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For Immediate Release 04.18.2020

Governor Hutchinson Announces New Economic Recovery Task Force

Names business leader and philanthropist Steuart L. Walton chairman

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson has created the Governor’s Economic Recovery Task Force to develop an industry-specific strategy and make recommendations to the Governor for Arkansas’s economic recovery from the effects of COVID-19, the Governor announced at a news conference today.

The task force, established by Executive Order 20-20, will include 27 leaders from the private sector and public agencies who will examine the impact of COVID-19 on businesses and industries in the state. The task force will recommend a strategy to the Governor for our economy to shift out of low gear consistent with public-health guidance.

On Friday, Governor Hutchinson set May 4 as the date he hopes to begin to ease restrictions in Arkansas. The task force will meet next week.

Steuart L. Walton, a business leader and philanthropist who holds degrees in business administration and law, will chair the committee.

“Steuart’s Arkansas roots run deep, and he knows and loves the state,” Governor Hutchinson said. “Steuart is engaged in the hospitality, manufacturing, and retail industries. He understands the needs of small business. He is engaged in philanthropy across Arkansas. He is the perfect choice to lead this task force to help restore our economy.”

Members of the Governor’s Economic Recovery Task Force are:

  • Steuart Walton, Runway Group (Chair)
  • Wes Ward, Department of Agriculture
  • Mike Preston, Department of Commerce
  • Stacy Hurst, Department of Parks, Heritage, and Tourism
  • Ted Thomas, Public Service Commission
  • Randy Zook, Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce
  • Sylvester Smith, National Federation of Independent Business
  • Joey Dean, Associated General Contractors of Arkansas
  • Annemarie Jazic, Dillard’s Inc.
  • Charlie Spakes, Arkansas Grocers and Retail Merchants Association
  • Montine McNulty, Arkansas Hospitality Association
  • Kelly Eichler, Indoor Recreational Facilities
  • Deke Whitbeck, Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation
  • Lance Taylor, Arkansas Activities Association
  • Hunter Yurachek, University of Arkansas
  • Shannon Newton, Arkansas Trucking Association
  • Charles Frazier, Rock Region METRO
  • Lorrie Trogden, Arkansas Bankers Association
  • Dr. Sonny Tucker, Arkansas Southern Baptist Convention
  • Bishop Gary Mueller, Arkansas Conference of United Methodists
  • Bishop Michael Mitchell, African Methodist Episcopal Church 12th District
  • Dr. Richard Abernathy, Arkansas Association of Educational Administrators
  • Andy Goodman, Arkansas Independent Colleges and Universities
  • Andrea Henderson, Arkansas Association of Community Colleges
  • Dr. Chuck Welch, Arkansas State University System
  • David Wroten, Arkansas Medical Society
  • Bo Ryall, Arkansas Hospital Association

Read Executive Order 20-20 HERE.

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If you are not a member of the media and have questions or concerns about COVID-19, you can contact the Arkansas Department of Health at 1-800-803-7847 or visit

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