Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Kristi Putnam announced Monday (July 17) that Mitch Rouse has been promoted to serve as Chief of Staff for the agency effective immediately.
Rouse, who previously served as Chief Counsel for DHS, will fill a key leadership role on DHS’s executive team, acting as the primary point of contact for legislators, elected officials, and other state agencies, and developing and managing special projects across various programs that DHS oversees. A new Chief Counsel will be named at a later date.
Rouse replaces Mark White, who was recently hired as the director of the Arkansas Teacher Retirement System.
“I am thrilled to welcome Mitch to his new role that will be critically important in guiding our operations and helping us fulfill our mission of protecting the vulnerable, fostering independence, and promoting better health,” Putnam said. “Mitch understands the important work that DHS staff perform, and he cares deeply about the people we serve. He is a proven leader who will excel at this new opportunity.”
Rouse has served as Chief Counsel overseeing DHS’s legal operations since February. Prior to joining DHS, he was the Director of the Office of State Procurement within the Department of Transformation and Shared Services (TSS), and he previously served as Secretary and Chief General Counsel for TSS. He also served as Chief of Staff for the agency formerly known as the Department of Environmental Quality.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to take on the responsibilities of Chief of Staff, and I’m excited to continue helping DHS move forward in a new way,” Rouse said. “The work we do as an agency impacts Arkansans throughout this state, and I’m honored to play a role in supporting the programs, policies, and services on which our beneficiaries rely.”
Rouse attended Arkansas State University, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude with Bachelor of Arts degrees in English and Philosophy. He attended William H. Bowen School of Law at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR) and earned his Juris Doctor in 2014.