.0] KM: Creative. What was I talking about business being creative.
[0:15:10.7] JD: That’s exactly right. He’s one of my heroes, just like you are.
[0:15:14.6] KM: Thank you. You branched off and created these module offices but then why did Dailey’s close?
[0:15:22.5] JD: Well, when I sold the company, the modular commercial end of it and my dad’s health was beginning to fail and so I decided I’d go back and help as we were deciding what we were going to do with the company and my achievement’s gone, the heart of the business was gone to some extent.
My dad unfortunately had Alzheimer’s and that was progressing. Then I stepped in and we just founded the family, we said, “let’s just go ahead – “
[0:15:52.8] KM: Nobody was passionate about it?
[0:15:54.3] JD: No, we just liquidated and that was it. We are still using the old building on rock street, we have a loft apartments and it was called Rock Street Lofts.
[0:16:03.7] KM: I know. Rock Street Loft Apartments, it comes from your dad’s, it was where Dailey’s Office Supplies were. I don’t think a lot of people know that. This is a great place to take a break. When we come back, we’ll continue our conversation with Mr. Jim Dailey, director of tourism for the state of Arkansas, we’ll learn about places to vacation or visit in the natural state and we’ll hear some Arkansas folklore. We’ll be right back after the break.
[0:16:28.5] JESSIE: You’re listening to up in your business with Kerry McCoy. A production of flagandbanner.com. If you miss any part of this show or want to learn more about UIYB, go to flagandbanner.com and click on radio show. Be proactive and join our email list or like us on Facebook to get an early sneak peak of each week’s guest. We’ll be right back.
[0:17:00.9] KM: You’re listening to up in your business with me, Kerry McCoy, I’m speaking today with Mr. Jim Dailey, past mayor of Little Rock and current director of tourism for the state of Arkansas before the break we talked about Jim’s daddy and the business Dailey Office Supplies and him selling the business and times changing and that the fact that where his business was that – is it yellow?
[0:17:22.5] JD: It was yellow.
[0:17:23.1] KM: What is it now?
[0:17:24.2] JD: It’s now kind of a brick red.
[0:17:26.8] KM: It was yellow. See, I can really remember it. Anyway, I was going to say, it’s that big yellow building downtown but it’s not yellow anymore, it’s a big red brick building called, what did you say it was called, what apartments?
[0:17:35.8] JD: Rock Street Lofts.
[0:17:36.9] KM: Rock Street Lofts is where the old Dailey Office Supplies was. Now, we’re going to talk about being the mayor. What crazy person wants to run for mayor? There are like five people running for mayor right now and I just don’t understand politicians, I don’t know why anybody would want to be in that fishbowl but tell me how you ended up running for mayor in 1993?
[0:17:58.7] JD: So much goes back to my dad once again because he always was involved in the community, you know, Business Association, in fact, I just spoke to a club a couple of days ago that he had been a member of, The Lion’s Club here in Little Rock. He had encouraged me and in the 70’s, when I was still a young whipper snapper. I thought about doing something like getting elected somewhere. I thought about running for the same legislature and who was our insurance agent for the company, the furniture company, Bud Baldwin.
He said, “Well, I’m getting ready to step down from a position on city council, why doesn’t Jim run for that?” I did, make the story short, I got elected, I spent four years on the city board and then stepped out, I didn’t run again for 10 years and then I’d always felt like we needed to have a directly elected mayor and so I was continued to start to push for that.
[0:18:53.6] KM: What do you mean directly elected?
[0:18:55.4] JD: Meaning that, probably about 1938 or 39, Little Rock was a pure city major form of government.
[0:19:04.5] KM: I didn’t know that.
[0:19:04.9] JD: We still have a city major but at that time, the each of the city board members, city council members were elected at large and each of – then the mayor was chosen from the city council by the council. Probably 1988 or 89, somewhere around there. We went to a community goal setting process, the community said, “We need to have a directly elected mayor, we need to have some ward representation,” we changed our charter to do that, I was appointed for two years under the old system.
[0:19:38.0] KM: As mayor? You got a little taste of it?
[0:19:40.2] JD: Right, then I ran and was elected for three, four year terms is where it too. Then I thought I’d had enough.
[0:19:46.3] KM: Were you the first one to be directly elected?
[0:19:50.3] JD: Unless you want to go back into the beginning of the City’s Charter. I’m longer serving mayor ever, even though I would say that from 1836, there was somewhere founded, the city was and the state was 1836, our Charter, I’m trying to remember, it was right about the same time. All mayors up until probably 1958 or something like that.
[0:20:16.0] KM: Elected.
[0:20:16.2] JD: Elected mayors.
[0:20:17.6] KM: Then they became appointed.
[0:20:19.2] JD: Then they became appointed and then went back to elected. Right.
[0:20:23.1] KM: You’re the first one in modern day?
[0:20:25.7] JD: I’m the first one, yeah, in modern day. Mark Stuttle is the second.
[0:20:29.7] KM: Mayors can be mayors forever, right?
[0:20:32.0] JD: Well, obviously, it depends on whether you want to or they live long enough or –
[0:20:35.9] KM: But there’s no term –
[0:20:36.5] JD: The public – no, you’re right, no term limit. In Arkansas, mayors run nonpartisan which quite frankly I love because I had city council members that were acorn members, very social and social advocates, I had people that were stunt. Right to wing thinking and others that are on the left side. Yet we always worked for the best of the city.
