Daily Citizen: Gillam Running For House Speaker

by Jason Tolbert ([email protected]) 29 views 

Republican State Rep. Jeremy Gillam of Judsonia tells the The Daily Citizen in Searcy on Tuesday that he plans to run for House Speaker for the next legislative session.

“Looking at the makeup of our chamber now, I feel I have the skill set and temperament necessary to be the one to lead the 90th General Assembly,” Gillam tells The Daily Citizen. “In my time here, I feel I have built a good track record of consensus building and working across the aisle. With the balance of power in the House, it’s important to reach across the aisle and govern in a responsible fashion.”

The newspaper notes that if Gillam is elected to the Speaker’s office and Sen. Jonathan Dismang becomes Senate President Pro Temp as is expected, both chambers would have leaders from White County. Dismang also tells the paper that he supports Gillam in his Speaker’s race.

Good a time as any to note some other names floating around the capitol for the Speaker’s race as well.

On the Democrat side, Rep. Tommy Wren of Melbourne is thought to be a possible candidate with a twist.  Wren is a fairly conservative Democrat and is friends with Gillam.  It could be possible that some sort of deal could be reached between the two for support from some on the Democratic side in exchange for support for Wren if the Democrats were to re-take the majority next November.

There is also talk that a bipartisan group of young lawyers in the House might field a candidate.  The most likely Republicans from their ranks would be GOP Rep. Matthew Shepherd of El Dorado.

Shepherd has been mentioned not only for the Speaker’s race, but also for Congress – if the Fourth District were to be an open race – or perhaps more likely Attorney General.  Shepherd practices law in El Dorado and is the son of U.S. Appeals Court Judge Bob Shepherd.

One interesting thing to watch is the timing of the Speaker’s race.  This traditional selection takes place at the end of the fiscal session, but in the previous election cycle this led to a new election following the Republicans taking over the majority with 51 out of 100 seats.  With a narrow margin, the race could possibly be delayed until following the November 2014 general election.