Gov. 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 on Monday.

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

Charlie Spakes, Arkansas Grocers and Retail Merchants Association

Montine McNulty, Arkansas Hospitality Association

Kelly Eichler, Indoor Recreational Facilities

Annemarie Jazic, Dillard’s Inc.

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

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