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Former state GOP chairman to lead Arkansas Public Service Commission

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Former state GOP chairman to lead Arkansas Public Service Commission

Jan 17, 2023 | 3:45 pm ET
By Antoinette Grajeda
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Former state GOP chairman to lead Arkansas Public Service Commission
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Former Republican Party of Arkansas chairman Doyle Webb has been appointed to lead the Arkansas Public Service Commission. (Courtesy photo/Facebook)

Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders will appoint Doyle Webb to chair the Arkansas Public Service Commission. Webb served as chairman of the Republican Party of Arkansas from 2008 to 2020.

Webb’s appointment will expire Jan. 14, 2029, and he will replace Kimberly O’Guinn. As chair, he replaces Katie Anderson, who will continue to serve on the APSC. 

The Public Service Commission  regulates rates and services of public utilities like electricity, water and telephone services. Through its tax division, the commission determines assessments for property tax purposes on public utilities and carriers, including telecommunications providers, gas and water utilities, airlines and cable television providers, according to the commission’s website.

Anderson, an administrative judge for the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission, became APSC chair on Oct. 2. She was appointed by former Gov. Asa Hutchinson to replace chairman Ted Thomas, who resigned last year.

Appointed to the commission by Hutchinson in 2015, Thomas announced his resignation in September amid clashes with some of the state’s largest electric utilities over the implementation of solar power. Thomas had publicly expressed frustration with the utilities’ embrace of alternative energy sources, but insisted he was not forced or asked to resign.

The Public Service Commission’s new chairman worked as an attorney for the Arkansas Department of Labor and ran his own law firm in Benton for 25 years. His wife is Arkansas Supreme Court Justice Barbara Webb. 

Her sister is Becky Keogh, who served as Arkansas Department of Energy and Environment Secretary under Hutchinson. Keogh was replaced by Sanders’ nominee, Shane Khoury.

Doyle Webb also ran unsuccessfully last year for the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor. 

Webb was elected in 1994 to the Arkansas Senate where he co-chaired the Joint Committee on Energy. Near the end of his second term in the Senate, he was appointed chief of staff by Lt. Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller, where he served from April 2002 to January 2007.

Sanders also announced on Tuesday that she will appoint Michael Mayton to the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission. Mayton’s appointment will expire Dec. 31, 2027, and he will replace Christopher Palmer.

AWCC is a three-member commission responsible for the administration of workers’ compensation laws. One commissioner represents labor interests and another represents management. The chairman represents the public by acting as a neutral party, according to the commission’s website.

Responsibilities of the commission include monitoring all claims and benefit payments, processing settlements, ensuring employers maintain required insurance coverage and approving employers’ applications to act as self-insurers.

A native of Hope, Mayton has practiced law for 46 years, focusing on the defense of workers’ compensation in Arkansas for the last three decades. He has served twice as Special Chief Justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court. 

In a press release, the governor said Mayton and Webb are “two respected, qualified leaders whose service will benefit every hardworking Arkansan.” 

“Michael is a top-notch attorney who has decades of experience successfully handling workers’ compensation cases, and Doyle has been an accomplished public servant, having spent his career working to improve the lives of Arkansans,” Sanders said. “I am pleased that both of them have agreed to take on these critical positions to help make Arkansas the best place to live, work and raise a family.”