Mayor Veronica Smith-Creer has proudly served the city and people of El Dorado, Arkansas, in her office since 2019. Born and raised in El Dorado as the third of five siblings in a close-knit family, Ms. Smith-Creer credits much of her personality and her drive to succeed to her childhood and deep roots in the area. After graduating from El Dorado High School in 1988, she attended South Arkansas Community College with aspirations to become a teacher, earning an associate degree in education in 1993. She began her career working as a substitute teacher for the area school district and at a local funeral home before exiting the field of education due to a distaste for the politics and bureaucracy involved.
In 1996, Ms. Smith-Creer married her husband, Bobby D. Creer Sr., and together, the two established an independent carpet cleaning business that they ran for more than 25 years. Ms. Smith-Creer’s involvement in the El Dorado business community allowed her the chance to connect with others and become a larger part of the civic life of the town in new ways. Her role as a business owner and public figure afforded her the opportunity to support social and charitable initiatives to a greater degree, and she began working with the United Way and Crime Stoppers in addition to sitting on the board of the El Dorado County Chamber of Commerce, the Airport Commission, and the Festivals and Events Advisory Board. Though she has stopped teaching, educational advocacy remains a major part of Ms. Smith-Creer’s life and platform, and she served as a trustee of South Arkansas Community College from 2006 until 2018.
Largely inspired by her extensive background in community service and her firsthand experiences seeing the impact that collective action can have, Ms. Smith-Creer began her political career in 2006. Her first brush with politics was working with Mike Beebe’s gubernatorial campaign that year with the Arkansas Democratic Party, an effort that planted the seeds of her own desire to pursue public office. Ms. Smith-Creer credits her work on the Beebe campaign with helping her develop a deeper understanding of the privileges and responsibilities of government service, and in 2008, she ran for a seat on the El Dorado City Council.
Though unsuccessful, Ms. Smith-Creer’s city council bid encouraged her to continue her involvement in city committees and community service. She remained active in the state Democratic Council and numerous civic outreach projects in addition to serving as president of the area NAACP chapter and launching a weekly radio show. Well-known in the area as a star citizen — even handling questions about road maintenance and public services for other residents — and a frequent local campaign consultant, Ms. Smith-Creer was named 2017 Person of the Year and presented with a Keynote Speaker Award, and was widely encouraged to run for mayor.
In 2019, Ms. Smith-Creer was elected mayor of El Dorado by a margin of just 87 votes, becoming not only the first woman and woman of color in city history to hold mayoral office, but the first woman of color to even run for the position. Striving to serve as “everybody’s mayor,” and to represent “the community as a whole, not just a section of the community,” she oversees administrative and public relations matters as well as representing the people of El Dorado as a whole, and writes a weekly newspaper column, “The Mayor’s Moment.” She believes that her empathy and long history of visibility in the community helped her connect with her constituents and uses her platform to fight for more government transparency, support for education and municipal infrastructure, and better wages for all. Though her term began with the COVID-19 pandemic, Ms. Smith-Creer looks forward to serving the city of El Dorado and working together with other leaders and residents to build a brighter future over the next five years.
Ms. Smith-Creer attributes her success to her faith in God, describing her career journey as “a prayer walk,” and advises others to “be determined enough to dream big.” She considers her legacy as the first woman of color to become mayor of El Dorado to be one of the proudest achievements of her career and hopes that it will act as an example and a stepping-stone for others in the community. When she is not serving her constituents, Ms. Smith-Creer enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with her three children and two grandchildren.