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Last week, after the end of the fiscal session, the Arkansas House selected their Speaker for the 89th Assembly, Democrat Darrin Williams of Little Rock (the House’s first black Speaker since Reconstruction).  Williams beat out Republican Terry Rice (Waldron) by a 54-46 secret ballot vote that seemed to fall along party lines.

Meanwhile, House GOP members chose Bruce Westerman of Hot Springs to follow John Burris of Harrison as Minority Leader, Lane Jean (Magnolia) as Minority Whip, and Jeremy Gillam (Judsonia) as the GOP Caucus Secretary.

Newly elected Williams says his goal is to make the next legislative session "efficient and effective."  However, Westerman says if the GOP gains the majority in next fall’s election he aims to replace Williams with a Republican.