AR Briefly

Commerce Department chief of staff tapped to be Arkansas’ next finance secretary

By: - August 7, 2023 2:13 pm

Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration building in Little Rock. (John Sykes/Arkansas Advocate)

Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Monday named Jim Hudson, who has been serving as chief of staff at the Arkansas Department of Commerce, her next finance secretary. 

Hudson will replace former Secretary of the Department of Finance and Administration Larry Walther, who last week was appointed interim state treasurer following the death of Treasurer Mark Lowery last month.

“What an honor it is for me to join Governor Sanders’s cabinet,” Hudson said in a statement. “She has assembled a great team, and I am excited to do my part to deliver on her vision to make state government lean and efficient and not a burden to our citizens. State Treasurer Larry Walther is a friend and a mentor, and he leaves big shoes to fill. I look forward to building on his great accomplishments at DFA.”

Jim Hudson (Arkansas Department of Commerce)

Hudson is an attorney and minister. Prior to the last four years at the Commerce Department and Arkansas Economic Development Commission, where he worked in several positions, Hudson was a pastor at Fellowship Bible Church in Little Rock. 

Before that, he worked as a staff attorney and in human resources for several private companies.

Hudson, a North Little Rock native, has a bachelor’s degree from Hendrix College, a law degree from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law, a master’s degree in leadership from John Brown University and a master of divinity from Southern Seminary in Louisville.

Hudson recently applied to be the next executive director of the Arkansas Teacher Retirement System, but he ultimately withdrew his application.

“Jim has devoted his career to serving the people and State of Arkansas,” Sanders said in a statement. “He has helped lead our state to record low unemployment and strong economic growth and has the experience we need to keep Arkansas’ finances strong. I’m honored that he has agreed to serve in my Cabinet and help us make Arkansas the best state in the country to live, work, and raise a family.”

The Department of Finance and Administration is a sprawling state agency. It handles individual and corporate income taxes, runs the state motor vehicle offices, enforces child support, oversees the state budget and regulates alcohol, medical marijuana, horse racing and casinos, among other duties.

Walther has led the agency since 2015.


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Hunter Field
Hunter Field

Hunter Field is a veteran Arkansas journalist whose reporting on the state has carried him from military air strips in northwest Arkansas to soybean fields in the Arkansas delta. Most recently, he was the Democrat-Gazette's projects editor, leading the newspaper's investigative team. A Memphis native, he enjoys smoking barbecue, kayaking and fishing in his free time.