Incoming Gov. Hutchinson selects ex-trade official Walther as new Arkansas finance director

Economic Indicators Associated Press

Incoming Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Friday appointed a former federal trade official who once headed Arkansas' economic development agency to be the state's next chief fiscal officer.

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Larry Walther takes over as head of the state Department of Finance and Administration from its longtime director, Richard Weiss, who is retiring.

Walther is a former member of the board of directors for the Export-Import Bank and had previously served as director of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency. Walter directed the Arkansas Department of Economic Development under former Gov. Mike Huckabee. Walther also worked for 30 years with SBC Communications, now AT&T.

"The breadth of experience Larry has gathered over the course of his career, along with his institutional knowledge of state government have prepared him for this new role, and I have no doubt he will represent our state and this department well," Hutchinson, a Republican, said in a statement.

Walter was among four new appointments Hutchinson announced as he prepares to take the state's top office. Hutchinson also announced that outgoing Republican Sen. Bruce Holland would be the state's new director of livestock and poultry. Holland lost his re-election bid in the May primary for his state Senate seat.

Hutchinson, who will be sworn in as Arkansas' 46th governor on Tuesday, named Jami Cook as the new director of the Arkansas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards. Cook has been the Arkansas State Police program director for the past decade.

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Hutchinson also announced that he planned to keep Joe Fox as state forester.