Early voting for the 2022 midterm election has begun in Arkansas. Since this is the last of our quick reference guides for the polls, we hope this series has helped you learn more about the positions that you're voting for! In our final "Who's Who in Election 2022" blog, we're getting to know Arkansas’s executive branch, which includes positions of lieutenant governor and governor. Keep reading for more, and be sure to use your voice and cast your votes by Nov. 8!
The lieutenant governor position was not originally part of the Arkansas Constitution. It was added in 1914, but no one served Arkansas in this position until 1926. The official duties of this lieutenant governor described in the Arkansas Constitution are: " ... to preside over the Senate and to have the tie-breaking vote over issues." The lieutenant governor is also to serve as governor while the governor is out of state and would also take over the role if the governor can no longer perform their duties for reasons such as being removed from office or dying. Qualifications for this position and the position of governor are the same: a person needs to be at least 30 years old, a United States citizen and a resident of Arkansas for a minimum of seven years.
· Frank Gilbert (L): Gilbert has previously served as mayor of Tull, Arkansas. He also has served as Grant County coroner and president of the Bauxite Education Association. Gilbert is currently the manager for Guard Tronie and a minister.
· Lesile Rutledge (R): Rutledge is the 56th Attorney General of Arkansas. She is the first woman and first Republican in Arkansas history to be elected to that office. Rutledge graduated from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law.
· Kelly Krout (D): Krout is a former foster parent and current, licensed social worker. She earned her bachelor’s degree and graduate degree from the University of Arkansas in 2019 and 2022, respectively. Krout is also a children’s book author.
The governor of Arkansas is the highest elected position in the state. The person serving in this office is the commander in chief of all the state’s military and naval forces, unless it is already in federal use. This role also takes on the duties of delivering the “State of the State” address to the Arkansas Legislature. These speeches concern issues of the state and any of the governor’s recommendations on policies. The governor also has veto power over legislative actions brought by the lawmakers. Both houses can override this veto with a simple majority.
The governor can also adjourn either a regular session or extraordinary session of the legislature when the houses cannot come to a resolution in order to adjourn. The Constitution of Arkansas gives the governor the ability to grant reprieves, communications of sentence and pardons after a conviction.
· Ricky Dale Harrington Jr. (L): Harrington enrolled with the Sunset International Bible Institute and served a missionary in Scotland. After receiving a bachelor of ministry from Harding University, he went on to serve a two-year mission in China. Harrington then took on a position as a chaplain with the Arkansas Department of Correction.
· Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R): Sanders served as White House press secretary from 2017 to 2019. She previously worked as a senior advisor to Sen. Tom Cotton (R) in 2014 and was campaign manager for Sen. John Boozman (R) in 2010. Huckabee Sanders also served in the U.S. Department of Education during George W. Bush’s administration.
· Chris Jones (D): Dr. Jones attended Morehouse College on a NASA scholarship for physics and math. He then studied at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to earn an M.S. degree in nuclear engineering and technology policy and, later, a Ph.D. in urban planning. Dr. Jones returned to The Natural State to serve as executive director and lead maker of the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub in 2018.