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story.lead_photo.caption Gov. Asa Hutchinson is shown in this file photo.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced on Wednesday his newly reorganized cabinet to run state agencies.

Essentially, he is keeping the same people to run the agencies they have been leading. But there will be fewer agencies, with other entities rolled into those agencies.

The announcement is a part of his plan to reorganize state government. He signed Act 910 of 2019 into law, which reduces the number of agencies. The state Department of Higher Education, for example, will be under control of the state Department of Education.

The change takes effect on July 1, the start of state government’s fiscal year.

The 15 cabinet positions will replace 42 cabinet positions. Seven are run by women, which represents 47% of the appointments. The governor’s office said in its announcement that the 47% represents the highest percentage of women in cabinet appointments in Arkansas history and that this is the biggest reorganization of state government in nearly 50 years.

The appointments are:

Secretary of the Department of Agriculture: Wes Ward, currently Secretary of the Arkansas Agriculture Department.

Secretary of the Department of Commerce: Michael Preston, the executive director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. He will continue to work both jobs.

Secretary of the Department of Correction: Wendy Kelley, the director of the Arkansas Department of Correction, which the governor’s office said will be called the Division of Corrections. She will continue to work in both capacities, the governor said.

Secretary of the Department of Education: Johnny Key. He is the Commissioner of the Arkansas Department of Education, which the governor said will be known as the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education. He will continue to serve in both capacities.

Secretary of the Department of Energy and Environment: Becky W. Keogh, who is the Director of the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality. The governor said it will be known as the Division of Environmental Quality and that she will continue to serve in both capacities.

Secretary of the Department of Finance and Administration: Larry W. Walther, who is the director of the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration.

Secretary of the Department of Health: Dr. Nathaniel Smith, who is currently director of the Arkansas Department of Health.

Secretary of the Department of Human Services: Cindy Gillespie, director of the Arkansas Department of Human Services.

Secretary of the Department of Inspector General: Elizabeth Thomas Smith, the Arkansas Medicaid Inspector General. She will continue to serve in both capacities, the governor said.

Secretary of the Department of Labor and Licensing: Daryl E. Bassett, director of the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services, which will be known as the Division of Workforce Services.

Secretary of the Department of the Military: Maj. Gen. Mark H. Berry, who is Adjutant General of the Arkansas National Guard.

Secretary of the Department of Parks, Heritage, and Tourism: Stacy Hurst. She is director of the Department of Arkansas Heritage, soon to be known as the Division of Arkansas Heritage. She will continue to serve in both capacities, the governor said.

Secretary of the Department of Public Safety: Jami Cook, who is director of the Arkansas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Training, an agency that the governor said will become the Division of Law Enforcement Standards and Training. She will continue to serve in both capacities.

Secretary of the Department of Transformation and Shared Services: Amy Fecher. She is chief transformation officer of the Governor’s Office of Transformation.

Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Col. (Ret.) Nathaniel “Nate” Todd, the director of the Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs.

Read Thursday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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Comments

  • RBear
    May 22, 2019 at 1:17 p.m.

    No surprises here that I see. Preston was expected to get Commerce.

  • jklivin748gmailcom
    May 23, 2019 at 10:44 a.m.

    I can't believe he #asahutchison is allowing Wendy Kelly to continue her job at department of corrections after all the deaths Arkansas has experienced just in a week or 2nd alone that's not counting the deaths all this year , never speaking to the parents or mother's regards to k2 problem & quards bringing it inside prisons statewide.? They deserve remorse , what if your son were there , and without a good lawyer now he would be making his first trip there, but he wasn't raised by a hard working single mother , Governor I was hoping you had a change of heart .. no disrespect sir just help these guys that are demoralized, downgraded, stripped of any human or civil right they had prior can look for all of the same to occur ! Just made to look like an feel no dignity at all in my opinion sir that's not the way anyone should treat anyone EVER. in the end " only kindness matters" sfterall u are getting a lot of money per inmate . We spend small fortunes on calls , pkgs & special holidays boxes not to mention travel , stay a couple nights there then tell us what u think then only in solitary confinement then maybe u will see why we mothers feel the way we do about ADC

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