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Friday, July 5, 2013

Lamoureux names Julie Baldridge to the state Lottery Commission

Posted By on Fri, Jul 5, 2013 at 11:16 AM

Sen. Michael Lamoureux, president pro tem of the Senate, Tweets that he'll replace Steve Faris on the Arkansas Lottery Commission with Julie Baldridge. She was the communications director for the lottery and, for a time after Ernie Passailaigue's departure before she retired, interim director.

Faris is leaving the Lottery Commission to sit by Lamoureux appointment on the state Healthcare Marketplace Board. It will be overseeing some of the implementation of Obamacare in Arkansas.

What are friends for?

Faris has long been tied to rural phone companies in a quasi-lobbying job, even while a sitting legislator. Lamoureux scored some rural phone company legal work during the course of a session that plopped a big fat subsidy in the laps of rural phone companies, including one Lamoureux represents, thanks to a new tax Lamoureux championed. Faris, who had a paid Senate staff job thanks to Lamoureux to ease his private sector transition after his days in the Senate were over, his been a finagler in state government since he had a prime desk spot in the secretary of state administration of Bill McCuen. Faris, of course, was shocked to learn of the criminal activity McCuen got enmeshed in.

Baldridge was a fellow staffer with Bob Johnson when Ray Thornton was a congressman. Later, Thornton was appointed lottery commission chairman by Bob Johnson, then Senate prez. After the lottery staffed up with South Carolina carpetbaggers, Baldridge was brought on as a top staffer at the agency. Baldridge goes both ways politically, despite her background as a Democratic congressional staffer. She's a backer of U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton, the Club for Growth candidate from Washington who took an Arkansas rental for his first congressional run two years ago. Republican Lamoureux is a major Cotton backer also.

The appintment takes effect Aug. 1.

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