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Mike Mills to be nominated secretary of Arkansas Parks, Heritage, and Tourism

Josie Lenora
Governor-Elect Sarah Huckabee-Sanders stands next to Mike Mills, who she intends to nominate to be secretary of Arkansas Secretary of Parks, Heritage, and Tourism.

For a second day in a row, Arkansas Governor-Elect Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Tuesday named her pick for a state cabinet secretary position.

“One of the things I love most about the state of Arkansas is that we are the natural state,” Sanders said during her announcement near the state Capitol.

Mike Mills is the chosen nominee for Arkansas Secretary of Parks, Heritage, and Tourism. He is the founder of the Buffalo Outdoor Center, a travel and tourism company in northwest Arkansas.

“Nobody has spent more time living, loving, and promoting the natural state than Mike Mills,” Sanders said.

He replaces Secretary Stacy Hurst, who has held the job since July 2019. Mills said he has known Sanders since she was 12. He was retired until she asked him to work in her administration.

“How many people can say they've been to 52 Arkansas state parks,” he said in an interview with KUAR News. “I'm one of them.”

Mills became emotional during the event. He thanked Sanders, his family and his friends.

“Arkansas you run deep in me,” he said quoting the song of the same name.

“I don't have any specific plans at this point,” Mills explained, “but we have backing from the industry itself from the governor. And I think that we’ll see us take the department to a higher level.”

Suzanne Grobmyer, executive director of the Arkansas Parks and Recreation Foundation, was named chief of staff for the Department of Parks, Heritage, and Tourism.

During the same event, Sanders talked about eliminating the state income tax and focusing on education during her time in office.

Josie Lenora is the Politics/Government Reporter for UA Little Rock Public Radio.