Longtime Pocahontas resident Linda Collins-Smith resigned her position on the Arkansas Ethics Commission on June 30, a post to which she was appointed in 2008 by former Senate President Pro Tem Jack Critcher, to run for State Representative in District 80.
Collins-Smith stated her reasons for the resignation. "I was so honored to have been appointed to serve on the Arkansas Ethics Commission. I regret that I have to resign the position, but legally I must to begin my run for state representative," said Collins-Smith. "I truly believe I will better serve my community and District 80 as state representative. I am committed to giving my all to this race and to the people of Sharp and Randolph Counties."
District 80 is currently represented by David Cook (D-Williford), who is term-limited and cannot seek re-election.
When asked why he chose Linda Collins-Smith as his appointment to the Ethics Commission, Critcher replied, "The appointment to the Ethics Commission is the most important one the Senate President makes. The role the commission plays in the Arkansas political process is vital in maintaining trust and confidence of the voters. It is crucial for the integrity of the commission that its members be beyond reproach. Linda was asked to serve on the commission because she possesses all the qualities necessary. She is intelligent, dedicated and totally committed to doing her absolute best in every thing she does."
"Linda has served with great distinction and has done an outstanding job as commissioner," the former President Pro Tem said.
When asked about Collins-Smith's decision to seek the state representative seat, Critcher added, "Considering her record of service, her accomplishments, her commitment and dedication, there is no doubt she will make an outstanding state representative. She will make the people of District 80 very proud."
Upon receiving her resignation, Graham Sloan, director of the Arkansas Ethics Commission made this statement: "On behalf of the Ethics Commission, I would like to thank Linda Collins-Smith for the considerable time and talent which she devoted during the course of her service. She made an excellent commissioner and certainly will be missed."
Linda Collins-Smith was born in Pocahontas and went to school at Williford. She is married to Philip Smith, Circuit Judge in the Third Judicial Circuit, which includes Randolph and Sharp counties. She has two adult children, Butch of Fayetteville and Heather, who lives with her husband, John Williams, and son at Camp Lejuene, N.C., where her husband is stationed with the Marine Corps.
Collins-Smith, who owns and operates the Days Inn and Suites at Pocahontas, has dedicated her time and energies over the last several years to increasing tourism in Randolph, Sharp and Lawrence counties. She serves on the boards of the Randolph County Tourism Association, Ozark Gateway Tourism Association and the Arkansas Hospitality Association. She is actively involved with the Randolph County Heritage Museum, the Eddie Mae Herron Center, Rock and Roll Highway 67 and historic downtown Pocahontas (which just recently received National Historic Commercial District status). "District 80 is my home," said Collins-Smith. "I want to do every possible thing in my power to improve our counties for the future of our families and our communities."
"We also must continue to put in place policies and infrastructure that are business- friendly," she said, "Whether they are seeking a location or are our existing businesses." She said workforce development also is important. "You develop a good workforce by a strong commitment to education, by giving people the training and skills they have to have to compete for jobs."
When asked why she decided to run for the District 80 state representative position, Collins-Smith answered with her trademark candor. "Because I am dedicated to making Sharp and Randolph counties even better."