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in 2012, after my dad, Doug Curtis, vacated his justice of the peace seat and ran for the position of Saline County Clerk. I decided to run for the vacant seat on the quorum court. Many said I was too young, and an opponent had already announced he was running. At first I was discouraged, but after receiving sup- port from family and friends, I had to consider it. My wife and I had been married for only 18 months and knew how difficult it would be to run a campaign. So there I was running my first race. Now I am serving in my second term on the Saline County quorum court. Tis is a prime example of stepping out of your comfort zone and seizing an opportunity. Last December, Governor-elect Asa Hutchinson offered me a position in his administration. Tis decision was a bit easier to make. Who doesn’t want to work for the governor? I felt prepared for this opportunity because of my previous work in state govern- ment and my involvement in legislative sessions. Gov. Hutchin- son assigned me to his health care policy team. It was a little intimidating at first because I did not have much experience in this field. I did not feel prepared for this assignment. However, I quickly realized the relationships I had forged inside the Capitol were the foundation upon which I would succeed. Watching the AAC maneuver this past session was impressive. Te AAC’s lobbying efforts were great. When county officials came to the Capitol united, they were one of the most influential groups in the building. One legislator said, “Tese county offi- cials have a strong voice here at the Capitol.” Tere is a difference between a loud voice and a strong one, and legislators know that difference. Equip yourself with a strong voice and build a foun- dation. Talk with your representatives and senators frequently. Don’t pass up an opportunity to reach out and say thank you. Tey have thankless jobs. Use your relationships to be effective throughout the session. One session I became too passionate about a bill. I thought I had talked to all the right people and believed they were on my side, but you never truly know until the votes are counted. Un- fortunately the outcome was not in my favor, so I had to get my emotions back in check. Each day I kept working against that bill and in the end we reached a compromise and everyone left satis- fied. No one likes to lose. With that, I learned that if you are not successful with an issue, don’t take it personally. Move forward and look for a new opportunity. It is difficult not to take things personally when you are in heated debates on an important issue, but it’s a skill you should possess. Do not be content with where you are. Contentment will blind


you of an opportunity even if it’s at your doorstep. Former Ar- kansas Razorbacks Coach and Athletic Director Frank Broyles once said, “You are either moving forward or moving backwards. Tere is no such thing as standing still.” I was gearing up for the First Extraordinary Session of the 90th General Assembly when I received a call from AAC Executive Director Chris Villines. I


» » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » » Seizing opportunities

hat do you do when a great opportunity comes your way? Take it. At least, I just did. Te out- come may prove to be beneficial down the road. My first opportunity in county government was

went into his office expecting to talk about the upcoming special session, but he had other plans. When Chris offered me a position, I was hum- bled but knew I was going to have to make a difficult decision. It was an absolute honor working in Gov. Hutchinson’s administration, but I realized I would not be there forever. After much counsel and deliberation with my family and friends, I chose to accept the opportunity to join the AAC. I firmly believe this would not have happened if I had not been pre- pared and equipped. I was prepared through the work I had put in on the state level and my continued involvement in county government. I knew this would be the perfect fit for me to work with coun- ties and the state for the betterment of Arkansas. I followed the advice from Coach Broyles and continued moving forward. I recently attended an Arkansas Economic Development Com- mission meeting hosted by Saline County Economic Develop- ment. Te agenda was titled, “Team Meeting,” and the featured speaker was Arkansas Economic Development Commission Director Mike Preston. Mike commented on the “Team Meet- ing” theme, citing his time in Florida. Mike explained that cit- ies within Broward County fought over turf, meaning that Fort Lauderdale told businesses not to explore other cities within the county. Businesses do not want to hear that; they want to hear about the togetherness of the county with a welcoming attitude. Tis same rule applies to Arkansas, which is too small to have turf wars especially when it comes to county officials and their work at the Capitol. During the last session, the AAC laid the founda- tion, but when the team came to the capitol it sealed the deal. All counties will be successful if the overall team is successful. Un- derstand our slogan, “75 Counties. One Voice.” Let’s continue to be that united voice.

Josh Curtis

Governmental Affairs Director

Chris has assigned me to the collectors and the circuit clerks.

I’ll also be helping out on justice of the peace issues with Lindsey. I attended my first collectors’ meeting during my first week on the job. I was a little nervous until I met with Columbia County Collector Cindy Walker, president of the Collectors’ Association. She has helped me in many ways, and I look forward to working with her and all our collectors. One thing I recommend to elect- ed officials is to go around and visit different offices in your area. Pulaski County Collector/Treasurer Debra Buckner brought me into her office for a week to learn about all the interworking of a collector’s office. Her staff enjoys what they do and are always looking for ways to improve the services they provide. Another highlight so far is being able to spend a few days in Faulkner County with Circuit Clerk Rhonda Wharton. She runs an ef- ficient office with a highly trained staff. I know we have many outstanding county officials in this state, so I can’t wait to meet every one of you.


Governmental Affairs

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