[0:21:01.8] KM: Isn’t that a lovely thought?
[0:21:03.6] JD: It is a nice thought.
[0:21:05.7] KM: A novel thought. You were there for 14 years, right? Why did you decide to quit?
[0:21:14.1] JD: You know, well, actually, after 10 years, I was starting to think, you know, like everything, you have a passion for something, you feel like you’re accomplishing a lot to working on things you want to accomplish and I started thinking, you know, maybe I won’t run for another term but we were in the midst of courting president Clinton to locate the library here in Little Rock. He came to me one day, grabbed me by the lapel of my jacket and said, “Mayor Dailey, I hear you're thinking about driving out and not seeking reelection” and I said, “Well, I’m thinking about it Mr. President.” He said, “I don’t want another mayor there when we open that presidential library.”
[0:21:50.3] KM: No pressure.
[0:21:51.6] JD: I said, “yes sir.” I ran then and there were things that I felt like I wanted to do in my life and the mayor’s job, I tell you is consuming. I mean, It’s 24/7, you’re on call, you have things every night that you have to do.
[0:22:07.0] KM: Every night, you eat out at something.
[0:22:08.4] JD: I mean, every night, there’s two, three, four events of some sort, you may go for five minutes here, for 30 minutes there.
[0:22:15.0] KM: You got to have good shoes.
[0:22:16.3] JD: You do, the weekends are full with events and all of that and there’s a huge responsibility –
[0:22:23.5] KM: When do you get to work is what I always think is weird.
[0:22:25.7] JD: Well, you have to have a good staff. I mean, you really do. Because you’re really just a figurehead almost, running around and then you’d come back. You are working to establish policy direction and at the same time, be the chief spokesperson, you got the bully poppet so you’re there to do that, but quite frankly, without the 2,000 employees or without the –
[0:22:46.7] KM: Is that how many?
[0:22:47.9] JD: 2,000 employees of city government, yeah, Little Rock, 2,000 plus.
[0:22:51.4] KM: Running 2,000 people will make me crazy.
[0:22:54.0] JD: Well, you got to have good people, I mean –
[0:22:56.1] KM: You only spoke to how many at the top?
[0:22:58.6] JD: Probably at the top 15 or 20, something like that.
[0:23:02.0] KM: Yeah, that’s about all I can do.
[0:23:03.4] JD: Something like that. Same way at Parks and Tourism and I know we’ll talk about that later but you have the same thing, we got 1,500 employees over there and the total agency and under tourism, probably 90 employees but you deal with the main key individuals that run the ship.
[0:23:20.5] KM: You were the mayor when Clinton made his announcement from the State House Convention Center. What was that like?
[0:23:27.9] JD: Probably gives me goosebumps still and probably the two most memorable events of my time as mayor were A, when he was elected president and B, when we, in 1997, opened the doors to Central High School to the Little Rock nine with the president there, the governor there and myself there.
[0:23:52.1] KM: What year was that?
[0:23:52.6] JD: 1997, the 40th year anniversary and 5,000 people on the line, international publicity and the president, the governor and the mayor there, opening the door that have been turned, closed to those nine African Americans back in 1957 and when we opened that door that day, with three of us are standing there and they’re walking in, several of them with tears in their eyes, you just know that they have, this has touched them and certainly it touched the world.
[0:24:26.0] KM: Touches me just thinking about it.
[0:24:26.7] JD: I know, still gives me goosebumps, after I say, the president getting elected.
[0:24:30.3] KM: You're about to cry. People cry on this show all the time.
[0:24:35.5] JD: Yeah.
[0:24:38.1] KM: I know, I’m going to make me cry, a couple of weeks ago, I cried, I’m about to cry over that too thinking about it. I bet that was unbelievable.
[0:24:43.5] JD: It really was.
[0:24:45.4] KM: What about in the Old State House when they were all up, I think I said Convention Center but it was the Old State House.
[0:24:50.6] JD: Yeah, it was the Old State House and as I recall, that night was one of the coldest nights probably ever on that night in Little Rock and everyone was freezing and at the same time, there was the warmth of what was going on and I mean, it was just an exciting time and you know, that and also the opening of the Presidential Library, I mean, it’s huge events that put Little Rock and Arkansas on the map in a positive way.
[0:25:20.4] KM: What’s your favorite thing about being the mayor?
[0:25:22.8] JD: Dealing with the people, I mean.
[0:25:24.2] KM: Please.
[0:25:25.3] JD: I’m serious.
[0:25:25.9] KM: People say that all the time.
[0:25:27.0] JD: No, but it is, it really is.
[0:25:27.9] KM: People drive me crazy.
[0:25:29.5] JD: Let me tell you, I mean, I was flying in one night from some place and I was you know, sitting on the aisle, two seats, there was a young lady probably 18 or something sitting next to me and she said, “what do you do?” I said, “well, I’m the mayor” and she said “okay.” Begin to land, coming into Little Rock, you see the lights and she looked over at me and she said, “I bet it’s pretty cool to look out there and know that you’re the mayor over all of that?”
I said, “you’re right, it is.”
[0:26:00.0] KM: That is cool.
