Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin will seek re-election to a second four-year term in 2018, Griffin said Monday.
Griffin, a Little Rock Republican, said he has a good record of doing more as lieutenant governor with fewer state resources, and he has restored confidence in the office.
"There is still more to be done," he said in an interview.
Griffin said he announced his re-election plans Monday because he has received a lot of questions about his plans from Arkansans and the media. He said he started raising funds for his campaign late last month.
"I wanted to put any question about what I am going to do to rest," he said. "I have been 99.9 percent sure that I would run for re-election for lieutenant governor. I never seriously considered anything else."
Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson has yet to announce his 2018 re-election bid, although he is widely expected to eventually do so.
So far, no one else has announced they are considering running for lieutenant governor in 2018.
State Democratic Party spokesman H.L. Moody said he hasn't heard about any Democrats considering running for the job.
"I think everyone is just waiting to see how this one shakes out," he said, referring to the 2016 election.
The lieutenant governor is paid $42,215 a year. The officeholder's primary duties are to preside over the state Senate when it's in session and to serve as acting governor when the governor is outside the state. The job is considered to be part time.
Griffin, 47, has served as lieutenant governor since January 2015. He also is a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve and a senior adviser for communications and growth strategies for Purple Strategies, an Alexandria, Va.-based communications firm. He is a former 2nd District congressman, former interim U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas and former aide to then-President George W. Bush.
His predecessor, Springdale Republican Mark Darr, resigned from the office, effective Feb. 1, 2014, after he was fined $11,000 by the Arkansas Ethics Commission for 11 violations of ethics rules and regulations.
"I am proud of the bold conservative leadership we have shown in the lieutenant governor's office, where we are doing more with less. We cut the budget by more than 15% and reduced the staff by 50% compared to my predecessor," Griffin said in a written statement.
"My priorities have been and will continue to be growing jobs, especially through reforming government and improving education and caring for veterans," he said.
Among other things, Griffin said he wants to continue to work with the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, particularly to assist the aerospace industry, and push again for state income tax relief for retired veterans.
Griffin has two staff members -- a reduction from the four staff members that Darr had on the payroll.
At Griffin's request, the Legislature in this year's fiscal session reduced his office's spending by $62,491, to $340,677, in fiscal 2017, which started July 1.
At the lieutenant governor's request, the Legislature also increased the maximum authorized salary for Griffin's chief of staff and legal counsel position, held by Scott Burton, from $77,689 to $95,000 a year, and for his communications director-deputy legal counsel post, held by Katie Grygar, from $59,524 to $70,000 a year. Griffin increased their salaries to the maximum in fiscal 2017. Both Burton and Grygar are attorneys.
In February 2015, Hutchinson announced that Griffin would head the governor's task force to review Common Core educational standards and recommend any changes. Griffin noted Monday that the task force held more than 40 hours of public hearings, and recommended to keep what is working and get rid of what isn't working.
In December 2015, Hutchinson announced that Griffin will lead a review of the Arkansas Department of Human Services' organizational structure and look for any duplicative services. Griffin noted Monday that he interviewed 187 people at the department and made a series of recommendations to department Director Cindy Gillespie, who has adopted some of them, including creating an office of legislative affairs.
Metro on 07/12/2016
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Print Headline: Lt. Gov. Griffin says he'll run in '18 for second 4-year term