LITTLE ROCK — A Republican state representative from Russellville said Wednesday he will run for secretary of state next year.
Rep. Trevor Drown said he will seek the office now held by Mark Martin, who is barred by term limits from seeking re-election to a third term.
State Land Commissioner John Thurston has also said he will seek the Republican nomination for the office. Anthony Bland of Little Rock has said he will run for the office as a Democrat.
Drown was first elected to the state House of Representatives in 2014 and re-elected in 2016. He represents District 68, which includes parts of Pope and Van Buren counties.
He retired from United Parcel Service in 2016 after a 27-year career. He also is a U.S. Army Green Beret who has served in special forces operations in Afghanistan and South Sudan.
Drown maintains reserve status with the Army National Guard, where he continues his military service as a master sergeant with the 2nd Battalion, 20th Special Forces Training Detachment. His decorations include the Bronze Star for Service and the Army Commendation Medal for Valor.
“My entire career has been centered around organization, logistics and budgeting,” Drown said in a news release. “I want to use that experience in the secretary of state position to help save tax dollars, ensure fair elections and to make it easy to conduct business in Arkansas.”
Drown said that if he elected, he would take a nonpartisan approach to redistricting. The secretary of state is one of three officials, along with the governor and the attorney general, responsible for redrawing state legislative districts every 10 years in response to population shifts.
“Many voters are losing faith in our political system due in large part because of political gerrymandering. I believe it should be done in a consistent and uniform manner that considers geography and regional input first,” Drown said.
Drown also said his experiences as a Green Beret would serve him well in overseeing the security of the Capitol grounds, another responsibility of the secretary of state. He said that if elected he would work closely with the Capitol Police to enhance the current security protocol.
“Every day our Capitol has visitors from around the state, nation and world. With all the unfortunate acts of violence and terrorism happening today, Arkansans need to know they can visit the Capitol without fear of attack,” he said.
Drown also said he would use his military experience to expand a veteran’s outreach program within the office to “ensure veterans have another avenue for obtaining answers to questions about our state’s government and the many programs available to them.”
Drown and his wife of 17 years, Kara, have two children, Ayden, 16, and Ella, 8.