History will be made with the next election for Speaker of the Arkansas House of Representatives as Republican Terry Rice and Democrat Darrin Williams seek support from their colleagues.
Rice could be the first Republican to hold the Speaker’s post in the modern political history. If Williams succeeds, he will be the first African-American to be elected House Speaker.
Rep. Robert Moore, D-Arkansas City, will technically still serve as Speaker until the next General Assembly is sworn in, but after next Friday, his successor will start transitioning into power.
On Friday, March 9th, when the legislature re-convenes to wrap up their business from the fiscal session, they will hold a vote for Speaker-designate of the 89th General Assembly.
Williams, a Democrat from Little Rock, and Rice, a Republican from Waldron, are the only two expected candidates for the House top post. They’ve both been working their bases and across the aisle for votes in a chamber that boasts 54 Democrats and 46 Republicans.
Talk Business’ Michael Cook and Jason Tolbert have profiled both men on their blogs. Williams tells Cook, “I hope that whatever happens, as we move past this election, that the House as a body will really work toward not looking like D.C. We need to continue to build camaraderie and civility. It’s okay to disagree.”
Rice tells Tolbert, “I am running for Speaker of the House for the 89th General Assembly to work across party lines to find conservative solutions and consensus for the good of Arkansans.”
A big question remains as to whether the Speaker-designate will be seated depending on which party takes control of the House chamber after November’s elections. Both men address the topic.