Collins Enters Race for Lieutenant Governor

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State Rep. Charlie Collins, R-Fayetteville, said Wednesday (Aug. 14) he is running for lieutenant governor in the 2014 election.

Collins, a Naval Academy graduate and co-owner of Crown Partners Executive Search, said his top priority is to turn Arkansas into “a good jobs magnet.”

“I can best do that as lieutenant governor, with a statewide role in the executive branch,” the two-term legislator said in a prepared statement. “I proposed in my 2010 campaign that we reduce Arkansas’ income tax rates to make us more competitive for good jobs. I’ve also advocated for and worked on other conservative policies to help turn our state into a good jobs magnet.”

In the 2013 legislative session, as chairman of the House Revenue and Taxation Committee, Collins helped orchestrate a tax cut package of $140 million by 2016, including a measure he sponsored to reduce the state income tax in all tax brackets by one-tenth of 1 percent by 2015.

Collins also sponsored a bill that became law allowing licensed college and university faculty and staff to carry concealed handguns unless the board that governs their campus opts out.

Among other priorities if elected lieutenant governor, Collins said he wants to “lessen frivolous litigation, reduce wasteful regulation, and improve innovation to kick start good job creation.”

As an executive at Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati, Collins was transferred to Northwest Arkansas in 1996 as part of the Procter & Gamble Wal-Mart Global Customer Team. He worked for other corporations in the area that conduct business with the Wal-Mart home office before starting an executive search firm eight years ago. He and his wife, Leeann, have four children.

Collins had previously said he was thinking of running lieutenant governor, pending a decision by a fellow Republican, Lt. Gov. Mark Darr, whether to run for Congress.

On Monday (Aug. 12), Darr, who recently moved from Springdale to Mansfield in Scott County, announced he is vying for the 4th Congressional District seat being vacated by first-term U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Ark.

Cotton declared last week he is running to unseat U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark.

Among other potential lieutenant governor candidates are Conrad Reynolds, a former Army colonel and unsuccessful U.S. Senate candidate, and state Rep. Andy Mayberry, R-Hensley.

The primary election is set for May 2014, with the winners from each party advancing to the November 2014 general election.

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