Incoming speaker discusses session
The newly elected speaker of the Arkansas House of Representatives, Rep. Davy Carter, R-Cabot, discussed key political issues facing the state Friday, Jan. 11, at an event at Little Rock’s Clinton School of Public Service.
In the packed main room of Sturgis Hall, Dean Skip Rutherford introduced Carter as the first Republican speaker since Reconstruction, when Charles A. Tankersley last held the position in 1871. Carter began his service as speaker Monday, Jan. 14.
Rutherford noted Carter’s “ability to build effective coalitions on both sides of the aisle” and praised Carter’s appreciation of “respecting where he both came from and where he now lives.”
Among the topics discussed by the speaker were his background, the influence of current Gov. Mike Beebe and the nature of contemporary economic issues at the national level that affect Arkansas’ state budget.
Carter stressed the importance of Medicaid expansion at the federal level and its impact on Arkansas politics, saying, “what we do regarding Medicaid, like it or not, affects what we do going forward.”
Carter assured members of the audience that any legislation potentially passed by the Arkansas congress will be “rigorously debated” and incorporate all viewpoints. “We are all committed to not allowing cuts to Medicaid during the next two years.”
Carter continued by expressing eagerness at beginning a new term as House speaker, saying, “Arkansas is open for business, and I want you to hold me accountable.”
Displaying comfort in transparency and an interest in pragmatic politics, Carter referred to his upbringing as a crucial factor shaping this personal outlook.
“My family, my roots, being god-fearing. Each of these make me proud to come from the Delta,” he said.
Carter not only credited the parochial values of Arkansans as explanations for state economic success, but also praised Arkansas’ diversity as a citizenry as indispensable.
“Only because of our economic, and social, diversity has Arkansas weathered the economic problems at the national level,” he said. “We have a $300 million surplus after a fully funded budget. This is remarkable.”
In addition to serving as House Speaker, Carter will maintain his post on the Revenue and Taxation Committee as well as the Insurance and Commerce Committee. Carter represents District 48, encompassing Cabot and surrounding parts of Lonoke County.
Prior to entering Arkansas politics, Carter was a banker and attorney. Carter is a graduate of the UALR William H. Bowen School of Law where he also served as a member of the Law Review. Prior to law school, Carter attended Louisiana State University’s Graduate School of Banking and Arkansas State University, where he majored in corporate finance.