[0:26:00.1] JD: It is pretty cool to be mayor. I have no doubt about it. I mean, you know, I think sometimes even now today, I mean, people, they still call me mayor and I love it because to me, regardless how much I love being tourism director, the mayor is probably the most significant title that other than being husband and father, that I could possibly have and so, I just love the fact that I was mayor.
[0:26:21.3] KM: Well, once you're a mayor and once you’re president, you’re a mayor forever.
[0:26:24.6] JD: Yeah, I also kid about it though sometimes and people still call me mayor and I say, “you forgotten my first name haven’t you?”
[0:26:30.5] KM: That’s true of it.
[0:26:30.7] JD: It’s just Mayor Dailey.
[0:26:32.0] KM: There’s mayor. Hi mayor. What probably was the most challenging and something that you did not expect when you were the mayor that you were like wow
[0:26:41.6] JD: There are probably a number of things but the thing that hit us so hard was in 1992, 93, 94, that era in there when we had all the young –
[0:26:54.1] KM: Gangs.
[0:26:55.0] JD: Yeah, the gangs.
[0:26:55.6] KM: Crime.
[0:26:57.2] JD: The crime and the killing, 77 homicides in one year. HBO special that was causing conventions to counsel coming to Little Rock, people to question anybody’s sanity to think about moving or coming to Little Rock and to me, that was one of the most devastating moments and that was early in my mayoral career.
I remember that day sitting there in my office and you know, like the 47th or 36th or whatever it was that had been killed, I don’t remember. The tragedy, what number it was but I was sitting there thinking, "god, what can I do as mayor“ and I knew we need to beef up police, we need to do this and the other. One thing that probably first time I’ve ever publicly stated it but I started a little program where I would go out and visit the families of each homicide and over a period of about three years, probably visited 125, 140 families.
The media played along with me and did not attend, I didn’t want them there, this was just a personal thing in order to get a sense of connection to people that were hurting, to see how we could do something to help and at the same time, to learn in ways that might be meaningful to what we were trying to do to deal with the crime that also with the social unfairness in many ways in these neighborhoods.
[0:28:14.2] KM: Just to get it from the horse’s mouth.
[0:28:16.5] JD: You do.
[0:28:16.8] KM: Go there and find out exactly.
[0:28:18.4] JD: I still every now and then run into someone who saw me and say, “Aren’t you Mayor Dailey?" I said “yes.”They say, “I’ll never forget you because you came to my home after I lost my son.” You know, something like that.
[0:28:28.8] KM: Just so needlessly so much. I was in Las Vegas checking in and the guy said, “you’re from Little Rock. I’ve been to Little Rock." I said, “it’s a nice city,” he said, “no, I won’t ever go back, I checked in, walked down main street, got a gun pulled on me and they stole my wallet.” My gosh, you’re right, it was the wild, wild west.
[0:28:49.3] JD: Yeah, it was and you know, unfortunately, we’re never going to get rid of all the crime, we’re never going to get rid of all the things we would love to –
[0:28:57.8] KM: What is the answer to all that?
[0:28:59.8] JD: To me, so much of it is just understanding it and making connections to people and not just trying to come up with quick and easy answers because you can build more jails, a lot more people up, hire more police officers, you know?
[0:29:11.7] KM: You can blame the police but it’s crime on crime, it’s on each other, yeah.
[0:29:17.1] JD: I don’t know the answer.
[0:29:18.2] KM: I don’t either.
[0:29:18.8] JD: It’s a combination of things but it takes a community to come together and one of the things we did to reduce crime back at that time, fortunately we had to study and a grant that came from the Robert Foundation and the KC Foundation that gave us a program to establish neighborhood alert centers and various parts of the older parts of the city.
[0:29:38.7] KM: Did that help?
[0:29:39.2] JD: Yeah, it did because not only did you have a police presence there that community policing that you also had a neighborhood advocate and a codes enforcement team member that worked with people in the neighborhood to identify the problems, the issues, see what you can do to help and it really made a difference.
[0:29:55.7] KM: You know, I think we need to quit glorifying gangsters.
[0:29:58.2] JD: I agree with that.
[0:29:59.6] KM: I mean, that seems like a pretty simple way to stop it this way.
[0:30:02.8] JD: You know you hate it. I mean you see something that you have to believe the only reason they did it whether it’s a school shooting, mass shooting, you name it, it almost seems like they want it for their name to be in print and then it also becomes an example to somebody else that says, “Oh I can go do that”.
[0:30:21.1] KM: I’ll get popular and get recognition. Yeah, they really do glorify the gangster, the head gangs I think. You did the expansion of the State House Convention Center. The building, you were there with the Verizon Arena.
[0:30:36.6] JD: That was a joint project because, it was Little Rock. In fact I was blessed to be at a time when there were three of several friends that worked well together, Mayor Hayes of North Little Rock, Judge Valance of the county and myself and each year at the beginning of the year we would sit down. We’d go to Hot Springs where we simply spend the weekend and say, “What are we going to be working on this year? What can we do together?”
[0:30:58.9] KM: They still do that?
[0:30:59.9] JD: I don’t know. I really don’t but things like the building of the Convention Center, the River Project, Verizon Arena, Riverfront Development and so many things came as a result of leadership, sitting down, putting the egos aside as much as they can and then moving forward with things that are good for the total community.
