Of the 20 Arkansas House of Representatives leadership positions named during Monday’s (Jan. 14) opening of the 2013 General Assembly, six are from the Fort Smith and Northwest Arkansas areas.
Republicans were sworn into leadership positions today in the Arkansas House and Senate as the GOP officially became the majority party in the state legislature.
With a 21-14 advantage in the Senate and a 51-48 margin in the House, Republicans installed Sen. Michael Lamoureux, R-Russellville, as Senate President and Rep. Davy Carter, R-Cabot, as Speaker of the House.
Carter kept his comments personal and general and did not dive into specific policy areas.
He pledged that there would be “vigorous debate” on the issues of the day.
“Together we are a strong house of 100 members,” Carter said. “History has already been made, but from today forward history will be made by what we do not who we are.”
He acknowledged that the tough issues facing the 89th General Assembly would divide at times.
“This won’t be a cakewalk,” he said. “We will not always agree on the issues of the day. ... That’s okay. That’s what we’re charged to do.”
Carter named Rep. Darrin Williams, D-Little Rock, as Speaker Pro Temp and the following members were named as Assistant Speaker Pro Temp:
Rep. Reginald Murdock, D-Marianna
Rep. Ann Clemmer, R-Benton
Rep. Micah Neal, R-Springdale
Rep. Bruce Cazort, R-Hot Springs
He also named committee chairs for the House panels – a privilege bestowed on the Speaker to organize a leadership team.
Carter made the following appointments:
Revenue and Tax – Rep. Charlie Collins, R-Fayetteville
Education – Rep. James McLean, D-Batesville
Insurance and Commerce – Rep. Tommy Wren, D-Melbourne
Judiciary – Rep. Marshall Wright, D-Forrest City
Public Health – Rep. John Burris, R-Harrison
Agriculture and Economic Development – Rep. Matthew Shepherd, R-El Dorado
State Agencies – Rep. Andrea Lea, R-Russellville
City, County and Local – Rep. David Fielding, D-Magnolia
Transportation – Rep. Jonathan Barnett, R-Siloam Springs
Rules – Rep. Stephanie Malone, R-Fort Smith
Aging, Legislative, Youth – Rep. David Meeks, R-Conway
Joint Retirement – Rep. Allen Kerr, R-Little Rock
Joint Energy – Rep. David Branscum, R-Marshall
Rep. Terry Rice, R-Waldron, whom Carter defeated as Speaker of the House, was appointed as chairman of the Joint Performance Review committee.
Joint Budget Committee members elected Rep. Duncan Baird, R-Lowell, as Co-Chairman. House members selected Rep. John Edwards, D-Little Rock, to lead the Legislative Council, which oversees legislative business in the interim period.