LITTLE ROCK - State Rep. Bill Gossage, R-Ozark, is resigning from the Arkansas House to take a job in Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s office.
Gossage will be Hutchinson’s deputy chief of staff for external operations, the governor’s office said in a news release that also announced Hutchinson has chosen Katie Beck, currently his executive assistant, to serve as director of state-federal relations.
Gossage, who was first elected to the House in 2012, will receive an annual salary of $95,000. He will work in conjunction with Ateca Williams, who became Hutchinson’s deputy chief of staff for internal operations in July.
Previously, deputy chief of staff was a single position in the governor’s office, but Hutchinson split the job in two after Jon Gilmore left the position to take a private-sector job earlier this summer.
Hutchinson spokesman J.R. Davis said the governor has decided not to call a special election to fill Gossage’s seat for the remaining portion of his term, a decision allowed under state law when a legislative seat becomes vacant within 150 days of the next election.
Gossage had been unopposed for re-election. The state Republican Party can choose a new nominee in a convention, Davis said.
Ozark lawyer Sarah Capp said in a statement Tuesday she will seek the District 82 seat.
“I value the opportunity to continue representation for those in our district with the same conservative values that Rep. Gossage’s esteemed leadership has served us with the past few years. There are great things happening in our state and I have the compassion and desire to further those accomplishments,” she said.
Gossage was first elected in 2012 to represent House District 82, which includes parts of Franklin, Madison and Crawford counties. He is a retired assistant superintendent for the Ozark Public School System with 34 years of experience in education.
Last year, Gossage sponsored a bill, now a state law, containing Hutchinson’s proposal to require all public high schools in the state to offer computer-science classes.
Hutchinson said Gossage “shares my vision for our state.”
“As a former educator, he led the effort to help pass my landmark computer-science education bill because he understands what it takes for our students to compete in a 21st century workplace. I am confident Bill will do an outstanding job in this new role, just as he’s done for his constituents over the years,” Hutchinson said in the release from his office.
Gossage said, “I am honored to have the opportunity to work for Governor Hutchinson as he continues to move Arkansas forward with more high paying jobs, less taxes, and greater opportunities for all Arkansans.”
Beck will fill the position vacated by Alison Williams, who became Hutchinson’s chief of staff in May.
The director of state-federal relations is responsible for developing and recommending policies to maximize federal resources that will support the governor’s objectives for the state. The position is based in Washington, D.C.
Alisha Curtis, current director of operations and special projects and executive assistant to the chief of staff, will replace Beck as executive assistant to the governor. Davis said the salaries of Beck and Curtis have not yet been determined.