[0:31:21.1] KM: That’s exactly what State Clark said when he was here and he was talking about – he is the head of the chamber in Fayetteville and he said, “Every year all five of those communities up there, Roger, Springdale, Bentonville, Fayetteville and one other get together and they make a plan for the area because what’s good for one is good for the other.
[0:31:41.5] JD: Well, when people look at us from the outside they don’t look at that little River that divides us from North Little Rock to Little Rock. It is really about what is the community about. So I am proud right now as we all should be and I think we are that North Little Rock is doing some great things so they are in Argenta in that restaurants and building new facilities that are going to make that even more of a –
[0:32:02.7] KM: I have to tell you though, the River Rail, it drives me crazy driving on it. Has it been a success?
[0:32:12.2] JD: There’s two ways to measure, so I’ll be real political about that in taking that. I had numbers, I don’t think it’s been a success in terms of what it is and to the community and probably this sort of image I think has been very successful.
[0:32:27.3] KM: Well I think this is what I heard and I said why in the world would we spend so much money on putting in River Rail when the River market was already starting to boom and there were a lot of motorcycles that came down there and they were going to quit coming down there if we put it in because it is detrimental.
[0:32:44.1] JD: Because of the track, yeah.
[0:32:45.2] KM: And I can’t remember what it was, it may have been Mayor Stodola said that the city was given 80% funding from the Federal Government to put in transit, as transit. Is that true?
[0:32:58.8] JD: It is true. In fact, I have to –
[0:33:00.8] KM: And that’s why we did it.
[0:33:01.7] JD: Well it is not why we did it. It is probably only because of that would we have considered doing something, it probably was not going to be economically the business chores to give you a return on investment in dollars but I can remember one buddy in Patton. I sat down at that time and I kid about this, I said one of the best negotiating deals I guess I’ve ever been part of because the federal government is going to give us 80%.
So we have to come up with 20% so we agreed there in the meeting that each of us were divided a third, a third and a third so.
[0:33:32.7] KM: Out of your pocket.
[0:33:34.1] JD: That’s right. So seven and a half percent or seven and a third, whatever saving two thirds would be paid for by county, by North Little Rock. I have to say now after that, if there was extensions it went North Little Rock or Little Rock, they would be paid for greater percentage by that community but I am still supportive of it. I think it adds something that I think –
[0:33:55.0] KM: Kids like to ride on it.
[0:33:56.6] JD: Well in long term you know we’re not there in this community yet. In long term it sets the stage for maybe this transit to the airport or maybe there’s other transit opportunities in the future.
[0:34:08.7] KM: I’ve heard that too. All right, this is another great place to take a break. When we come back, we’ll continue our conversation with Mr. Jim Dailey, director of tourism for the State of Arkansas. We’ll learn about places to vacation or day trip in the natural state and if we have time, we’re going to get the inside scoop on current and future affairs of Arkansas and in this next segment, we’ll be taking calls so get your questions ready.
Jessie will give you the number right after the break but first, I want to remind everyone we are broadcasting live every Friday afternoon at 2 PM central time on both KABF 88.3 FM, the voice of the people and Flagandbanner.com Facebook page and that after one week of every show’s airing, a podcast is made available on all popular listening sites and YouTube. We’ll talk more after the break.
[0:35:00.2] AM: Arkansas Flag and Banner is proud to underwrite Up In Your Business with Kerry McCoy. McCoy began this broadcast with the intention of offering a mentoring platform for those with an entrepreneurial spirit. Through candid conversations and interesting interviews with business and community minded Arkansans, listeners gain insight into starting and running a business, the ups and downs of risk taking and the commonalities of successful people.
Kerry McCoy, founder and president of Arkansas Flag and Banner, believes in paying knowledge and experience forward and develops this radio show as a means of doing so. The biographies, life experiences and wisdom of her guest would likely go unheard if not for this venue. Rarely do people open up for an hour to an audience about their life in the states, triumphs and pitfalls. This unique radio show allows the listener intimate access into the stories of prominent leaders in our states.
I am Adrienne McNally, manager of the Arkansas Flag and Banner showroom and gift shop, located on the first floor of the historic Taborian Hall on the corner of 9th and States street in downtown Little Rock, Arkansas. In business for 43 years, we offer an old school shopping experience with front door parking, clerks to help you and department store variety. Open Monday through Friday, 8 to 5:30 and Saturday, 10 to 4.
[0:36:19.8] KM: You’re listening to Up In Your Business with me, Kerry McCoy and I am speaking today with Mr. Jim Dailey, past mayor of Little Rock and current director of tourism for the State of Arkansas. If you’ve got a question, make a comment on flagandbanner.com Facebook page or write this number down and call.
[0:36:35.8] JESSIE: 501-433-0088.
[0:36:39.8] KM: Say it again Jessie.
[0:36:40.9] JESSIE: 501-433-0088.
[0:36:44.9] KM: And if you’re shy, you can just creep on my weekly blog about life as a small business owner at flagandbanner.com or as I said earlier, you can listen to our podcast. There is a hundred of them almost and it’s crazy. Before the break, this last break, the first break we talked about your dad as Daily Office Supply and how awesome that is and then the second break, we came back and we talked about being the mayor and how you were the first elected mayor in 50 years or about.
