Sen. Eddie Joe Williams
of Cabot said he'd been offered a position on the Southern States Energy Board
by Donald Trump
and, when sworn in, will resign from the state Senate.
He said he expected that to happen in 30 to 45 days. The position is a full-time paid job.
Williams is in the middle of a four-year term. A special election would have to be called to complete his Senate term, but perhaps could be done concurrently with the May primaries. Two years ago, he easily beat a Republican primary opponent who ran from the right against Williams' support for the private option Medicaid expansion.
In a prepared release, he said he'd miss the Senate but looked forward to working on national energy policy. His work in the legislature included efforts to help industry battling stronger rules on carbon dioxide emissions. He regularly carried legislation and constitutional amendments, notably a proposal to limit damage lawsuits, for the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce.
He worked for 40 years for Union Pacific Railroad, including as a regional director of transportation.
Since becoming a senator, Williams has benefitted from a consulting firm, Complete Consulting, which he reported produced at least $12,500 in income for him in 2016 and 2015. The nature of his consulting work is not disclosed on the form.
The Energy Board is a nonprofit interstate compact created in 1960. It covers 16 states, Puerto Rico and the Virginis Islands and is meant to work on economic development through innovations in energy and environmental policies and technology, according to its website. Each state is represented by a governor and legislator, but the board also includes a non-voting member appointed by the president, the position which Williams is to take.