301.519.9237 exdirector@nesaus.org

2.27.24 – Roby Brock (roby@talkbusiness.net)

Rep. Keith Brooks, R-Little Rock, became the third candidate to declare for House Majority Leader in the next Arkansas General Assembly. There are also three candidates seeking the Speaker of the House post.

Brooks joins Rep. Howard Beaty, R-Crossett, and Rep. Aaron Pilkington, R-Knoxville, in asking colleagues to vote them as the next House Majority Leader, a position held by Rep. Marcus Richmond, R-Harvey.

Beaty and Pilkington joined the race earlier this month.

“I intend to help the caucus speak boldly on the values we hold dear and have a caucus where every member feels heard, valued, and empowered to contribute their unique insights. The next session is going to be one full of change. I want us to embrace this change and lean in, our collective efforts will make our caucus more successful,” Beaty said.

“Representative Keith Brooks and I came into the House in the same freshman class, and I respect and consider Keith a friend and an ally. I feel confident that his decision to enter the race for majority leader is based on many of the same concerns and issues that moved me to run. I wish both Representatives Brooks and Pilkington only the best. If not elected, I will work tirelessly to support and help make the caucus choice for majority leader successful.”

Pilkington told his fellow House members earlier this month that his track record, communication skills and “crafting conservative policy” qualified him for the job.

“I am eager to continue our journey together, focusing on these three key pillars: Winning elections, improving communication, and crafting conservative policy. By working together, we can secure a brighter future for Arkansas and uphold the values we hold dear,” he said.

“I invite you to reach out to me with any questions or ideas you may have. Your support means the world to me, and I look forward to the opportunity to lead our caucus to new heights,” Pilkington added.

Pledging to have “consistent and open communication” with the House GOP caucus, Brooks said his efforts guiding the LEARNS Act through the House are an example of his leadership approach.

“In my view, the role of Majority Leader should be a strong public voice for both our caucus and principled conservative policy. The Leader must communicate our House legislative priorities effectively to Members, the Senate, the Governor’s office and our constituents to clearly show the value of our platform. Through Arkansas LEARNS, you have seen both my willingness and ability to do just that,” Brooks said.

“Additionally, the Majority Leader should value relationships with each caucus member, and build a strong bond that understands the policy goals each has which reflect the needs of their individual House District,” he added.

Republicans hold 82 of the 100 seats in the Arkansas House of Representatives.

There is also a three-way race for Speaker of the House. Rep. Matthew Shepherd, R-El Dorado, is not seeking a fourth full term as speaker.

Rep. Brian Evans, R-Cabot, Rep. Jack Ladyman, R-Jonesboro, and Rep. Johnny Rye, R-Trumann, are vying for the speaker’s post.

Evans, president of a logistics and freight services company, was first elected in 2019. He is the chairman of the House Education committee.

Ladyman, an engineer by trade, was first elected to the House in 2015. He is co-chair of the Arkansas Legislative Council Policy Making committee and is a former chairman of the Public Health committee.

Rye, a retired Poinsett Co. Assessor, was first elected to the House in 2017. He is the co-chair of the Legislative Joint Auditing-Counties And Municipalities committee.

Voting for the new leadership positions will take place after the fiscal session of the 94th General Assembly in April.