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)
Rep. Ann Clemmer (R)
Rep. Micah Neal (R)
Rep. Bruce Cazort (R)

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)
Education – Rep. James McLean (D)
Insurance and Commerce – Rep. Tommy Wren (D)
Judiciary – Rep. Marshall Wright (D)
Public Health – Rep. John Burris (R)
Agriculture and Economic Development – Rep. Matthew Shepherd (R)
State Agencies – Rep. Andrea Lea (R)
City, County and Local – Rep. David Fielding (D)
Transportation – Rep. Jonathan Barnett (R)
Rules – Rep. Stephanie Malone (R)
Aging, Legislative, Youth – Rep. David Meeks (R)
Joint Retirement – Rep. Allen Kerr (R)
Joint Energy – Rep. David Branscum (R)

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.

For a listing of the key Senate committee chairs, which were named in November, visit this link.

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