Citizens for Equality
, a group working for a non-discrimination policy in the Bentonville School District
against pitched opposition by conservative church people, reports on Twitter that Walmart executive Joe Quinn
was chosen by the School Board early this morning to fill an open slot on the School Board.
Wendi Cheatham resigned in August with a year left on her term.
Quinn has been senior director of government affairs and public relations at Walmart since 2006 and ran unsuccessfully for the School Board in 2011. Little Rock residents might remember him as a Channel 11 newsman years ago and then a member of the Huckabee administration. He also made an unsuccessful race for Little Rock City Board during his time in the Capital.
Walmart employees have provided a lot of the push for a nondiscrimination policy in the district and Walmart also voiced opposition to discriminatory state legislation as bad for business. Whether that tips any inclinations on Quinn, I can't say. But he's smart, capable and engaged in the public schools. None of that can hurt. He and the other applicants also said they would run for the seat next year if chosen.
UPDATE: I'd sent Joe a note of congratulations last night and inquired for some idea of how he feels about the recent school controversy on non-discrimination. Here's what he said:
To your larger question, I was never more proud of Walmart than I was the day my company publicly said we would oppose the discrimination measure. It was a leadership position we took at tough moment, and people seemed to pay attention to the fact we were saying the measure would truly hurt Arkansas from both an economic and a social perspective.
The real issue here is growth. We just started the new school year with roughly 850 more students than we had last year. We basically grow an elementary school number of students every August. Keeping up with the numbers, and maintaining the quality at the same time, is the complex challenge as we look ahead.