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Arkansas House elevates Rep. Shepherd to speakership ahead of schedule

Friday, June 22, 2018

State Rep. Matthew Shepherd (R-El Dorado) has been elected as the new speaker of the Arkansas House of Representatives.

House members met in a special caucus on Friday to select a speaker following the resignation of Speaker Jeremy Gillam. Gilliam resigned to take a position with the University of Central Arkansas.

The House voted by acclamation to name Shepherd as speaker for the remainder of the 91st General Assembly.

Shepherd is serving his fourth term in the Arkansas House of Representatives. He is from El Dorado and represents District 6. The district includes the western half of Union County, central and eastern Ouachita County, and a portion of Columbia County bordering the Louisiana line.

Shepherd was previously elected as Speaker-designate and expected to be confirmed as Speaker for the 92nd General Assembly which begins in January.

The legislature is not expected to go back into session for the remainder of the year. However, the speaker is in charge of overseeing all House management functions throughout the year.

During session, his or her duties include supervising and directing the daily order of business, recognizing members to speak, preserving order in the House, deciding all questions of order, certifying all measures passed, assigning committee leadership, and naming members to committees.

Speaker Gillam was the 5th person in Arkansas history to serve two terms as speaker.

Shepherd is a native of El Dorado. He is a graduate of El Dorado High School. He earned his bachelor's degree from Ouachita Baptist University and his law degree from the University of Arkansas School of Law.

He is an attorney, member of the Rotary Club of El Dorado, the Arkansas Bar Association, the Union County Bar Association, and the El Dorado Chamber of Commerce.

Rep. Shepherd and his wife, Alie, have three children.