by Max Brantley
The Butler Center for Arkansas Studies in the Central Arkansas Library System has created a fellowship to honor the memory of Mahlon Martin, the former Little Rock city manager, state finance director under Bill Clinton and leader of the Rockefeller Foundation. First recipient of fellowship support for research and programs on public policy is Betsey Wright, former gubernatorial chief of staff under Clinton. Library Director Bobby Roberts was a Clinton aide in the same era.
PS — I should have added when I wrote this originally on Wednesday that this is just a small stipend in addition to the salary she's received since last summer to work organizing the Clinton papers at the library. The Democrat-Gazette made much of this hiring in the Thursday newspaper in the context of her misdemeanor plea bargain on a charge that she tried to take contraband onto Death Row, but her work at the library has been publicly known for months, as was Library Director Bobby Roberts' effort to help raise money to pay for Wright's legal defense in the case.
LIBRARY NEWS RELEASE
The Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, a department of the Central Arkansas Library System, has created a new fellowship in memory of Mahlon A. Martin, former Little Rock city manager, state finance director, and Rockefeller Foundation executive director. The Mahlon Martin Fellowship will support research and programming on public policy in Arkansas and will be funded through gifts in memory of Mahlon Martin, along with endowments.
Betsey Wright has been chosen as the first Mahlon Martin Fellow. Wright spent thirteen years working for then-Governor Bill Clinton as his chief of staff, campaign manager, and deputy chairman of his 1992 campaign for president. Wright and Martin worked closely during her time as chief of staff to Gov. Clinton while Martin was Director of the Department of Finance and Administration. In the 1970s, she founded and served as executive director of the National Women's Education Fund, a Washington-based organization that promoted women's political participation and trained women candidates across the country. She also served as a fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and as a lobbyist in Washington DC.
Wright says, "Mahlon Martin had the most extraordinary managerial and people skills of anyone I have ever worked with. I constantly sought his guidance, and I learned a lot about policy and government from him."