Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced today that he’d appointed Dr. Matthew McDonough of Jonesboro to the state Board of Dental Examiners, replacing Dr. Richard L. Smith of North Little Rock for a term ending Sept. 1, 2022.

Hutchinson just appointed Smith last fall, amid controversy.

The Arkansas Dental Association had recommended Dr. Lauren Harmon of Jonesboro for the opening, but Hutchinson chose Smith. The Association objected not only for being bypassed but because Hutchinson’s choice had been disciplined by dental regulators for overprescribing narcotics, a case of incompetent practice and working while on license suspension.

At the time, the governor defended Smith and criticized “unnecessary attacks.” Smith’s regulatory troubles occurred in the 1990s, but they made for criticism because the governor had pushed in the 2017 session for legislation meant to curb overprescribing of narcotics.


I’ve asked the governor’s office for more information about how the seat came to be open.

McDonough is a Jonesboro native and Arkansas State graduate who received his dental degree in 2007.