by Max Brantley
Some are announcements are more notable than others. I'd put this one in that category.
State Rep. Duncan Baird of Lowell has announced for state treasurer. He holds a degree in finance and accounting. He's held a securities license. He's been co-chair of Joint Budget. But more than that, he has a reputation for squeaky cleanliness — one of the few long-time advocates, and practitioners, of a "Walmart rule" for legislators. Take no freebies from any lobbyists, in other words.
This is the office left in shambles for Democrats by Martha Shoffner's indictment on charges of using her office to make money off bond trading. She's resigned. No Democrat has emerged to attempt to pick up the pieces.
Baird's entry should spell trouble — on account of his education, legislative record and general demeanor — for Dennis Milligan, the Republican circuit clerk in Saline County, who's already announced for the position. Milligan, however, sent a mass mail to Republicans today again pitching his candidacy. He's in the race to stay. Check him out here. He says he looks forward to a "vigorous, spirited and clean" campaign.
Filing hasn't even begun. But if Democrats can field a candidate as strong or stronger than Baird, he or she will be a strong candidate indeed.
Lowell -— Representative Duncan Baird of Lowell announced today that he will be a candidate for State Treasurer in 2014. Baird said he has demonstrated a commitment to government reform as a legislator and has the professional experience necessary to lead the office. His campaign will focus on restoring public trust to the Treasurer’s office.
“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, “My primary focus as State Treasurer will be to restore trust to the office. 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.”
Baird serves as House Chairman of the Joint Budget Committee of the Arkansas General Assembly. He worked as a Series 7 licensed securities trader in the brokerage division of Arkansas’s largest bank and holds a degree in Finance and Accounting from the University of Arkansas.
“My degree in finance and accounting and my professional experience as a licensed securities trader have helped prepare me for this job,” Baird said, “Experience in the legislature, and the opportunity to be heavily involved in the budget process, will help me lead the office.”
Baird has been an advocate of government reform as a legislator. 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.
“I believe we should always be looking for ways to make state government more open, ethical, and accountable,” Baird said, “Reform has been important to me as a legislator, and it will be a priority for me in the Treasurer’s office.”
About Duncan Baird
Duncan Baird is in his third term in the Arkansas House of Representatives where he serves as House Chairman of the Joint Budget Committee. He began his career in the investments industry, working as a Series 7 licensed securities trader in the brokerage division of Arkansas’s largest bank. He holds a degree in Finance and Accounting from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. Baird lives with his wife Courtney in Northwest Arkansas, where they attend Cross Church in Rogers.