Featured Member

Libby Coates MBA, RD, LD

I am a native of Thornton, Arkansas where I now live and am Mayor.   I am a graduate of Ouachita Baptist University and the UAMS/VA Dietetic Internship.  While we lived in Colorado I obtained an MBA at the University of Southern Colorado in Pueblo (now Colorado State University at Pueblo).  My work background incudes many years of consulting nursing homes but while in Colorado I ran three departments at the hospital (Arkansas Valley Regional Medical Center) in La Junta, Colorado.  I have consulted Head Start Programs and Youth treatment facilities, also. In 1980 my youngest sister and I purchased a Jewelry store in downtown Fordyce which we named The Jewelry Box.  The next year we bought a vacant bank building and moved into it.  We added extensive gift lines.  My sister still owns and operates it.
 
I became Mayor about 6 ½ years ago when the previous Mayor resigned.  I did file for and was elected Mayor last year so I signed up for another 4 year term.  I am currently working on a Fire Station to be located across the railroad tracks that cut the town in half and often those tracks are blocked and it would be difficult to get a fire truck there if needed.  I am just starting grant applications for a Community Center, which we have never had.  I have become our grant writer and have obtained money for many projects that include: $2.1 million to replace water lines, valves and meters, a track hoe, generator and heat/air for the current fire department,  exercise stations at the park, basketball court and pavilion for the park, a Jaws of Life, a brush truck for the fire department, $500,000 in street aid (repaving city streets) and others.  I have purchased equipment I never dreamed I would – a  Trash truck for example.  I take no money, nor does my city council.  So we do what we do to make our town better.  I have gotten a taste of state politics as Mayor and that has been very interesting.  I am a graduate of Delta Regional Authority’s Delta Leadership Institute. This was a year-long commitment.
 
Working in Long Term Care is a calling to me.  It has changed tremendously in the many years I have done it.  I was Beverly Enterprises first Administrative Dietitian in the Fort Smith office as a very young Dietitian and after that have mostly worked self-employed.  I have always, even as a child, loved being around older people.  I have been able to visit with many WW1 and WW2 veterans.  Not many are left.  I will always remember some of their reactions on 9/11 where I was working that day in Rector, Arkansas.  I have loved getting to know some of the residents well and their stories – from vaudeville dancers to New Orleans decorators.  Currently I work 12 days a month in LTC.  For the past several years I have been a trainer for the Arkansas Health Care Association doing the Dietary Manager Boot Camp.
 
My husband Paul and I own, with our partner Governor Mike Huckabee, several radio stations in the Pine Bluff, Arkansas; Tyler/Jacksonville, Texas and Branson, Missouri/Harrison, Arkansas markets.  We are about to purchase the Vacation TV channel in Branson.  I have one son, Tom Cook who is married and lives in Benton, AR.  He is a senior bank examiner with the Arkansas Bank Commission.  I have a nearly 6 year old granddaughter, Lauren, who is the light of my life.
Posted by Alicia Landry at 2:45 PM