On January 1, circuit judges Barbara Elmore and Sandy Huckabee led ceremonies for several newly elected officials who took oaths for Lonoke County offices this week. Former Lonoke County Circuit Judge Philip Whiteaker was sworn in as a judge for the Arkansas Court of Appeals during the ceremony. Others sworn into their offices included Lonoke County Treasurer Patti Weathers; Constables John Huett (Butler Township), and George Bailey (Lonoke Township), among several other constables; District Judge Teresa Smith; Lonoke County Tax Assessor Jack McNally; County Clerk Larry Clarke; Circuit Clerk Deborah Oglesby; County Judge Doug Erwin; Cabot City Council Members Kevin Davis, Ryan Flynn, Ann Gilliam, Angie Jones, Ed Long, Jon Moore, Joe O’Bryan, and Rick Prentice; Lonoke County Justices of the Peace Brent Cannon, Mike Dolan, Charles Evans, Henry Lang, Tim Lemons, Lee Linville, Roger Lynch, Bill Ryker, Adam Sims, Darrin Waymack, and BJ Weathers.
Judge Teresa Smith also swore in the members of the Lonoke City Council during a separate ceremony Tuesday morning. Taking oath in that ceremony were Aldermen Koy Butler, Janie Derning, Michael Florence, Raymond Hatton, Pat Howell, Efrem Jones, Wendell Walker, and Danny Whitehurst.
Aldermen elected newly to their positions for other townships in November, 2012 included Matthew Sheets for the City of Austin, ward 1, position 6; Chad Bennett and W. H. Kittler for the City of Carlisle, wards 1 and 2, position 2; and Porsche Farmer for the City of Allport, Position 4.
The Cabot City Council has one position open for ward 2, position 1, as council member Patrick Hutton has resigned, due to a complaint under the Hatch Act claiming he had aligned with a political party, although working in a non-partisan position. The Council has recommended Dallan Buchannan, who ran an unsuccessful campaign for the position during the 2012 election cycle.
This year marks the convention of the 89th Arkansas General Assembly, with the first Republican-dominated legislature since the Reconstruction era. Republicans hold a 51-48 majority in the House of Representatives. Lonoke County is expected to have a strong presence in the upcoming cycle, as people with ties to the county hold three of the state’s top legislative positions. District 43 state Representative Davy Carter (R-Cabot) will be Speaker of the House, District 28 state Senator Eddie Joe Williams (R-Cabot) will be Senate majority leader, and District 29 state Senator Jonathan Dismang (R-Searcy) will be Senate majority whip.