Which I didn’t know that prior to you being elected, we appointed mayors and we talked about some of the things you loved about being the mayor. You had some great memories but you’ve decided to leave. You stayed per by President Clinton’s request at all the way as mayor through the opening of the Clinton Library and you now decided to leave?
[0:37:45.5] JD: Well I mean I did at that time after I finished that term and then I thought I am not sure exactly what I am going to do. That is when I was visiting with my brother in law, Hank Kelly of Flake and Kelly and he said, “Hey Jim, I’ve got an office for you over here if you want to come over here and hang out, get your license, you know we’ve got a place for you” and so I did. I became a partner in the firm, I did that for 10 going on, actually 11 years and in it is –
[0:38:11.8] KM: Oh a long time.
[0:38:12.5] JD: Yeah, I did because it was from 2007 to just last year of 2017.
[0:38:17.2] KM: You were a commercial real estate agent for Flake and Kelly.
[0:38:19.3] JD: Commercial real estate and did consulting work with cities, retail business development with cities and so it was an extension of somewhat what I was doing as mayor. In fact, I will tell you in a minute about some things I am doing to keep that connection going with mayors even as the tourism office but when I went into the commercial business, thank God Hank gave me a place to hang out and I was blessed to learn a little bit, made a few dollars and made a lot of friends and –
[0:38:46.5] KM: And seven months ago you decided to take this new appointment.
[0:38:49.8] JD: Actually it was probably the decision was made, the governor appointed me back in August I guess it was 2017 and I was on the Parks and Tourism Commission as you had mentioned. I was chairman of the Commission and we knew, I mean just to give you a little bit of history, the Department of Parks and Tourism was run for 30 some odd years by Richard Davies as the director. Joe David Rice as tourism director and Greg Bats as Parks Director.
So each of those now has retired within a period of about three years. Cain Webb is now the executive director replacing Richard Davies. I am the tourism director replacing Joe David although I committed only to two years on this and I will tell you about that in a minute and also then Grady Span is our parks director. So we have a great team but we are really in a transition and I was on the commission and was chairman of the committee.
We were actually going to make some recommendations to the governor for the replacement of Joe David Rice and this committee, my name kept coming up and I kept saying, “I am too old. I am ready to slow down” all this sort of stuff. Cain Webb cornered me one day, we were at Crystal Bridges, I would never forget, I am about to walk out and he said, “Can I talk to you?” He said, “Would you do it?” and I said, “Cain I am too old. You need somebody younger”.
And he said, “No seriously you’d be great” and I said, “No, I just don’t think so” he said, “Well think about it” and finally, after a few days of thinking about it I said, “Okay here’s the deal. If the governor wants me to do it, I’ll do it but I’ll commit only for two years. Now if I have to stay longer because we are still getting things in shape, okay but my goal is to do several things. We are on a transition; help come up with that next tourism director that is a younger person.”
“Secondly, we’re in the transition of our new contract to roll out our new website, Arkansas.com, which is a huge deal and I want to see that through and then thirdly, I just believe that there’s some things that we can do to get our staff and organization tidied up if you want to call it that” so –
[0:40:57.6] KM: Good clean goals.
[0:40:58.3] JD: Yeah, so I am working on those things. I’ve got some great people working for and with me and I am blessed that –
[0:41:05.0] KM: I already know what’s going to happen. At the end of two years, you’re going to have something still dangling and you’re going to say somebody is going to come to you and grab you by the lapels and say, “Jim just stay until we finished the website” or whatever it is.
[0:41:18.0] JD: Yeah I don’t know because I am never going home and telling Patty. I said, “You know I am thinking about this and it’s okay if the governor wants me to do it then I’ll do it” and so we went out to dinner and –
[0:41:27.3] KM: And Patty’s like, “No”.
[0:41:28.3] JD: Yeah and I get this text and it’s just Cain that says, “He wants you to do it” and –
[0:41:33.9] KM: Patty is like, “No, bring me another glass of wine”.
[0:41:36.4] JD: That’s right. So anyway, I was appointed back officially back in August and Joe David and I did some things together around the state just to make that transition and proceeds the iconic tours and director was recognized nationally –
[0:41:51.6] KM: Is he the funny guy?
[0:41:52.8] JD: He is, really humorous with a lot of stories –
[0:41:54.5] KM: Yeah, I have seen him speech, he is hilarious.
[0:41:57.5] JD: Yeah, he’s got a book coming out in probably September that is about quirky places in Arkansas and all that. So he’s the guy you really ought to talk about –
[0:42:05.1] KM: Oh I should what’s his name?
[0:42:06.7] JD: Joe David Rice.
[0:42:08.2] KM: Oh he is so funny.
[0:42:09.7] JD: Yeah, he would be a hoot to have on here with you and so –
[0:42:13.9] KM: He’d be fun to have to. All right, let’s talk about the places to visit and there are so many places. When my kids were young, I had a nanny who is going to visit every park one summer with my children that was in driving distance and I think that is a great goal to have. It’s like every park within driving distance of where you live on a one day trip you should try to visit and I have never yet been to every park in Arkansas yet. How many are there? Do you know?
[0:42:39.2] JD: 52. 52 state parks, one a week.
[0:42:43.2] KM: One a week.
[0:42:44.3] JD: And you got it made and if you do that, then we’ll probably give you some sort of plaque or something.
[0:42:50.2] KM: I’ll be the first person probably.
