The Hempstead County Republican Party heard from two of the state's rising political stars during its monthly GOP dinner last Thursday in Hope. Also, speaking was local District 3 Representative Danny Watson, who provided a brief report on his activities since the session ended.

The Hempstead County Republican Party heard from two of the state’s rising political stars during its monthly GOP dinner last Thursday in Hope.  Also, speaking was local District 3 Representative Danny Watson, who provided a brief report on his activities since the session ended.
State Senator Trent Garner from El Dorado and District 68 State Representative Trevor Drown of Dover, who primarily serves Pope and Van Buren Counties, both delivered speeches, with Drown announcing his candidacy for Secretary of State.
Drown’s candidacy currently pits him against fellow Republican John Thurston, who is term limited as State Land Commissioner, and is also an announced candidate for Secretary of State.  Current Secretary of State Mark Martin is term-limited out in 2018.
Drown serves on the House State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee.  He also serves on the House Judiciary Committee and Joint Performance Review, and he ran unopposed for reelection in 2016.
Drown and Garner are both decorated military men, both having served as Green Berets, and Garner was a field representative for Tom Cotton prior to running for the State Senate.
Garner, who is also a law school graduate, touted tort reform during his speech Thursday night. Garner was a one-time law school classmate of Hope’s Blake Montgomery; the two graduated six months apart.
For Drown, it was already full campaign mode, still over a year out from the 2018 elections. Drown touted his experience in the legislature in dealing with elections and veterans as well as his time in private business and service in the military as his qualifications for the job.
“The Secretary of State’s office is one of the few offices that touches the lives of most Arkansans.  It oversees elections and redistricting, and it oversees business incorporations and commercial services,” Drown said.
Drown also spoke to a recent incident at the State Capital in which a man in a car drove over the Ten Commandments monument during a road rage. Drown said the Secretary of State’s office was also responsible for security at the Capital and 25 acres of state offices.
“I’ve served in the military in combat; I understand security and will implement appropriate measures to keep the Capital grounds safe,” he said.
Between him and Thurston, Drown said “I would say compare our resumes, our service, and our experience.”