LITTLE ROCK — A Republican state legislator from Northwest Arkansas said Wednesday he plans to run for state treasurer next year.
Rep. Duncan Baird of Lowell said he would focus on restoring trust to the office.
Former Treasurer Martha Shoffner resigned in May following her arrest on public corruption charges. She faces bribery and extortion counts in a federal indictment that accuses her of directing bond business to a broker in exchange for $36,000 in kickbacks. She has pleaded innocent and is scheduled for trial next year.
"As elected officials, the power and responsibility that we have comes from the citizens of the state. That public trust has been broken in the Treasurer’s office," Baird said in a statement Wednesday. "I want the people of Arkansas to be able to look at the treasurer’s office and have confidence that we’re working on behalf of them to do what’s best for the state."
The lawmaker said he has demonstrated commitment to government reform and has the professional experience necessary to lead the office.
Baird, 33, is in his third term in the state House and is prevented by term limits from seeking re-election. He is co-chairman of the legislative Joint Budget Committee, has worked as a licensed securities broker and holds a degree in finance and accounting from the University of Arkansas.
He helped draft and pass legislation that reformed legislative travel policies and put in place a cooling off period before a legislator could become a lobbyist. He was the House sponsor of a law that extended the lobbying cooling off period to constitutional officers, agency heads and government regulators.
Baird is the second Republican to announce plans to run for state treasurer. Dennis Milligan, a former chairman of the Republican Party of Arkansas and the current circuit clerk of Saline County, announced his intentions in December.
No Democrat has announced for the position.