Sen. Key Lands Job With UA System After All

by Steve Brawner ([email protected]) 91 views 

Two days after it was announced he was not selected as the University of Arkansas’ vice chancellor for governmental relations, State Sen. Johnny Key, R-Mountain Home, was named Wednesday (May 7) as associate vice president for university relations for the UA System.

Key will help coordinate the UA System’s government relations as an assistant to Melissa Rust, vice president for university relations. His first day of work has not been determined, but, according to a UA System press release, it will follow the end of his service in the state Senate.

Key had been a finalist for the UA vice chancellor’s job that was awarded to Randy Massanelli, state director for U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor. That hiring was announced Monday.

“We’ve had a need for some time to bring on someone to help Melissa, who essentially works for all 18 UA System entities to educate policymakers on the many issues we are facing in higher education,” University of Arkansas System President Donald Bobbitt said in a press release. “Johnny Key has been fully vetted through the search process at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to hire him to join our team at the UA System. His service as a lawmaker has given him a unique perspective on the legislative process, and I know his knowledge and skills will be an asset to our government relations efforts.”

Key is barred from lobbying the Legislature for one year from the end of his term in office. According to the release, he will not register as a lobbyist or participate in activities that are not allowed by the law.

Key was elected to the Senate in 2008 and has served as chairman of the Senate Education Committee and vice chairman of the Joint Budget Committee. He previously served six years in the House of Representatives. He graduated from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, with a chemical engineering degree.