NEA legislators take key authority positions during 93rd General Assembly

by George Jared ([email protected]) 324 views 

Arkansas’ 93rd General Assembly has been in session for 16 days and Northeast Arkansas has strong representation in leadership on several entities in both chambers.

One committee that has historically had a lot of impact on Northeast Arkansas is the Senate Agriculture and Economic Development Committee. During this session, it is chaired by State Sen. Ronald Caldwell, R-Wynne. A real-estate developer by trade, he ranks as the 10th most senior member of the Senate and has served since 2013.

The State Senate Children and Youth Committee is chaired by State Sen. Dave Wallace, R-Leachville. Wallace, a businessman, has served since 2017 and is 23rd in seniority in the body.

State Sen. Blake Johnson is the chair of the State Senate Transportation Committee. Johnson, a farmer has served in the chamber since 2015 and is ranked 20th in seniority.

The State House Revenue and Tax Committee is chaired by State Rep. Joe Jett, R-Success. A farmer by trade, Jett has served in the House since 2013. State Rep. Milton Nicks Jr., D-Marion is the vice-chair of the House City, County, and Local Committee and has served since 2015.

Rep. Brandt Smith, R-Jonesboro, has served since 2015 and is the vice chair of the House Judiciary Committee. Jack Ladyman, R-Jonesboro, is the chair of the House Public Health Committee, and Deborah Ferguson, D-West Memphis, serves as the committee’s vice-chair. Rep. Dwight Tosh, R-Jonesboro is the chair of the House State Agencies Committee, which will oversee constitutional amendment referrals and Congressional redistricting.

Across both chambers, Rep. Monte Hodges, D-Blytheville, was selected as president of the influential Legislative Black Caucus. Hodges will be a highly visible spokesperson for the caucus on issues involving prison and sentencing reform, hate crimes legislation and education issues. He appeared on Talk Business & Politics daily legislative show earlier this week.

Sen. Wallace is the co-vice-chair of the powerful Joint Budget committee, and Sen. Caldwell serves as the chair of the Joint Legislative Auditing Committee.

Two other House members, State Rep. Frances Cavenaugh, R-Walnut Ridge, and State Rep. Michelle Gray, R-Melbourne, serve as Assistant Speaker Pro Tempore. Sen. Caldwell serves as the Assistant President Pro Tempore of the State Senate.