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Arkansas Elects New House Speaker: Rep Brian Evans

Steps leading up to the Arkansas Senate chamber in the state Capitol.
Michael Hibblen
Evans was elected speaker after serving as a state representative since 2018.

Republican Rep. Brian Evans won the position in a landslide victory.

The Arkansas house elected Republican Rep. Brian Evans to be their next speaker Thursday. Evans won the speakership with 91 members of the 100 person house voting for him. Evans won the position over Republican State Rep. Johnny Rye from Trumann. Republican Rep. Jack Ladyman also planned to run for the position but told his colleagues he would step down after a “family emergency” with his wife. Evans opened his speech with a prayer for Ladymans family. In the rest of the speech, he decried the importance of leadership, judicial cooperation, and “building on the new.”

“During my time and your time in this house I have sought to work with you and my fellow colleagues to provide leadership that the people of Arkansas expect and deserve,” he said.

In Rye’s speech he talked about his many years of experience and quoted the Bob Dylan song: The Times They Are a Changing. He said that he is the person that “can deliver.”

The election comes after longtime Speaker Matthew Shepherd announced his decision to step down from the job. Evans lives in Cabot. He has been serving in the Arkansas House of Representatives since 2018. He is the president and CEO of a shipping company called L&L Freight Services INC. The Arkansas House now stands adjourned having completed the 2023 fiscal session.

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