Arkansas Surgeon General Greg Bledsoe announced Thursday that he will seek the Republican nomination for Lt. Governor in 2022.
He has served as the state’s surgeon general since 2015 when he was appointed by Gov. Asa Hutchinson. Bledsoe has been one of the governor’s chief advisors through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bledsoe is an emergency room physician and earned his medical degree from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. After a residency at UAMS, he spent five years on the faculty in the Johns Hopkins Department of Emergency Medicine.
“After much prayer and discussion with family and supporters all over the state, I have decided to announce as a candidate for Lt. Governor. I am a physician, not a politician, and I do not see this campaign as a ‘next step’ in a political career. We need fresh ideas and new faces in our Capitol, not a revolving door of the same names and candidates for every office,” Bledsoe tells Talk Business & Politics.
“My background is different than the typical candidate’s background. I’ve spent 20 years working in busy emergency departments and doing global health in the most remote and austere regions of the world. I believe deep and substantial private sector experience is a much better preparation for elected office than being a politician. Politicians politic. The private sector knows how to get things done,” he said.
Bledsoe touted his entrepreneurial roots as a qualification for running. According to his website, he founded a small medical education company called ExpedMed 12 years ago. He said he has traveled all over the world teaching expedition medicine. In addition, since 2018 Bledsoe has worked as a strategic advisor to New Road Capital Partners in northwest Arkansas, and is currently completing a Masters of Business Administration in the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he said.
Bledsoe is the son of State Sen. Cecile Bledsoe, R-Rogers. The only other officially announced candidate for Lt. Governor in 2022 is State Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Bigelow. Other potential candidates are exploring runs, according to TB&P sources.
“I have no doubt that I am the most conservative candidate in this race. I am not the most flamboyant, or the most bombastic, or the most dramatic, but I am definitely the most conservative,” Bledsoe said. “I am an unashamed conservative who is pro-life, pro-second amendment, Christian, and who favors small government and low taxes. I strongly believe entrepreneurship and innovation are the keys to our continued success as a state, not bureaucracy and government regulation.”
“I’m running because I believe we are leaving significant opportunity on the table as a state. We need someone in the Lt. Governor position who can articulate our values and use the microphone of the Lt. Governor position to champion our state and move us forward. I want Arkansas to win.”
Rapert reacted to Bledsoe's announcement Thursday by telling Talk Business & Politics he welcomes Bledsoe to the race.
“I look forward to differentiating my conservative record of protecting Arkansas consumers, promoting our state’s energy resources, cutting taxes to help Arkansas families, fighting for our religious freedoms, and protecting the unborn with his record as Surgeon General advising on the state’s response to COVID, including the use of certain therapies, business closures, and expenditure of CARES Act tax dollars,” Rapert said.
“The voters in Arkansas have granted me their confidence and trust to represent them and fight for their values for 10 years now and I look forward to earning the privilege to continue serving them as Lt. Governor in 2022,” Rapert added.