[0:42:51.8] JD: And so –
[0:42:52.3] KM: You know that would be a great contest.
[0:42:54.0] JD: Well I mean and actually there are people that make that part of their goal and on the commission as well as individuals and we’ll have you’re –
[0:43:00.8] KM: You should start a contest like that and they have to bring something from their whistles, things where you have to go, you have the geo.
[0:43:06.4] JD: Yeah, geo tags.
[0:43:07.1] KM: You should do geo tags at every state park and the first person to get all the geo tags gets a flag from Arkansas Flag and Banner.
[0:43:13.2] JD: That’s really a pretty good idea but you know what? You’re talking about that when we say what’s there to visit or do in Arkansas. You know they are the iconic places like Provincial Library and crystal bridges and now –
[0:43:25.1] KM: Devil’s Den.
[0:43:26.2] JD: Yeah Devil’s Den but the parks themselves, we have 52 state parks, you know the signature parks, Devil’s Den, Magazine, Wilhelmina, Petagine.
[0:43:34.7] KM: Where is the one where you dig for diamonds, what’s that called?
[0:43:36.7] JD: That’s the Crater of Diamonds and –
[0:43:38.9] KM: There’s no place that you can do that in the world that whole thing. It is the only place in the world.
[0:43:41.8] JD: That’s right and keep your diamond if you find it and there is probably an average of over 30 diamonds a month found and kept by the people at Crater of Diamonds.
[0:43:52.4] KM: No way.
[0:43:53.3] JD: Yeah, absolutely and while some are small obviously –
[0:43:56.2] KM: Do they have showers there when you get finish you can take a shower? I am serious.
[0:43:59.2] JD: Well actually they have a water park there so I guess you could go jump in the water park if you want to but they have these loosing ponds, there’s shelter so you can get out of the sun, go dig up some dirt. You can actually take back a bucket of dirt with you if you want to take it home with you or the gravel actually. You have to was it and then leave the dirt there but take them home.
[0:44:22.5] KM: Okay and then there’s caves all over the place.
[0:44:24.9] JD: Caves all over the place. I mean that’s –
[0:44:26.0] KM: I actually saw on for sale a couple of years ago.
[0:44:28.5] JD: And one of the places that some people don’t know about or don’t think much about when I ask the question when I was speaking is Old Washington State Park which is down near toward Texarkana near Hope. It was the civil war capital of Arkansas and when you drive that eight miles off interstate 30 and you go down that little two lane road and all of a sudden you arrive, you look around and go, “Oh my gosh this could be Williamsburg”.
It is really cool. There is a restaurant there, interesting, interpretative, you have people that dress up and then the outfits of the house that that person lived in back in the 1800’s. They tell the story. Anyway, it is a fascinating place to visit so I –
[0:45:10.7] KM: Did you know about that before you became the State Park tourism guy?
[0:45:13.6] JD: I actually knew about it but had never been there until I got on the commission. So when I was on the commission, I thought one day I was going to Texicana so then I’ve got to go see this first.
[0:45:22.8] KM: You’ve been to all 52 state parks?
[0:45:24.4] JD: I’ve been to 48, yeah.
[0:45:27.8] KM: You’ve just got four more to go.
[0:45:29.8] JD: Four more to go that’s right.
[0:45:30.9] KM: What were the last four, you remember? Okay I am now putting you on the spot, I’m sorry.
[0:45:32.9] JD: I can’t even remember.
[0:45:34.9] KM: All right, canoeing.
[0:45:36.4] JD: Canoeing is great.
[0:45:37.1] KM: Buffalo State Park, right there.
[0:45:38.0] JD: Buffalo State Park, Buffalo National Park, yeah that’s right. So it is not under our purview but it is one of the greatest assets that we have in Arkansas.
[0:45:46.4] KM: Hot Springs National Park. I mean that’s pretty crazy.
[0:45:48.1] JD: Hot Springs National Park, yep or you got like Wash Doll State Park. You’ve got the other one over there too, Catherine State Park. Beautiful lakes, I mean our rivers and lakes that we have in Arkansas are incomparable.
[0:46:03.9] KM: Water is going to become the next oil and we are going to be rich.
[0:46:05.9] JD: I agree. The other thing that is going on in Arkansas that courses the growth in some communities are activities like mountain biking from the Northwestern part of the state in addition to crystal bridges, you’ve also got there’s young Walton grandsons up there that they have made it their plan that Arkansas is going to be the mountain biking capital of the nation.
[0:46:27.4] KM: Really I didn’t know that.
[0:46:28.6] JD: Yeah I mean last year 2017 they did an economic impact study, you know I am talking a little bit about that from the state. They did an economic impact study that said that cycling had an $187 million impact on Northwest Arkansas in 2017. I mean you have shops that are starting up, brew clubs along the routes, I mean it is just growing and they are putting money into other places too. They are putting money into some of our parks like Hobbs State Park up near Rogers and Eureka Springs for bike trails. We are embracing more bike trails in our state parks and it is becoming one of the hottest things going.
[0:47:06.7] KM: My youngest son just moved to Columbus, Ohio and I think it is the biggest state school in America and they bike so much there that they have stop lights on the bike paths. Yeah, right next to the cars.
[0:47:21.3] JD: Yeah, that’s pretty cool.
