Gov. Asa Hutchinson asked the press out to Camp Robinson today to talk about an economic development effort related to the military.
He going to spend $400,000 in support of another task force — this one to think about ways to expand the military’s footprint in Arkansas. Everybody, of course, likes defense spending.
Here’s the governor’s news release:
Governor Asa Hutchinson today announced the formation of a new statewide initiative to support and promote the state’s military installations and related economic development interests.
The Governor’s Military Affairs Committee will bring together public and private leaders around the state who will prepare and advocate for Arkansas on both a national and state level to accomplish short- and long-term economic objectives for our military installations. The Governor has committed an up-front amount of $400,000 in funding for the purpose of establishing the statewide organization and commissioning an economic impact analysis.
· Grow and protect our state’s military installations, utilization, and missions.
· Advocate at state and federal levels on behalf of our state and local economic development interests.
· Position Arkansas as a priority State in our national defense plan.
· Appoint a public-private partnership steering committee to accomplish short-term and organizational goals.
“The nation’s military presence in Arkansas through our bases and our defense contractors plays a vital role, not only in the defense of our country, but also in the economic stability of our state,” said Governor Hutchinson. “We have several groups around the state who have an interest in seeing our military prosper, and this pro-active initiative will allow us to combine our strengths and pursue common objectives and opportunities. I’m proud of the steering committee we’ve assembled and challenge them with directing this initiative successfully.”
Brad Hegeman, president of Nabholz Construction Services, will preside over the committee. Hegeman has served with the Arkansas National Guard Association and the Little Rock Air Force Base Community Council. Other members of the steering committee are:
o Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin
o Maj. Gen. (Ret) William Wofford – Adjutant General’s representative for the AR National Guard
o Larry Wilson – LRAFB Community Council
o Lou Ann Nisbett – Economic Development Alliance of Jefferson County
o Tim Allen – President and CEO, Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce
o Jan Gattis Burd – VP of Commercial Lending, First National Bank of Fort Smith
o Mike Preston – AEDC Executive Director
o Danny Games – AEDC Deputy Director of Global Business
o Ken Griffin – Military/Veterans Affairs Liaison for Gov. Asa Hutchinson
“This is a great day for the state of Arkansas and I applaud Governor Hutchinson for the vision and commitment to establish this organization,” Hegeman said. “This effort will provide the State with the focus and resources necessary to not only preserve our military installations but to make Arkansas the logical choice for future missions and growth opportunities.”
The Arkansas Economic Development Commission has appointed a senior manager, Becky Rheinhardt, to support military installations as one of the state’s targeted industry sectors.