State Rep. Andy Mayberry (R-Hensley) announced on Friday that he will seek to be the next Lt. Governor saying that he desires to see the office become that of a “citizens’ advocate” for the state.

As a state representative, Mayberry said that he spends a lot of time fielding phone calls from constituents and helping them “knock down doors” to find solutions.  He wants to take this same mindset to the Lt. Governor’s office.

Beyond this, he said his platform would emphasize five main areas – the five E’s: excellence in education, economic development, efficiency in government, ease of doing business, and ethics and traditional family values.

Mayberry also discussed the importance of the Lt. Governor, mentioning how Lt. Governor Win Rockefeller performed while acting governor on September 11, 2001 as Gov. Huckabee was out of the state.

He also pointed to a unique position he found himself in during the previous legislative session.  Mayberry was the lead sponsor on the pain capable abortion ban, which bans abortion in Arkansas after 20 weeks.  When the bill had passed both chambers, Gov. Beebe was out of the state and Mayberry had an opportunity for Lt. Governor Darr to sign the bill.  He passed, knowing Beebe would veto the bill and then led the House to override the Governor’s action.

“I felt the legislation was too important not to allow it to go through the normal process and respect the role of the governor,” said Mayberry.  As lieutenant governor, he said that he would make similar decisions on a case-by-case basis, but pledged to be extremely judicious in a role which he primarily views as assisting and not overstepping the Governor.

Mayberry said he wrestled with the decision to give up his seat in the House until he found what he felt was the perfect replacement, his wife Julie Mayberry.  Julie currently runs a dance studio called “I Can Dance,” which specializes in helping students with special needs.

Andy handed a red and white baton to Julie who said she planned to continue working on several pieces of legislation that Andy had started, particularly a bill focused on helping ensure schools were properly staffed with a school nurse to assist children.  As the mom of a daughter with spina bifida, she personally saw how important it is having a school nurse to ensure the ability of children with special needs to attend school.

Mayberry joins his House colleague Rep. Charlie Collins (R-Fayetteville) in the race for the Republican nomination.

“I’m excited to campaign on how as lieutenant governor I will help turn Arkansas into a good jobs magnet and I welcome Andy into the race,” said Collins following Mayberry’s announcement.

Others names are also rumored to be considering the race including Sen. Johnny Key (R-Mountain Home) and former U.S. Senate candidate Col. Conrad Reynolds.

Little Rock businessman John Burkhalter is the only announced Democratic candidate and has been endorsed by Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike Ross.

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Jason Tolbert is the moderator for his opinion blog, The Tolbert Report. He can be reached by e-mail at Jason@TolbertReport.com. Follow him on Twitter: @TolbertReport.

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