Arkansas Lt. Governor Mark Darr isn’t waiting on marching orders from Gov. Mike Beebe.
Darr, the state’s No. 2 executive, traveled to Austin, Texas this past week to meet with business executives about potential job creation opportunities in Arkansas, according to his office.
The Lt. Governor met with his Texas counterpart, David Dewhurst, and Texas Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams.
Williams oversees regulation of the mining, oil and gas, and alternative energy industries. Darr’s office said the two men discussed issues regarding Arkansas’ energy resources including natural gas in the Fayetteville Shale Play and the potential for lignite development and wind power.
Darr tells Talk Business he hopes the trip will lead to more jobs for the state and he hinted something might be in the works.
"Arkansas has a 7.8% unemployment rate and we need to pursue every opportunity to create jobs for our people. Companies need to know that they are welcome here and that we will do what it takes to help them grow their business. I want to be an advocate for the state wherever I go,” he said.
“I was invited to Texas to meet with executives of a Texas-based company that already has some operations in Arkansas. They told me that they are considering expanding or moving some additional operations to the state. These plans have not been formally developed or announced however, so at this time the specifics would be proprietary information and I don’t want to speak on their behalf,” Darr added.
“While there, I also had a meeting about energy. Arkansas has tremendous energy potential with natural gas and lignite. Texas has a lot of experience with these energy sources with the Barnett Shale and lignite mines in East Texas, so I just wanted to get their perspective on all of that,” he said.