AR House Speaker Gilliam Resigns after Accepting Position at UCA

Politics

Update: 

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The speaker of the Arkansas House is leaving the capitol for Conway.

Speaker Jeremy Gillam, who is serving his second term, will become the University of Central Arkansas’ director of governmental affairs and external relations. Gillam will make $130,000 a year, compared to his $47,000 yearly speaker salary. 

“Making a difference is something that has become really important to me in the job I’ve had as a state legislator and as a speaker,” he said. “Getting to do that on a really dynamic campus that is growing and has a very strong vision is something I’m really excited about and very much looking forward to.” 

The lawmaker from Judsonia has served in the House since 2011 and as speaker since 2015.

His last day in office will be June 15, when a House caucus meeting will determine his successor for the remainder of the year. Gillam expects his colleagues to approve the House speaker-designate, fellow Republican Matthew Shepherd, to start the job early.

JR Davis, the governor’s spokesperson, said Asa Hutchinson will call a special election to fill Gillam’s seat for the remainder of the year. The speaker was not seeking re-election.

“He has done a remarkable job serving as speaker, and his unique perspective and strong leadership will be missed,” Hutchinson said in a statement. “I have enjoyed our working relationship, and I wish him the best in his future endeavors.”

Gillam expects the public to choose Republican Jim Wooten, who is running unopposed for House District 45 in November. 

Gillam hopes he is remembered for the relationships he has built in and outside of the state capitol and also several pieces of legislation.

“Being able to work with President Dismang on the middle class tax cut is something i’m very proud of, but there were other things,” he said. “Being able to work on issues like sign postings to help prevent fetal alcohol syndrome and other issues that mattered to me personally.”

Gillam’s new job as a lobbyist for UCA will make him no stranger to the capitol after next week.

Lawmakers have to wait two years before taking lobbying jobs, but public universities are an exception since they are state agencies.

Gillam was careful to define his new role this early, even straying from the title of lobbyist.

Original Story: 

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas (News release) – Arkansas House Speaker Jeremy Gillam submitted his resignation letter to Governor Asa Hutchinson on Wednesday morning.  

Speaker Gillam has accepted an employment opportunity at the University of Central Arkansas.

“Serving with the members of the House has been the greatest honor of my professional life,” said Gillam. “This new opportunity will allow me to spend more time with my family while still working with a team that strives to improve the lives of Arkansans.”

Gillam, who is completing his second term as speaker of the Arkansas House of Representatives, will officially resign his speaker’s role and House of Representatives seat on June 15.  

Gillam currently represents District 45 in the Arkansas House, which encompasses part of White County. Gillam was first elected to the House in 2010. In January 2015, he became speaker and is completing his second term, becoming only the fifth person in Arkansas history to serve more than one term as speaker. In addition to his duties as speaker, he currently serves on the House Judiciary Committee and House City, County and Local Affairs Committee.

Speaker Gillam has planned a House Caucus meeting at 11:30 a.m. on June 15 to address the transfer of the office.

The meeting will be held in room A of the MAC building behind the Capitol.

University of Central Arkansas President Houston Davis announced Wednesday the appointment of Arkansas House of Representatives Speaker Jeremy Gillam as UCA’s director of governmental affairs and external relations.

The position is effective June 16.

UCA’s Chief of Staff Kelley Erstine, who also has been responsible for similar legislative and external duties, will continue to assist Gillam on occasion.

“The hiring of Gillam is an important addition to our leadership team as we seek to advance our university and its mission,” said Davis. “Speaker Gillam brings a knowledge and understanding of critical issues and relationships within Arkansas that will ensure UCA is an active leader in advancing our state.”

“I am extremely excited about the opportunity to be a part of another leadership team that strives to improve the lives of Arkansans,” said Gillam. “The University of Central Arkansas has a forward-thinking vision for higher education. I look forward to working with President Davis and the UCA team on their proactive approach.”

Gillam attended Arkansas State University-Beebe and received degrees in criminology and psychology from Arkansas State University in Jonesboro. He and his wife Carissa have two sons, Jaxon and Alexander.

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