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Ragan Kyzer, Candidate for Saline County Treasurer

“I always enjoy coming to the Coronado Center to listen to the Hot Springs Village Republican Women.”

Kyzer has lived in Saline County for her entire 46 years. She is a single mom with a daughter entering the nursing program at UCA in Conway. Her son recently built a house in Benton.

Not long after high school, she was hired into the Circuit Clerk’s Office where she was promoted to Chief Deputy. She still holds the same position where she manages the Clerk’s office and most of her focus is on six budgets that are all funded from different areas.

“I work closely with Legislative Audit in our yearly review process and also with the County Financial Department and Comptroller.”

Saline County Republican Candidates Addressed HSV Residents – 2022 Ragan Kyzer
Ragan Kyzer, Candidate for Saline County Treasurer

“I am proud to say I have led a team that has accomplished great things in the Clerk’s Office. We’ve implemented E-filing in our Court’s Divison. We are 100% automated in the Land Records. We are all certified Passport Agents.”

“Working in County Government for 25 years has given me a specific understanding of the importance of working cohesively with all the county offices…”

Kyzer said she has a respected relationship with all the other county offices, most importantly, the Treasurer’s Office and staff. Current Saline County Treasurer, Larry Davis, trusts Kyzer’s work ethic and is endorsing her.

“When I am elected I have many goals and improvements that I am looking forward to. The first one is to keep the current staff.” Kyzer explained that county employees worry about losing their jobs when a new public official is elected.

Her second goal is to set up ACH direct deposits for entities that receive benefits every month from the county. This includes schools, libraries, fire departments, etc. The departments are agreeable to this change.

Thirdly, she wants to upload monthly Treasurer’s Reports to the website.

Kyzer is the Vice-president of the Saline County Republican Women. She encourages American values to our children at a Constitution Camp. This camp will be held in July.

She encourages small businesses and meets with local conservative business owners, who speak to the Women’s Group. “Small business is the backbone to our economy and a productive society.”

“I am proud to be pro-life. I am a Christian, a member of the NRA, and I support the Second Amendment.” She knows these issues will not come up in the Treasurer’s Office.

“I want to be your next Treasurer. Please vote for me in the May primary.”

What is a major challenge of the office you seek and how would you address it?

“Automation is the focus of the office at this point. In 2020, Saline County created a new Financial Department and County Comptroller, which work hand-in-hand with the Treasurer’s Office.” The new office is streamlining the accounting processes. This is beneficial to the other offices, but there are still improvements to be made.

Kyzer and the Comptroller work together and have discovered there is further automation needed in order to reduce redundancy, improve efficiency, and cut down on human error. These improvements will benefit each county office.

What separates you from your primary opponents?

“What separates me from my opponents is my 20 years of county experience.”

“My entire career has been with the county government and that has provided me first-hand knowledge and understanding of county operations.” Her opponents do not have this first-hand knowledge.

“The Treasurer’s Office is one you want to know when you get there and not learn it after you walk in.” She also has a trusted relationship with other government officials.

Kyzer is attentive to detail and a professional.

Holly Sanders, Candidate for Saline County Treasurer

“I am your current Saline County Tax Collector.” Sanders has lived in Saline County her whole life, presently living in Benton with her two children. She graduated from Bryant High School in 1992.

In 1993, Sanders began her career in the banking industry, working her way up to branch manager. In 2001 she became a stay-at-home mom.

In 2009 re-entered the banking industry. In 2011 Sanders began her public service career in the Tax Collector’s Office.

At this point, while still working full-time, she set an example for her children and enrolled in college at the University of Arkansas. Sanders graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Human Resource Management and Education. “Being a single mom, I was determined to show my children the value of honesty, hard work, and dedication.” Her son is working on a degree in pastoral ministry and her daughter is a high school senior and plans to attend the University of Central Arkansas and pursue a degree in physical therapy.

Saline County Republican Candidates Addressed HSV Residents – 2022 Candidate for Saline County Treasurer Ragan Kyzer
Holly Sanders Candidate for Saline County Treasurer

Sanders says she has learned every aspect of the duties of the Collector’s Office. In 2015 she became Chief Deputy, subsequently being appointed as Tax Collector. Her primary goal in this position has been to implement more efficient ways to assist the Saline County taxpayers.

She initiated monthly visits to Hot Springs Village to assist the citizens with a more convenient way to access and pay their property taxes.

She is also developing more convenient payment options.

If elected, her goal is to streamline the office even more and improve communications with other county offices and county residents.

What is a major challenge of the office you seek and how would you address it?

“One major challenge that I would first address is an innovative job [undecipherable word] system. All the software systems at the Treasurer’s Office are what our Financial Department uses and they work together. There is also an option they do not have at this time, but it is available and that is the same software system that the Collector’s Office uses. While the Treasurer’s Office takes in and disperses any and all funds that the county receives, I do believe the property taxes are the largest revenue that Saline County takes in. For example, last year Saline County took in over $97 million dollars in property taxes (2021). All of those funds are, of course, dispersed out to school districts, cities, fire districts, improvement districts, etc.” As of right now, every month when we balance our receipts, we disperse our funds to the Treasurer. We also give reports – paper reports that someone has to manually go through. I believe if we were able to be on the same software system, that would be electronically done. It would save not only time, but it would be such a benefit for the Treasurer’s Office and the Collector’s Office…”

What separates you from your primary opponents?

