FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Stephanie Matthews
ANNOUNCING OPEN PRIMARIES ARKANSAS COMMITTEE MEMBERS
A Cross-Partisan Team of Local Leaders Join Over 100,000 Voters for More Choice, More Voice, and Better Elections that Save Money
LITTLE ROCK (July 21, 2020) – Open Primaries Arkansas is a cross-partisan coalition that has introduced a ballot measure for November’s election with a simple solution: Open up primaries to all voters regardless of party and ensure that winning candidates earn support from a majority of the voters.
On July 6, we turned in over 94,000 signatures from Arkansas voters who want to see this measure on the ballot on November 3. In the past two weeks, thousands more have joined the cause for fair and open primaries in Arkansas.
Why did they join us? Because Arkansas is a proudly independent state, but our choices are limited by an outdated system. It’s time to change that.
Today, we are honored to announce 10 names — local leaders from business, community development, and government —who will lead this accelerating effort to create more choice and more voice in our state while saving taxpayers’ money:
Davy Carter is a former member of the Arkansas House of Representatives, representing District 43 from 2009 to 2015. He served as Speaker of the House from 2013 to 2014.
Steve Clark is the Founder and CEO of Propak, Inc. Since graduating from the University of Arkansas, Clark has made a name for himself in the business world as an entrepreneur for social change. In addition to Propak, Clark has ventures in construction, technologies and economic development. He dedicates his time to entrepreneurship in education and the arts as Founder and Board Chair of Future School of Fort Smith, the first tuition-free, public charter high school centered on a personalized and hands-on approach to learning via student designed learning plans. He also is the Founder of The Unexpected, the award-winning contemporary art program in Fort Smith recognized by the Governor for Community Tourism Development and Community Arts Development.
Representative Dan Douglas
Chair of the Open Primaries Arkansas Ballot Question Committee, Representative Dan Douglas is a cattle farmer from Bentonville, AR. He is a member of the Arkansas House of Representatives and has served District 91 since 2013. He serves as Chairman of the House Agriculture, Forestry and Economic Development Committee and also serves on the House Revenue and Taxation Committee and the Arkansas Legislative Council. Prior to his tenure in the House of Representatives, he served as a J.P. in Benton County for four years. Representative Douglas was the past president of the Benton County Farm Bureau in addition to serving on the board of directors for the Illinois River Watershed Partnership. He is a proud graduate of the University of Arkansas.
Susan Inman was Director of Elections for a former Arkansas Secretary of State, former member of the Arkansas State Board of Election Commissioners, founder and first president of the Arkansas County Election Commissions Association. She has volunteered with the US Department of State as an international election observer, observing over a dozen elections in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and the Caucasus.
In 2004, Inman was awarded Public Servant of the Year by the Arkansas Disability Coalition. She was named Gressie Cranes Democratic Woman of the Year in 2017 and was awarded the 2019-2020 Peer Champion Award by Community of Champions.
Miguel Lopez has a strong track record in community development which has led him to serve on several boards: Just Communities of Arkansas, Harmony Health Clinic, Museum of Discovery, Pulaski County Imagination Library, The Arkansas Repertory Theatre, UA Little Rock Alumni Association and Goodwill Industries of Arkansas. Lopez received both his bachelor’s and his master’s degrees from the University of Arkansas Little Rock.
Mike Malone has worked throughout his career to bring solutions to regional infrastructure, economic development and education challenges facing Northwest Arkansas. He’s currently serving as Vice President for Corporate and Community Affairs for the Runway Group. Prior to his current role, Mr. Malone served for more than a decade as President and CEO of the Northwest Arkansas Council, one of the region’s most influential nonprofit organizations.
Malone also served as a Member of the Arkansas Lottery Commission from 2009-2013 and numerous other state and local boards including the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation’s Board of Directors, NWACC Foundation’s Board of Directors, the Arkansas Capital Corporation’s Board of Directors, Accelerate Arkansas’ Executive Committee, the Fayetteville Public Library’s Board of Trustees, the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors, and the Board of Trustees of Hendrix College, his alma mater.
Archie Schaffer, III
Archie Schaffer, III, is a native Arkansan who was born in Fort Smith and raised in Charleston, Arkansas. Schaffer is a graduate of the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville and worked for Tyson Foods, Inc. of Springdale for over 21 years, most recently as Executive Vice President, Corporate Affairs. Since 2012, Schaffer has served as a consultant for Tyson Foods, Inc. and continues to serve on the board of directors of a number of civic and philanthropic organizations, including the UA Agricultural Development Council, the Northwest Arkansas Council, the board of the Jones Trust and the Jones Center for Families in NWA. He also serves as the Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History at the University of Arkansas.
Mimi San Pedro
Mimi San Pedro is the Chief Strategy Officer for the Venture Center. She has over 30 years of experience across entrepreneurship, information technology, and strategic marketing industries. She served as the Chief Marketing Officer for NLC Products and Hortus, Ltd as well as executive leadership roles at Acxiom and ContourMed. She also does work with the UALR College of Business, Arkansas Cinema Society, Heifer International and many more non-profit organizations. She is a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
Sam Sicard is the CEO for First National Bank in Fort Smith. After graduating from the University of Arkansas, Sicard rose through the ranks at First National Bank until being named president and CEO of the bank and its holding company in 2011. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Fort Smith Boys and Girls Club. In 2013, Sicard was appointed by Governor Mike Beebe to the Vision 2025 Legislative Commission on the Future of Higher Education.
Emma Willis currently acts as Senior Strategist for Mangan Holcomb Partners/TeamSI and is responsible for providing strategic planning and counsel to ensure that clients in the government, financial and other sectors benefit from advancements in strategic data-driven marketing to meet their growth objectives.
Before joining MHP/Team SI, Emma was with the Arkansas State Treasurer since 2009, starting as Marketing Director and in 2016 named Executive Director of 529 Plans and Financial Literacy.
Willis currently serves her second term on the Rogers-Lowell Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and as Chairman of the Chamber’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Junior Achievement of
Northwest Arkansas, College Savings Foundation Board of Directors, and Arkansas Association of Black Professionals.
To learn more about Open Primaries Arkansas, visit www.OpenPrimariesArkansas.org.