[0:47:22.4] KM: That’s how big biking is. I think you’re so right. So you’ve got five minutes, give me your spill. He is making notes over here.
[0:47:28.5] JD: You know I actually have a 2017 economic impact study for the State of Arkansas –
[0:47:34.6] KM: Let me tell everybody, hold up, you are listening to Jim Dailey. He’s the director for the Department of Tourism for Arkansas. Did I say that right?
[0:47:44.5] JD: You did. Tourism represents nearly $8 billion of economic impact on the State of Arkansas.
[0:47:52.5] KM: How much?
[0:47:53.0] JD: $8 billion, nearly $8 billion.
[0:47:55.6] KM: Who knew?
[0:47:56.9] JD: It is the second largest industry in the state after agriculture.
[0:48:00.3] KM: Who knew that?
[0:48:01.1] JD: I mean I don’t know unless you just stated, of course we’ve got and I’ll lay this with you but there are numbers for each of the counties, for the different regions, the impact in terms of jobs, sales tax that comes back to us, I mean it is a net plus to us. Tourism means something without putting a lot into it, it is a net plus to us because when tourists come here they spend money and we’re focusing now on a lot of things right? The US civil rights trail, international travel and it’s just going to continue from there.
[0:48:30.0] KM: International travel, what do you mean?
[0:48:31.6] JD: Yeah, well I mean the United States is obviously a huge market for international travel. People come from all over the world.
[0:48:38.9] KM: But to Little Rock, you can’t even fly here.
[0:48:40.9] JD: Well actually sure you can now, come on.
[0:48:45.3] KM: Oh yeah, I forgot you are on the commission.
[0:48:47.5] JD: I was on the commission and you’re only one stop away from any place in the world you know? So give me a break.
[0:48:55.2] KM: Yeah, I like those non-stop flights. All right go ahead.
[0:48:57.1] JD: I do too but anyway, international tourism is really growing and we’re focused because you’ve got that a lot with China on that economic development and bringing in shoes here. So we are focused in a contract there was someone to help us to bring more tourist from China and also the UK and Australia and interestingly, one of the things we’re doing is we partnered with 11 other states that are in south that is called Tourism South.
The other states and we market together to get them to come to the south and one of the big, I guess I’ll say interest here right now in countries all over the world is the Civil Rights structure – I mean struggle in racism in America and the US Civil Rights Trail which Central Ohio is one of the top 10 that represents the civil rights struggle that we have already have a huge visitor numbers from out of the country but we are focusing on that as an increased part of our domain.
[0:49:57.3] KM: I am from this radio show, I have learned that the world is fascinated by the south. That we are a culture that fascinates people. I had no idea.
[0:50:09.4] JD: You know the museums, the African-American history, the native American history, the places like Johnny Cash home and the Ice Community, all of this I mean people are fascinated by that and come from all over.
[0:50:25.0] KM: They are. That’s what we’re saving was saying that, what Jessie you’re about to say something?
[0:50:29.3] JESSIE: It’s really the heartbeat of American culture. It is all music, all art. Yeah, I mean we rule. The Delta in this area of the United States, I’ve been saying that for years, we rule and –
[0:50:44.3] KM: I don’t know, I thought it was the colonies that ruled.
[0:50:46.6] JD: Well thank you for reminding me because music heritage is a huge part of what we have to offer to people from all over the world. It sure is.
[0:50:55.7] KM: You know you can do rappelling here. We’ve got horseback riding and –
[0:51:01.6] JD: You’ve been doing your homework.
[0:51:02.5] KM: Well I’ve done all of this. I just think about all the stuff I’ve done. When my kids are young and my husband is a heaven hunter, a good fisher. What is going to happen with the water in the white river? Do you know?
[0:51:16.5] JD: The Buffalo or the White River?
[0:51:17.8] KM: The White River, they’re thinking about everybody hunts for ducks down around the White River and the farmers want to drain it and the hunters want to leave it. So I guess that is out of your area of expertise.
[0:51:26.3] JD: Yeah, it is and I am not sure I am sure I am up to speed. I mean I have followed the Buffalo River and concerns and continuation there but –
[0:51:30.4] KM: Well there is a lot of tourism down there for the people that do the duck hunting and they –
[0:51:34.6] JD: Well I went to the base field earlier and it is right there on the White River and that is one of the assets that base field has offered. Former hometown you know?
[0:51:42.8] KM: Not. So the Wichita Mountains also interesting about Arkansas, is the Wichita Mountains I think are the only mountain that run, is it east to west?
[0:51:55.6] JD: Well the one thing I know about them, I am not sure, I think it is east to west but one thing I do know about the Watch Charles is that it is probably the only what I call true mountains in Arkansas because they were created by geologic uplifting whereas the other mountains in Arkansas are dissected plateau that are flat on top. So the Watch Charles have that true mountain.
[0:52:14.4] KM: And they cut through the center of the state which makes a very diverse state parks and I am not sure how you’d speak to that because you didn’t go to the Delta where it’s flat and then you could go to the mountains.
[0:52:27.7] JD: We have a lot of diversity.
[0:52:28.7] KM: So much diversity. Do most states have 52 parks?
[0:52:33.7] JD: Most, I mean there are some California and maybe Texas and Colorado that may have as many or more but most don’t have that many for sure.
[0:52:40.6] KM: Do you want casinos?
