To nobody’s surprise, Arkansas State University today hired Shane Broadway as its lobbyist, or vice president for governmental relations. He’ll be paid $185,000.

The position had been advertised and several had applied, but all expected ASU System President Charles L. Welch to choose Broadway, director of the Department of Higher Education and a 1994 graduate of ASU. He succeeds the retiring Robert Evans.


Broadway is a popular former legislator who lost a race for lieutenant governor in 2012. Asa Hutchinson, the governor-elect, had publicly said he’d told Broadway he’d be happy to have him stay on at Higher Ed, rare among gubernatorial appointees.

My own suspicion is that Welch was inclined to hire Broadway all along, that Hutchinson knew this and it was easy for the future governor to appear magnanimous and bipartisan with that development likely. I was told to look for Broadway to get the job more than a month ago. Seemed like a natural to me then and now. He’s done a good job at Higher Education, though it wasn’t so long ago that Republicans were complaining about his qualifications. The law had to be changed to eliminate a required doctoral degree for the post so that Broadway could hold it on a permanent, rather than interim, basis.


The ASU release:

ASU System President Appoints Shane Broadway as Vice President for Governmental Relations


LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas State University System President Dr. Charles L. Welch today announced the appointment of Shane Broadway, director of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education and a 1994 A-State alumnus, as vice president for governmental relations.

Broadway, a former Speaker of the Arkansas House of Representatives and State Senator, has served as director of ADHE and a member of Gov. Mike Beebe’s cabinet since February 2011. His starting date has not been determined, but he is expected to continue in his current role through the Jan. 30 meeting of the Higher Education Coordinating Board. He succeeds Robert Evans, who is retiring after 16 years of service.

“Shane brings to us an ideal blend of experience as a former legislator who is very knowledgeable about higher education and the processes of state government,” Welch said. “He is also an alumnus and former student body president at Arkansas State, so he has a great love for his alma mater and shares our vision for growth and service to students. I have been particularly impressed by his ability to work in a nonpartisan manner at the State Capitol.

Welch said he and Broadway notified Gov.-elect Asa Hutchinson of the decision.


“We appreciate Governor-Elect Hutchinson’s understanding of Shane’s desire to serve his alma mater in this capacity,” Welch said. “We will all work closely with the Hutchinson administration to help ensure a smooth transition at ADHE and to continue efforts toward increasing the number of college graduates and enhancing workforce training in Arkansas.

Broadway, a resident of Bryant, joined ADHE as deputy director in January 2011, and Gov. Beebe appointed him as interim director the following month. He was name director in October 2013.

“For almost four years I have had the honor to serve at the Department of Higher Education, our colleges and universities, and members of the Higher Education Coordinating Board,” said Broadway, who also serves on the Governor’s Workforce Cabinet. “We have dedicated ourselves to work in a nonpartisan way to collaborate with stakeholders around Arkansas to increase opportunities and to improve outcomes for students. Now I look forward to taking my experience and relationships from all levels of government to the ASU System. I’m grateful for the opportunity Dr. Welch is giving me.

“As an alumnus, it’s an honor to return to the place that gave me my opportunity for a higher education,” Broadway added. “This opportunity will allow me to give back and make a difference in the lives of others like me who will pass through the doors of the ASU System campuses.”

Broadway was a member of the Senate from 2003-2010 and served on the Senate Education Committee and the Higher Education Oversight Committee. He served in the House from 1997-2002 and was a member of the Education Committee and chairman of the Southern Legislative Conference Education Committee. In 2001, he became the youngest Speaker of the House in Arkansas history and the youngest Speaker of the House in the U.S. at the time.

He was co-coordinator of economic development for the Saline County Development Corporation from 2006-2010. He is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council for the College of Arts and Sciences at A-State; chairman of the Saline County Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors; vice president for education for the Economics Arkansas Board; and member of the Miss Arkansas Scholarship Foundation Board.

His recognition at Arkansas State includes the R.E. Lee Wilson Award, the highest honor given to graduating seniors, in 1994 and the first Distinguished Service Award in the Department of Political Science.

The ASU System serves 20,800 students throughout Arkansas and includes Arkansas State University, a four-year research institution in Jonesboro; ASU-Beebe, with additional campuses in Heber Springs and Searcy; ASU-Newport, with additional campuses in Jonesboro and Marked Tree; ASU-Mountain Home; and instructional sites in Paragould and at the Little Rock Air Force Base.