Sen. Eddie Joe Williams, R-Cabot, resigned his state Senate seat Wednesday and started work Thursday as President Donald Trump's representative to the Southern States Energy Board.
Meanwhile, Cabot Republican Jim Coy said he plans to run for the vacant Senate District 29 seat, while fellow Cabot Republican R.D. Hopper said he's waiting for Gov. Asa Hutchinson to set a special election before deciding whether to seek the position.
In 2016, Williams was re-elected to a four-year term expiring in January 2021, so the special election would elect someone to serve the rest of Williams' term. Senate District 29 includes part of Faulkner, Lonoke, Pulaski and White counties. With the death of Sen. Greg Standridge, R-Russellville, on Thursday, the 35-member Senate now has two vacancies.
Williams said Thursday that he submitted his resignation late Wednesday afternoon, after he was sworn in to the federal post. Late last month, Trump announced he planned to appoint Williams to the federal position.
Williams said he'll work out of his home and an office in Atlanta at times in his new job. He said he won't be involved in the race to fill the vacant seat after conferring with the White House about the federal Hatch Act that limits certain political activities of federal employees.
In a letter dated Wednesday to Hutchinson, Williams wrote, "It is now time for me and my family to embark on a new journey.
"It has been a great privilege to represent Senate District 29 and to serve the citizens of Arkansas in the Arkansas General Assembly," he said. "I have had the opportunity to serve with the finest colleagues and the best staff anyone could ask for, and I am very proud of the work we have done together."
Williams had served in the Senate since 2011. He previously was Cabot's mayor from 2007-11 after serving five years on the Cabot City Council.
The Southern States Energy Board is a nonprofit interstate compact organization created in 1960 with the aim of enhancing economic development and the quality of life in the South through innovations in energy and environmental policies, programs and technologies, according to its website.
Coy, who announced his election plans on Facebook earlier this month , confirmed his plans Thursday. He is vice president of sales for Infutor Data Solutions based in Oakbrook, Ill., and previously worked 18 years for Acxiom. He also served eight years on the Cabot School Board.
He said he's running for the Senate because he has a deep passion for public service. He said he wants to reduce the size of government and reduce taxes and also make sure people in the Senate district have a strong voice.
"Given the times we are in, it is a great opportunity for me to serve the community," Coy said.
Hopper, who lost a challenge to Williams in the 2016 primary election, said Thursday he wanted to "know the details" of the special election before deciding to make another bid.
"I would like to serve the community," said Hopper, who owns Sonny's Auto Salvage and formerly served as a Lonoke County justice of the peace.
Metro on 11/17/2017
Print Headline: Cabot state senator quits post, joins federal energy agency