by Mark Carter
Posted 4/1/2013 12:00 am
State Sen. Michael Lamoureux is a member of the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Southern Legislative Conference and the American Legislative Exchange Council, where he is a member of the board of directors and on the Natural Resources Task Force.
Bio: Michael Lamoureux
Background: Michael Lamoureux is serving his second full term in the Arkansas Senate and his first term as its leader. He was elected to the Senate in a December 2009 special election. The Russellville Republican previously served three terms in the House, including one as House Minority Leader. Lamoureux took over the leadership role in the Senate for the 89th General Assembly after Republicans won majorities in both chambers. He represents Senate District 16, composed of Newton and Pope counties and parts of Boone, Carroll and Van Buren counties.
Personal: Lamoureux moved to Dover, just north of Russellville, from Springfield, Mo., when he was 5. He practices law in Russellville. He and his wife, Kristi, have one son and one daughter.
When you were first elected to the Legislature in 2003, did you dare envision that the GOP would gain majorities in both chambers by 2013? No.
What’s different about the 89th General Assembly with a Republican majority? Within the Senate, there is not much that is different. The major difference is who you deal with more often on the House end.
What’s it been like to work with a minority-party governor? I served four years with a governor from the minority party, Gov. Huckabee. I have a very good relationship with Gov. Beebe and our relationship has not changed from when his party held legislative majorities.
Issues related to abortion and guns have stolen headlines, but in your view what will be this session’s lasting legacy? I cannot answer until the regular session comes to an end. However, I can say the coverage of those issues is not reflective of the time we have spent on them.
What’s the state’s most pressing concern this session? Medicaid reform.
Has Arkansas turned red for the long haul in terms of local politics? Majorities are earned. It is yet to be determined who will earn them in the future.
What’s your philosophy on providing state incentives to attract such “super projects” as the proposed Big River Steel mill? My personal philosophy would be to oppose state incentives. However, if the state is going to attract a super project, we must compete with packages offered by other states. The question of whether it is a good investment is being debated. Finally, any time a state supports one project, there is the risk [that] it creates an uneven playing field. This risk must be balanced against the potential benefits of the project.
How do you think the state should handle Medicaid reform? I am supportive of some version of the private option of Medicaid reform. I am hopeful the public health committees can achieve a bipartisan agreement that will both provide coverage and reduce Medicaid rolls.
Would you be in favor of a special session devoted to Medicaid? I would prefer to avoid a special session on Medicaid.
What’s the current status of the tax cut package being considered in the legislature? I believe the Legislature will cut approximately $100 million in taxes. The specific allocation of tax cuts is currently being debated.
Any plans to run for higher office? I will not run for higher office.