Asa Hutchinson announced today that he would name Ted Thomas as chairman of the Arkansas Public Service Commission.
Thomas is a lawyer, a former state representative from Little Rock, a former budget aide under Gov. Mike Huckabee and a former PSC administrative law judge. He’s been a political consultant in recent Republican political gains and campaigned for Hutchinson.
The appointment apparently puts to rest rumors that Thomas was being considered to head the state Department of Finance and Administration, a job from which long-time DFA head Richard Weiss will be retiring next week.
Thomas takes a seat that had been held by Butch Reeves, originally a Huckabee appointee who was reappointed by Mike Beebe. The terms last six years. The Commission chairman is paid about $126,000.
Mike Beebe yesterday appointed his deputy, Lamar Davis, to replace the departing PSC Chair Colette Honorable. But he didn’t designate Davis as chair, leaving that to the incoming governor.
The Hutchinson release:
LITTLE ROCK – Governor-Elect Asa Hutchinson has announced his intention to appoint Ted Thomas as Chairman of the Public Service Commission (PSC).
Governor-Elect Hutchinson issued the following statement on Ted Thomas:
“This appointment is a critical one – both in terms of economic development and consumer protection – and striking the right balance is key. Ted recognizes how important this balance is and understands the significant role it plays as we attempt to create a strong environment for economic growth in Arkansas. In addition, Ted is one of the brightest people I know, and I am confident he will make our state and people proud in his new position.”
Ted Thomas issued the following statement:
”I would like to thank Gov.-elect Hutchinson for appointing me to the Public Service Commission. I pledge to him and to the people of Arkansas to serve with excellence and integrity.”
Thomas has served as Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for the 20th Judicial District, Administrative Law Judge at the Public Service Commission for seven-and-a-half years, Budget Director for Governor Mike Huckabee and in the Arkansas House of Representatives, where he served as Chairman of the State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee during his final term.
Thomas received a Bachelor of Arts with High Honors in Political Science from the University of Arkansas in 1986 and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Arkansas School of Law in 1988. He is licensed to practice law before the United States Supreme Court, the Arkansas Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and the Eight Circuit, and the United States District Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Arkansas. Thomas lives in Conway.