Governor Hutchinson today announced the appointment of Dr. Nathan Smith as the state’s first broadband manager for the Arkansas Broadband Office. The position was created by the Act 792, passed by the General Assembly this year. Smith will spearhead the governor’s broadband plan, which aims to develop high-speed broadband access for all communities in the state with more than 500 residents by 2022. Smith, who serves as Research Director at the Department of Commerce, will take on the position on Wednesday when the law goes into effect. He will serve in both roles at his existing salary.
In a press release, the governor made the following comment:
Access to high-speed broadband in our rural communities is critical to the long-term success of our state’s economy, and it will improve the quality of life for our citizens. Earlier this year, I asked Dr. Smith to lead the development of a broadband plan for Arkansas that would achieve that goal within the next four years. Dr. Smith’s leadership in that effort, as well his knowledge and experience, make him the perfect fit to be the state’s first Broadband Manager.
In the course of helping develop the Arkansas State Broadband Plan, I enjoyed getting to know the issues and the players in the broadband space. I’ve gained an appreciation of its intricacy and importance. I look forward to working with colleagues in the executive branch and the private sector to pool expertise. The State Broadband Office will maintain objectivity and a commitment to the public interest as we face the decisions ahead.
From the press release, here’s more on Smith:
Dr. Smith serves as research director at the Department of Commerce, with expertise in tax policy, workforce development, data governance and analytics, international development and the economics of technological change. His 2011 dissertation, Complexity, Competition and Growth, sought to shed new light on how economies grow by discovering and applying new technological principles, using computer simulations as a theoretical method.
Prior to his work as Economic Policy Director at the Arkansas Development Finance Authority in 2017, Dr. Smith ran education finance projects at the World Bank, worked for an education technology startup, taught economics at a small Christian college in California, and studied the impact of U.S. fiscal policy on savings rates at the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C. He also served as a statistical program supervisor for the state government of Maine.
Dr. Smith is the author of several books and many articles on social science and political philosophy. He holds a Master’s in Public Administration from Harvard and a Ph.D. in economics from George Mason University.
UPDATE: A reader points out that one of the books authored by Smith is “The Verdict of Reason: Why Gay Marriage Cannot Be the Real Thing and Should Not Be Recognized in Law.”