Darr among applicants for UA lobbyist job


LITTLE ROCK — Former Lt. Gov. Mark Darr is among 30-plus applicants for the soon-to-be-vacant position of vice chancellor for government relations at the University of Arkansas, records show.

Darr’s letter to Kathy Van Laningham, vice provost for planning at UA, is dated Feb. 20, and begins by saying he has always wanted to be a Razorback.

Richard Hudson is retiring, effective July 31. His annual salary is $202,000.

Darr resigned as lieutentant governor, effective Feb. 1, following an an ethics scandal.

Also among applicants is state Sen. Johnny Key, R-Mountain Home. State law prohibits a sitting legislator from accepting state employment, so Key would have to resign to take the UA position.

One of Darr’s references for the job is former Arkansas football coach Ken Hatfield.

“As a child I dreamed of playing for the Razorbacks and in the last few years I personally asked Coach Hatfield why he never recruited me,” Darr’s cover letter begins. “He asked me where I played high school football and when he told me that had never heard of my town, I blamed that instead of my lack of athleticism. It at least made me feel better.”

His letter went on to say he shared the story because he still dreamed of being a Razorback.

“No, not on the football field but in another area that sometimes the hits are just as hard and you don’t even wear pads.” Darr said. He adds that he has a unique understanding of the importance of the position and believes he is “adequately qualified to handle it and represent the Flagship University for our state with enthusiasm and pride.”

Darr’s other two references are House Speaker Davy Carter and Justice Courtney Goodson of the Arkansas Supreme Court.

Darr ends his letter with a paragraph cheering on the Razorbacks: “Woo Pig Sooie and Go HOGS Go!”

Key told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette over the weekend that “the level of consideration” given to his application will determine whether he files for re-election. The filing period ends March 3.

Key listed as his references Shane Broadway, director of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education; Tom Kimbrell, state education commissioner; and Chuck Welch, president of the Arkansas State University System.

The search committee will meet March 12 to review applicants and recommend candidates for interviews, UA spokesman Mark Rushing said.

Among other applicants:

• Emily Jordan Cox, Gov. Mike Beebe’s policy director.

• Eric Munson, senior vice president and director of legislation and regulation for the Arkansas Bankers Association.

• Nate Coulter, UA law professor and politician.

• James Kimbrough, executive director and chief development officer of Washington Regional Medical Foundation.

• Sarah A. Ganahl, senior legislative attorney for the Arkansas General Assembly.

• Denver Peacock, senior vice president for public affairs and chief marketing officer at Cranford, Johnson, Robinson, Woods (CJRW) agency in Little Rock.

• Duke McLarty, policy adviser and director of external affairs for the Office of Federal Housing Administration Commissioner.