Arkansas Grocers & Retail Merchants Association
Charlie Spakes has been leading the Arkansas Grocers & Retail Merchants Association only a year or so, but he already has chalked up some notable legislative successes. Earlier this year, for example, he was instrumental in passing legislation that allows grocery stores in the state to sell a much larger selection of wine, despite major opposition from the liquor store industry.
Spakes, who has a law degree from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s Bowen School of Law, previously served on Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s staff and before that worked for the Arkansas Health Care Association, the nursing home lobbying group. He first developed an interest in politics and policy while working as a law clerk for former state Sen. Michael Lamoureux and wants to continue in that line.
“I think I will always stay in the political lobbying spectrum of Arkansas,” said Spakes, who’s from Beebe originally. “I like being able to advocate for businesses that end up helping consumers.”
Spakes works with the nonprofit Women & Children First, which helps victims of domestic abuse. “It reached all the spots for me as far as helping people in need, women that are abused mentally or physically. And it doesn’t just stop there. It also has a huge impact on the kids.”
He considers Lamoureux a mentor, and as far as words of wisdom, Spakes keeps his grandfather’s in mind: “Don’t ever work for free; work for freedom. Don’t believe in kings; believe in the kingdom.”
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