Commissioner of State Lands John Thurston announced Monday (Oct. 23) his intention to be the next secretary of state in Arkansas.
“As I am term-limited in my ability to serve as Land Commissioner, and believing I still have a lot to offer the citizens of the state of Arkansas, I am today announcing my intention to run for the open Secretary of State’s office in 2018,” Thurston said in a statement.
Thurston, a Republican, has served two terms as Arkansas Commissioner of State Lands and has said previously he planned to seek the Secretary of State’s post. State Rep. Trevor Drown (R-Dover) has announced he will seek the GOP nomination. Two Democrats, Susan Inman and Anthony Bland, have also stated their plans to run for the office.
The next Secretary of State will be instrumental in redistricting in 2020. Thurston said he takes the task seriously and wants to ensure that the lines are drawn “honest, fair, and make logical sense for voters and communities of interest.”
He said he is committed to an open and fair process in the operations of the secretary of state’s office on key decisions, including the replacement of statewide voting machines in districts that desperately need them and good open communication between the Secretary of State’s office, election commissioners, county clerks, and constituents.
For the past seven years as Land Commissioner, Thurston has managed an office of 40 workers, an annual $40 million budget, and has returned almost $120 million to Arkansas counties in the form of tax revenue. Previously, he served as the vice president and president of the Western States Land Commissioners Association, chairman of the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council, and is the chairman of the Natural Resources Committee.
“I am honored to be serving as Commissioner of State Lands. This position has been a wonderful opportunity and I’m proud of our hard work to make this office the best it’s ever been. This is a highly transactional office, and during my administration, we have passed all audits with flying colors. I hope I have demonstrated my commitment, competence, and character to the state of Arkansas. My goal coming into the Commissioner of State Lands was to be a good steward and not bring reproach to the state. I believe the best way to honor the people is to honor the office and this is the attitude I will as your next Secretary of State.”
Thurston is a lifetime resident of Saline County where he lives with his wife, Joanna, and their five children.