Arkansas treasurer announces September retirement due to medical reasons
Arkansas State Capitol (Dwain Hebda/Arkansas Advocate)
Arkansas Treasurer Mark Lowery, who has suffered two strokes this year, will retire on Sept. 30, his office announced Tuesday.
Chief of Staff Stephen Bright and Deputy Treasurer Eric Munson will continue to run the state treasury until Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders appoints a replacement.
Under the Arkansas Constitution, the appointee will serve until after voters can elect a new treasurer in the 2024 General Election to serve the remainder of Lowery’s term. The winner of that election would take office in January 2025.
After launching a bid for secretary of state in June 2021, Lowery switched to the treasurer’s race in January 2022. He was elected to the office last November and sworn in on Jan. 10. The Republican from Maumelle previously served in the Arkansas House of Representatives from 2013 to 2023.
“Mark has spent his career striving for a better future for Arkansas,” former House Speaker Jeremy Gillam said in a statement. “He has served our state in many capacities over the years, and it was an honor to serve alongside my friend in the House of Representatives. The Capitol won’t be the same without him around.”
Lowery, 66, experienced a stroke in March and another in June. Following the initial stroke, Lowery spent several weeks in medical rehabilitation in Arkansas, before continuing his recovery in Maryland with family, according to a press release from the treasurer’s office.
Lowery returned to Arkansas and the treasurer’s office in early June. He suffered a second, more severe stroke in mid-June, “leading him and his family to the difficult decision to announce his retirement to allow him to focus on his health,” according to a press release.
“It was the joy of his life traveling across Arkansas and building lasting relationships with constituents throughout the state,” Lowery’s family said in a statement. “Every moment of every day he lived his dream by serving others and fighting for Arkansans.”
Lowery knew his staff was his greatest asset, Bright said, and he loved them for always having his back. Staff members stepped up as soon as Lowery went into the hospital and haven’t missed a beat, he said.
“Treasurer Lowery has been a dedicated public servant and has had a successful political and professional career that spans over 30 years,” Bright said. “We are incredibly sad to see him retire, and his leadership will be missed.”
Lowery began his public service career as the chief of staff for then-Lt. Governor Mike Huckabee in the mid-1990s. He received a master’s degree in communications from the University of Arkansas in 2000.
Lowery worked as editor of the Maumelle Monitor and The Sherwood Voice, a lobbyist, and executive director for the Arkansas Chapter of the National Association of Financial Advisors, according to a press release. He also taught communications at the University of Central Arkansas and Henderson State University.
During his tenure in the Arkansas House, Lowery was lead sponsor of a 2017 voter ID law. He also supported homeschool legislation, including a law that allows homeschool and private school students to enroll in an academic course within a public school district, and a law affirming Arkansas’ support for joint child custody.
The Arkansas Ethics Commission fined Lowery multiple times for failing to file campaign finance reports over the years, according to the Arkansas Times.
Lowery has twice filed for bankruptcy and was sued by the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration over about $1,300 in unpaid individual income taxes in 2016 and 2017. Lowery said that case, which was resolved in 2020, was due to incomplete information on his mortgage deduction, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.
The Treasurer of State serves as Arkansas’ banker and is responsible for an investment portfolio of approximately $9 billion, according to the treasurer office’s website.
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