Arkansas lawmaker named to national leadership board


LITTLE ROCK — An Arkansas legislator will help educate state lawmakers from across the country on policy and leadership as a member of the board of directors for the State Legislative Leaders Foundation.

The national nonprofit, nonpartisan organization elected Rep. Darrin Williams, D-Little Rock, to its board during its Winter Leadership Conference on Saturday.

“Because Arkansans have the courage to think differently, we have been able to offer new solutions to old problems. State leaders from across the country are now watching,” Williams said in a news release.

Williams’ House district includes parts of Little Rock and Pulaski County. In March, House colleagues elected Williams House speaker-designate to lead the chamber during the regular legislative session that convenes in January. He would have been the state’s first black House speaker, but the vote was vacated after Republicans won a narrow House majority in the November general election. Incoming House members later elected GOP Rep. Davy Carter of Cabot as speaker for the 89th General Assembly.

“Reforming our justice system and revamping the way we pay for Medicaid care did not happen overnight,” Williams said in the news release. “It took all of us doing extensive research into what works and what doesn’t. I am very pleased to now serve with an organization that can help provide state leaders with that kind of ground-breaking knowledge.”

The State Legislative Leaders Foundation was established in 1972 to provide state legislative leaders with information on critical public policy issues and aspects of leadership. The foundation’s national educational programs are held in partnership with leading universities, independent research and leadership publications.

In 2009, as a freshman legislator, Williams was invited to attend the group’s Emerging Political Leaders program at the Darden School of Business on the campus of the University of Virginia.