[0:52:41.6] JD: Boy you really hit me straight between the eyes don’t you?
[0:52:44.5] KM: Just going and saying, we’ve got casinos, we’ve got legalized pot, are those going to help or not help?
[0:52:49.5] JD: Well I think they’re probably enter our economy. There are other issues I won’t even try to get into but you know Eric Jackson down at Oakland is on our commission and certainly we know the value from an economic standpoint of casino and horse racing gaming in Arkansas. So I am not sure what is going to happen in this election but you know I guess it is up to the public. I never did want casinos in Little Rock because we are already working on things.
That but we are also working on things in the downtown with the River Market and all of that and I felt like it would just totally change the complexity of the city if you came in and started doing casino gaming in the city. Hot Springs as a national park and always a recreation and some history of that, I think it makes sense there but it totally changes a community and what we have going down Little Rock is based on authenticity and our history rather than upon the glitz of gaming.
[0:53:51.3] KM: Yeah, I bet Hot Springs wouldn’t mind although I don’t know if the owners of Oakland would like to have a bunch of competition down there. They got it sealed up down there. What about the 10 lane highway that everybody is talking about that they are thinking about doing to the I30 Bridge in downtown Little Rock? I know that maybe it will move traffic better but doesn’t that seem like the opposite of that all urban development’s going on right now for downtowns?
[0:54:18.4] JD: In general I’d say you’re right. I think the highway department has a philosophy that says if you mess it up with too much traffic we’ll fix it and that’s what they are obviously trying to do and I don’t know if we had the right plan. Quite frankly, I try to be a little bit distant from that but I do think there is some things that I’ve seen that were attractive to me where the interstate comes right into downtown there second or third, whatever.
If that could turn into more of a green area, that would be a plus. I don’t know whether we need 10 lanes, six lanes or what but I know that that highway has a 100,000 plus a day vehicle. So it is like what 30 million vehicles a year that travel that route so.
[0:55:03.0] KM: You know big trucks aren’t allowed to drive on I-630, you know they have to go around.
[0:55:08.3] JD: That’s right.
[0:55:08.6] KM: So why can’t they do that to I-30, why can’t they make them go around the city. That takes so much traffic off and then we maybe don’t have to do it.
[0:55:15.1] JD: Yeah, we would need another couple of hours to discuss this topic.
[0:55:19.2] KM: Let me give you my gift for you today that was good. Wasn’t that nice? Did you see how politically he cut me off? This is so good at that. You are so diplomatic just like your dad. All right, look you got a flag desk. Do you have one for your desk?
[0:55:32.9] JD: I do not. This will be on my desk back in the office.
[0:55:35.9] KM: So it is a four by six inch desk set of the US and the Arkansas flag.
[0:55:40.7] JD: Do you have time for just one other thing?
[0:55:42.4] KM: Yeah, go ahead. Sure.
[0:55:44.0] JD: I am calling at least five mayors a day and we have 501 cities in Arkansas and I am trying to find those unique things that would be of interest that we need to help promote and also just making a personal connection.
[0:55:56.6] KM: Just like going to visit all of those people whose sons and daughters were shot.
[0:56:00.7] JD: I’m a connector.
[0:56:01.6] KM: You really do like people. You said that.
[0:56:04.0] JD: I do. I like you too.
[0:56:07.0] KM: You’re so nice to me. You said that too, thank you very much. Jessie who is our guest next week?
[0:56:13.2] JESSIE: Connie Falls, proprietor of the Clinton Museum Store on the first floor of the Clinton Library.
[0:56:20.1] KM: That’s Connie Fells. Did I say Falls? Did I type Falls?
[0:56:24.2] JESSIE: It says Fells clearly.
[0:56:25.7] KM: Oh okay, we’re going to get you some glasses.
[0:56:28.0] JESSIE: It might be about time.
[0:56:29.8] KM: I know. She’s a designer, I’ve known her for years. She designed the clothes for Hilary Rodham Clinton when she was the first lady of Arkansas. She went up and had a show in Washington DC when the Clinton’s first went up there, a fashion show. I went to that with her but she now, she owns her store here for a long time but now she’s like you said, she’s at the Clinton Library doing the Clinton Store.
But the cool thing that I wanted her to come on and talk about is she spearheads this Curb Side Couture Event which is a design competition featuring fashions made of recycled materials produced by third through 12th graders. It is a competition for 3rd through 12th grade fashion designers out of recycled materials, I love that.
If you have a great entrepreneurial story that you would like to share, I would love to hear from you. Send a brief bio or your contact info to firstname.lastname@example.org and finally, to our listeners, thank you for spending time with me. If you think this program has been about you, you are right but it’s also been for me. Thank you for letting me fulfil my destiny. My hope today is that you’ve heard or learned something that’s been inspiring or enlightening and that it, whatever it is will help you up your business, your independence or your life.
I’m Kerry McCoy and I’ll see you next time on Up In Your Business. Until then, be brave and keep it up.
[END OF INTERVIEW]
[0:57:57.0] JESSIE: You’ve been listening to Up in Your Business with Kerry McCoy, a production of flagandbanner.com. All interviews are recorded and posted online with links to resources you heard discussed on today’s show. Subscribe to her weekly podcast to wherever you like to listen. Kerry’s goal: to help you live the American Dream.