Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Thursday (Dec. 20) he has appointed Justin Tate of Little Rock to the Arkansas Public Service Commission (PSC). Tate will replace outgoing Commissioner Elana Wills when her term expires Jan. 14, 2019.
PSC commissioners are appointed to 6-year terms. When Tate joins the group, the PSC will be made up entirely of members appointed by Hutchinson, who was first elected in November 2014. Chairman Ted Thomas was appointed in January 2015 and Commissioner Kimberly O’Guinn was appointed in November 2016.
“I am pleased to announce Justin Tate as the next commissioner of the Arkansas Public Service Commission,” Hutchinson said in a statement. “Justin is one of the brightest minds I’ve had the chance to work with as Governor, and his legal background and regulatory experience will be a welcome addition to the commission. I have no doubt he will serve the PSC and the people of Arkansas well in this new role.”
Tate is an Arkansas native who has worked in Hutchinson’s office in a number of roles the past four years including deputy chief legal counsel, chief legal counsel, and most recently, director of rules and regulatory affairs.
“I am both honored and humbled to accept this appointment to the Arkansas Public Service Commission,” Tate said in a statement. “My time in the Governor’s office has provided me with the knowledge, understanding, and experience that I believe will be of added value to an already impressive group of commissioners. I am grateful to Governor Hutchinson for this opportunity and for the confidence he’s placed in me, and I look forward to serving the people of Arkansas in this new capacity.”
Tate graduated from the University of Arkansas and earned a law degree from Vanderbilt.
The PSC provides oversight for rates and services of natural gas, electric, water, sewer and telecommunications utilities in Arkansas. Donna Gray was named the commission’s new executive director in July. She replaced longtime chief John Bethel, who stepped down from the job April 30 after 18 years.