State Treasurer Lowery set to return to Arkansas; chief of staff resigns

Arkansas Treasurer Mark Lowery speaks at the state Capitol in Little Rock in this March 2, 2022 file photo. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Staci Vandagriff)

State Treasurer Mark Lowery is scheduled to return to Arkansas in 10 days and hopes to return to the treasurer’s office soon thereafter, Lowery spokeswoman Heather McKim said Tuesday.

Lowery’s chief of staff, Wil Cheatham, also has resigned, citing personal reasons. Cheatham said Tuesday that Cheatham plans to practice law instead.

Lowery, who suffered a stroke in mid-March, has been with his daughter and grandchildren in Maryland recovering and continuing his rehabilitation since his release from a rehabilitation facility in Arkansas on April 7, according to his office.

The Republican from Maumelle, who is a former state representative, was sworn in Jan. 10 as the state treasurer, succeeding Benton Republican Dennis Milligan, who is now the state auditor.

The state treasurer oversees the state treasury’s investment portfolio of about $11 billion. Among other things, the state treasurer also serves on the board of trustees for the Arkansas Teacher Retirement System, Arkansas Public Employees Retirement System and Arkansas State Highway Employees Retirement System. The treasurer is paid a salary of 95,693 a year.

Cheatham resigned as Lowery’s chief of staff effective May 19, according to a copy of his resignation letter.

Lowery said Thursday in a news release that “I have just been notified of the resignation of Wil Cheatham, Chief of Staff, effective Friday, May 19.

“I want to thank Wil for his friendship and commitment in leading the Treasury staff and being a vital part of our leadership team,” he said. “I also want to wish him well in his future endeavors.”

Lowery said he has appointed his office’s government relations director, Stephen Bright, as interim chief of staff.

“In this role, Stephen will be responsible for all duties Wil held as well as all personnel decisions,” he said in the news release.

Bright is a former Republican state representative from Maumelle and a former mayor and city director of Maumelle.

Lowery said in his news release that “I want to thank each of you for your continued support as I continue my rehabilitation and look forward to being back soon.”