Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Governor adds state representative to his staff

Posted By on Tue, Aug 30, 2016 at 11:38 AM

click to enlarge BILL GOSSAGE: To governor's staff.
  • BILL GOSSAGE: To governor's staff.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson made official today the long-expected news that he was adding state Rep. Bill Gossage of Ozark to a top staff job. He's also elevated another staffer to a vacant lobbying job. Gossage, who has said he'll resign today, will be paid $95,000 and starts work Thursday, Sept. 1.

Gossage was unopposed for re-election to his House District 82 seat. I don't have firmed up yet what this means on filling the seat in the future. I don't think a resignation to take a state job is one of the reasons by which a new nominee may be chosen for the November election. I have calls out.

If I'm right — and Democratic Party Chris Burks says he has the same impression, but doesn't have all the details of Gossage's plans to leave yet — that means there'd be a special election called in 2017 to fill the seat. There's not sufficient time remaining in 2016 for a special election to complete Gossage's term.

UPDATE: Not to visit the sins of the father on a son, but HOLY MOLEY: Rep. Bob Ballinger's son has announced for the seat, and it appears the Republican Party takes the view that Gossage's resignation allows the party to choose a nominee to replace him in the general election and the Democrats have no opportunity to field a candidate. Slick work. Young Ballinger just made a move to qualify as to residency, suggesting this little ballet was well-planned.

Here's the governor's news release:

Governor Asa Hutchinson today announced Representative Bill Gossage of Ozark as his new Deputy Chief of Staff for External Operations. Gossage will work in conjunction with Ateca Williams, who was named Deputy Chief of Staff for Internal Operations in July.

In addition, Katie Beck, current Executive Assistant to the Governor, has been named the new Director of State-Federal Relations. 

Governor Hutchinson released the following statement on Gossage and Beck:

“I am pleased to announce Representative Bill Gossage as my new Deputy Chief of Staff for External Operations and Katie Beck as the new Director of State-Federal Relations.

“Bill has been a longtime friend and adviser, and I have no doubt that his experience in education and his service in the legislature will provide my office with wise counsel and guidance as we approach the 2017 general session. Most importantly, though, Bill shares my vision for our state. As a former educator, he led the effort to help pass my landmark computer science education bill because he understands what it takes for our students to compete in a 21st century workplace. I am confident Bill will do an outstanding job in this new role, just as he’s done for his constituents over the years.

“Katie is a consummate professional and has been a valuable asset to my office from day one. In addition to her duties as my Executive Assistant, Katie has continued to play a vital role in other areas within the office, including as the liaison to the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. I am confident she will bring the same exceptional skill set and professionalism to her new role as Director of State-Federal Relations as she has exhibited over the last two years.”

Speaker Gillam issued the following statement on Gossage:

“Although the House is losing a valuable member, the State of Arkansas will gain a true public servant. Representative Gossage is a leader because he helps others grow. That is why I trusted him to chair our House Management Committee. I will miss my colleague and good friend in the Chamber, but I look forward to working with him in his new role to continue to do great things for Arkansas.”

Gossage issued the following statement upon the Governor’s announcement:

“When I ran for the legislature I wanted to help create jobs, lower taxes, and improve education. Fighting this fight and representing my neighbors in Franklin, Madison, and Crawford counties in the legislature has been the highest privilege of my life. I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to do so. Now, these causes take me in a different direction. I am honored to have the opportunity to work for Governor Hutchinson as he continues to move Arkansas forward with more high paying jobs, less taxes, and greater opportunities for all Arkansans.”

Beck issued the following statement upon the Governor’s announcement:

“I am humbled and excited to be able to continue my work on behalf of Governor Hutchinson as Director of State-Federal Relations. It has been an honor serving his administration for the past two years and I look forward to continue working for the people of Arkansas in Washington DC.”

Bill Gossage currently serves as the State Representative for District 82, which includes parts of Franklin, Madison, and Crawford Counties. He was first elected to the Arkansas House of Representatives in 2012 and was a member of the House Education Committee. Gossage is a retired Assistant Superintendent for the Ozark Public School System with 34 years of experience as an educator.

Katie Beck will fill the position vacated by Alison Williams when she accepted the role of Chief of Staff for Governor Hutchinson in May. Arkansas’s Director of State-Federal Relations is responsible for developing and recommending policies to maximize federal resources that will support Governor Hutchinson’s objectives for the State. The position is based in Washington, D.C. 
Alisha Curtis, current Director of Operations and Special Projects and Executive Assistant to the Chief of Staff, will replace Katie Beck as Executive Assistant to the Governor.

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