“There are, I believe six counties in Arkansas that have just one office for the Treasurer/Collector. The reason for this is because these two offices work hand-in-hand…”

“As the current Tax Collector, I have a unique insight of the knowledge, experience, and understanding into the operation of the collections of monies and disbursement of funds….”

Sanders said that her extensive on-the-job experience as Tax Collector separates her from her opponents. She has inside knowledge.

Jennifer Carter, Candidate for Saline County Tax Collector

Carter lives in Benton with her husband and seven-year-old son. She said she has been dedicated to the Tax Collector Office for the past ten years.

The Tax Collector’s Office handles many things. Some of these are: exemptions for disabled American veterans, working with mortgage companies on escrow payments, in addition to handling probate and bankruptcy claims. The office collects for 77 improvement districts and 12 volunteer fire departments. The six bank accounts they use have to balance perfectly. Last year, the office brought in $97 Million.

Saline County Republican Candidates Addressed HSV Residents – 2022 Candidate for Saline County Treasurer Holly Sanders
Jennifer Carter, Candidate for Saline County Tax Collector

The money the office collects is extremely important to the operation of the cities, libraries, schools, roads, etc. Most of the money collected goes to the school districts.

She understands the operations, laws they must follow, and the deadlines of the office.

“I have experience in running a small business and in customer service. I want to take that experience and make the Collector’s Office the best that it can be. As your Collector, I will be committed to providing friendly and quality service. I will keep the citizens informed…I will be dedicated to looking at ways for us to improve services and how we can make it easier on all the citizens that do business with our office. I will stay up-to-date with today’s technology and I’ll work at adding mobile payment options.”

“I am ready for this job, to be your next Collector and I would greatly appreciate everyone’s support.”

What is a major challenge of the office you seek and how would you address it?

“One of our major challenges in our office today is the shortage of staff. Because we are short on our staff right now, there are several individuals who really do need additional training. If I was elected, I would focus on making sure that our staff was a great team so that we can better serve you.”

What separates you from your primary opponent?

“What separates me and Davie is that I do have real experience in the office. I understand our hardship and I know what we need to do to make it better.”

David (Davie) Gibson, Candidate for Saline County Tax Collector

Gibson said his grandmother lives close to the Coronado Center.

He served as Justice of the Peace for around four years. “I have loved every minute of it” He is on the Executive Board for the county party and also on the Executive Board for the Greater Saline County Young Republicans.

The first thing he wants to do as Tax Collector is to make sure you know where your tax dollars are going. That’s really important to me that you understand where that money is going.”

“The thing I am most proud of in my Quorum Court time, we passed a pro-life bill to make Saline County pro-life. It means a lot to me to be in a position where I could stand up for the unborn and really show who I am as a person. That is specifically why I brought that up. I want you to know who I am. I am founded in God. God has put me in this position for a reason.”

Saline County Republican Candidates Addressed HSV Residents – 2022 Candidate for Saline County Tax Collector David Gibson
David Gibson, Candidate for Saline County Tax Collector

“I’ve enjoyed every minute of being on the Quorum Court and enjoyed every minute of the campaign, meeting everybody and being involved.”

“When I am elected, I won’t take this for granted. This is something I have worked for my whole entire life. Being an elected official is not easy. You’ve got people from your own party who will go against you, simply because you are willing to stand up for what’s right.”

He said people told him Saline County would not be pro-life and they proved them wrong.

“As your Tax Collector, I want to be able to put your guys first and take care of the people who put me in that position.”

What is a major challenge of the office you seek and how would you address it?

“Making sure we tell you where your tax dollars are going. If we give X amount to school A, I want that school to be able to tell me exactly much they spend on the band, academics, and football. It is important. You don’t want 80% going to one thing and then 20% is dispersed for the rest of the school. That’s unfair.”

He wants to treat the taxpayers and also the workers in the office like family. He wants an office environment that people want to work in. This will help with employee retention.

What separates you from your primary opponent?

“What separates me is my involvement in not just being an elected official but for six years I have been a part of the Republican Party. It’s simple. I’ve been committed for five years. This is something I love doing and God always puts a burden on me to serve people. He gave me a servant’s heart and I intend to make sure that I take advantage of that. I’ve heard, ‘we need a new generation of Christians and conservatives rising up.’ That’s me. I’m here.”

It’s more important to me that I make sure you know I am working for you than anything else…If you want to know one thing about Davie Gibson, I will always put the people of this County, who put me in that position, first. If you need me, my door is open. I’ll give you my phone number.”

“I would ask that you vote for me. More importantly, I ask that you pray before you vote. Small decision. Big decision. Just pray.”

J. P. Keith Keck thanked Governmental Affairs Committee Members Sam Sacco, Steve Rittenmeyer, and David Childs who put together the Forum.

Cheryl Dowden, Hot Springs Village Gazette, April 3, 2022

Photography by Joe Dowden

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