Soon-to-be Rep. Tracy Steele has announced he'll lead the 15-member Legislative Black Caucus in the coming session.
Senator Tracy Steele of North Little Rock will be president of the Legislative Black Caucus during the 88th General Assembly.
Steele was elected Tuesday by the caucus. He has been a state senator since 2003 and will be a member of the House of Representatives when the regular session begins.
"It's an honor to be chosen by my colleagues, and it's an honor that comes with responsibility," Steele said.
"Having a vision and a sense of purpose is crucial for getting elected, but once you take the reins you had better be prepared to work long, hard hours," Steele said.
Senator Jack Crumbly of Widener will be vice president of the Black Caucus. There are 11 members in the House and four in the Senate.
Steele noted that the recent general election had ushered in a new era in legislative politics in Arkansas, with the Republicans making historic gains in the number of seats they hold. There will be 15 Republicans in the 35-member Senate and in the 100-member House there will be 44 and possibly 45.
"The balance of power is now more equal than it has been in my lifetime, or for that matter within anyone's lifetime," Steele said. "In that kind of political environment, the role of the Black Caucus will be critical. We can tip the scales in either direction, depending on what is best for the people of Arkansas."
"I'm encouraged by the unity, the focus and the commitment I see in the Black Caucus. We're all looking forward to a successful and productive session," Steele said.
Steele represents Senate District 34, which comprises parts of North Little Rock and Little Rock. In 2011 he will represent House District 39, which includes parts of North Little Rock.