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Joe Thompson To Leave Surgeon General Post; John Selig Asked to Stay at DHS

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Arkansas Surgeon General Joe Thompson said Tuesday he will not serve in the role under Gov.-elect Asa Hutchinson.

“I recently received a call from (Hutchinson), advising me that he will be making changes to the Surgeon General role and does not intend to appoint me to the position,” Thompson said in a statement.

Thompson, the state’s first surgeon general, served under Gov. Mike Huckabee and Gov. Mike Beebe.

“He’s done a great job, but we have to have a fresh look at all of this and I think a new surgeon general will help us to have that fresh look,” Hutchinson told reporters Tuesday.

Thompson said he will remain the director of the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement, a nonpartisan, independent health policy center founded in 1998.

“I will continue to advocate for strategies that address the health needs of all Arkansans and extend our support to the next administration,” he said. 

More: Asa Hutchinson Begins Bureaucrat Shuffle

Hutchinson said his decision on Thompson is not an indicator of his thoughts on the private option.

Also Tuesday, Hutchinson asked John Selig, director of the Department of Human Services, to stay on.

“I’m counting on him being there as we enter the legislative session,” Hutchinson said.

Hutchinson has been busy making staff changes and hires since winning the gubernatorial election Nov. 4 against Democratic candidate Mike Ross.

His first notable hire was former state Sen. Michael Lamoureux as chief of staff. This week, Hutchinson announced several other senior staff hires, including state Rep. Duncan Baird, R-Lowell, as budget director.

(The Associated Press contributed to this story.)

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