Thursday, January 10, 2013

House Speaker Davy Carter leaving bank job UPDATE

Posted By on Thu, Jan 10, 2013 at 10:47 AM

Dang. Beaten to the punch again by Roby Brock. I'd just sent this e-mail to coming House Speaker Davy Carter, the Cabot Republican.

I heard you were leaving the bank?

Is that true?

To do what?

And, of course, does this have any implications relative to future political races?

In short: Might you run for governor in 2014?

If you really are like Beebe [as Gov. Mike Beebe has said repeatedly about Carter], it might take a couple of decades, but .....

He responded promptly, as he generally does, to get back with me after lunch. Then I saw Roby's Talk Business Twitter that he had the answer to the first question:

Carter announced on Thursday (Jan. 10) that he would step down from his job with Centennial Bank, a subsidiary of Conway-based Home Bancshares. Carter, who is also an attorney, has held the position of Division President with the bank.

“I am extremely grateful for the many opportunities afforded to me during my time at Centennial Bank. My association with the people there has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, both professionally and personally, and it is very difficult for me to leave an organization that is so close to my heart,” Carter tells Talk Business Arkansas.

“When I ran for Speaker, I committed 110% of my time and energy towards working for the people of Arkansas, which is why I am resigning from my day-to-day duties at the bank. I will, however, remain on the regional board of directors,” he said. “Right now I am completely focused on the legislative session and the many issues we will face in the upcoming months.”

I got the same prepared statement from Gabe Holmstrom, recently hired by Carter as chief of the House staff. My final question to Carter hangs in the air. I notice that Johnny Allison, chairman of Home Bancshares, had politics on his mind in commenting to Roby:

“We need more politicians like Governor Mike Beebe and Rep. Davy Carter who aren’t afraid to cross party lines to get things done for the good of the state.”

UPDATE: Holmstrom tells me Carter is under the weather today, but still hopeful of making a scheduled appearance at noon tomorrow at the Clinton School. So maybe I'll just answer my own questions, as I figure a capable businessman/banker and politician might.

Carter's elevation as speaker was a late and surprise development. Suddenly, a bank executive found himself committed to another, more-than-full-time job. His departure from the bank could be effectively a leave of absence from the bank, after which he might or might not return. In the short run, no other hard-working bank employee will have reason to question employment of a fellow employee doing most of his work elsewhere.

Carter will surely be asked about political plans tomorrow. Unless I'm very much surprised, I'd expect the answer to be along the lines of what he's already said: He's focused on the legislative session. The future is a long way off. And, heck, Mike Beebe was the "rising star" of Arkansas politics for more than two decades before being elected governor in 2006.

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