Though she has taught Political Science for nearly 25 years, Kim Maslin never imagined herself in the role of candidate.
“It really isn’t something I ever thought much about. When students would sometimes suggest it, I mostly laughed it off,” she said.
Still in November, she made the unlikely decision to declare her candidacy for Justice of the Peace in Faulkner County’s 8th district.
“The timing just felt right,” she said.
Maslin arrived in Conway in 1997 as a newly minted Ph.D., ready to take on the life of a professor at a small, liberal arts college.
“We really threw ourselves into life on a small college campus. We attended every sporting event we could: basketball, softball, baseball. I played walleyball with my colleagues once or twice a week and my kids really grew up on campus.
“Kyle picked his out his own babysitters; Jordan started taking batting practice with the college team when he was 10. Harold Henderson invited me work out with the women’s tennis team periodically. We loved it.”
As her kids got older and their sports schedules became more and more demanding, they were able to do less in the way of sporting events on campus, but the sense that she had really joined a community is one of the things she has always valued about Faulkner County.
Her first impression, however, was anything but positive.
“When I was planning the move to Conway in 1997, the first article I came across described a small city that had outgrown its infrastructure. It described a system of roads and bridges that were inadequate to the needs of a rapidly expanding community.”
That article made an impression. Maslin said she thinks it’s not the impression we want to make.
As both a soccer and baseball mom, she is well versed in county parks and ball fields, but more importantly she understands the value these facilities provide for families with young children.
“I have spent countless hours at Don Owen, Lake Beaverfork, Toad Suck, etc. My son, Kyle, played soccer at Conway High School and later at Hendrix College. My youngest son, Jordan Wicks, played football and baseball at Conway High. He continues to pursue his baseball dreams at Kansas State.”
Now that her kids are both in their 20s, Maslin looks forward to finding new ways to serve the community that has given them so much.
“The challenges that we face as a community are real but they are not insurmountable.”
As a public servant she is committed to engaging in a public dialogue about the issues before us that transcends party lines.
“We have become pretty comfortable surrounding ourselves with voices that echo our own and while I am not sure how to do anything about that at the national level, I have hope at the local level that there are things we can agree on.”
The infrastructure that was in such a state of disarray when she arrived, for example, has improved immeasurably. In 2000, Faulkner County voters approved a half a percent sales tax to improve the roads and other infrastructure. Over the years, it has produced great changes, such as the Conway-Wooster bypass.
“I still marvel at how much more quickly and safely I can get to Lake Beaverfork. Both Kyle and Jordan used to have practices out there twice a week and it used to take me easily 20 minutes to get there.”
She believes the commitment to safeguard the gains we have made is something we can all agree on.
“Safe roads are good for everyone. They are better for teenaged drivers. They make it easier to get to town, which is good for business. Our school districts save money on bus maintenance. It’s a win-win-win.”