For 12 years in his various powerful positions, former State Sen. Gilbert Baker was often a target of lobbyists at the State Capitol.
Now in his new job as Executive Assistant to the President of the University of Central Arkansas, Baker has joined the ranks of those registered as lobbyists.
On Monday UCA President Tom Courtway said Baker would officially register: “Out of an abundance of caution.”
“I do not intend for him to engage in day-to-day lobbying for UCA or on higher education matters. However, given that he served for 12 years in the Senate and is sought out from time-to-time to discuss legislative or budget matters with members, I do not want there to be a perception or concern on the part of any person that we are attempting to circumvent the registration requirement.”
As his time in the Senate ended — he was term-limited — Baker was third in seniority and chaired the Higher Education and Joint Budget Committees.
He made a lot of friends during those years.
“And interaction with those people will not change,” Baker said.
“Tom Courtway wanted there to be no question that what I’m doing is aboveboard,” Baker said.
Courtway said Baker’s focus and efforts as executive assistant to the president will continue to be community and external affairs and development efforts for UCA.
Baker joined UCA’s executive staff in January at a salary of $132,000, a position that had been budgeted but unfilled for a while.
Courtway said Baker’s duties will include work on special projects; university development and communications; community outreach throughout Arkansas; government relations on the federal, state and local levels; and other matters.
(Staff writer Becky Harris can be reached at email@example.com and 505-1234.)