Arkansas treasurer Mark Lowery dies day after retirement announcement at 66

By: - July 27, 2023 8:54 am
A man in a suit speaks to visitors.

Late Arkansas Treasurer Mark Lowery speaks to a group of visitors in the treasurer’s office at the Arkansas Capitol in January. (Arkansas Treasurer of State)

Arkansas Treasurer Mark Lowery died Wednesday morning, a day after his office announced that he would retire in September due to a pair of strokes that left him unable to continue working. He was 66.

Lowery, a Republican from Maumelle, has been heavily involved in Arkansas politics for the last three decades.

His start in politics came as chief of staff for then-Lt. Governor Mike Huckabee in the 1990s, and prior to his election as treasurer last year, Lowery served in the Arkansas House of Representatives from 2013-2023.

He also spent time working as a journalist, lobbyist and college instructor.

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Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders was among the many public officials to offer condolences and remembrances of Lowery on Wednesday.

“Mark was a lifelong public servant and a dedicated advocate for Arkansas’ children and families,” Sanders said in a statement. “To those who knew Mark, it was no surprise that he threw his hat into the ring and ran for the statehouse in 2012 – and it was even less of a surprise that in his decade-long tenure as a State Representative, he brought about several major reforms to Arkansas’ education system. In his run for State Treasurer last year, he promised to extend that record of public stewardship to Arkansas’ state finances.”

Sanders will be responsible for appointing the next treasurer, who under the Arkansas Constitution will serve until 2025. Sanders’ appointment will be replaced by a treasurer whom Arkansans elect next year to complete Lowery’s term.

Arkansas’ treasurer is the state’s banker, responsible for an investment portfolio of approximately $9 billion, according to the office’s website.

In the meantime, the office will continue to be run by Chief of Staff Stephen Bright and Deputy Treasurer Eric Munson.

Arkansas treasurer announces September retirement due to medical reasons

“We are devastated,” Bright said in a statement. “Losing Mark represents a huge loss for the entire staff. Mark was an incredible leader and a humble public servant and this was unexpected. It’s definitely going to take us time to process this. We ask that you keep Mark’s family in your thoughts and prayers during this time.”

Lowery had a stroke in March, requiring several weeks of rehabilitation in Arkansas, before continuing his recovery in Maryland with family, according to the treasurer’s office.

He returned to the treasurer’s office in early June, but suffered a more severe stroke last month.

The last Arkansas constitutional officer to die in office was former Lt. Gov. Win Rockefeller. Rockefeller, 57, died from a blood disorder.

Attorney General Tim Griffin said he was deeply saddened by Lowery’s death.

“Mark was a dedicated servant of Arkansas for 30 years as an elected official, journalist and educator,” Griffin said in a statement. “Mark fought for fairness in elections, and Arkansas is better because of his service.”

Lt. Gov. Leslie Rutledge offered her thoughts and prayers to Lowery’s family.

“Mark was a longtime public servant and dear friend,” she said in a statement. “I will miss seeing his smiling face and hearing his words of encouragement. We always enjoyed Mark’s good-natured company at political gatherings and Christmas receptions in our home. Arkansans have been blessed by his service to our great State.”

Arkansas Advocate is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Arkansas Advocate maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Sonny Albarado for questions: [email protected]. Follow Arkansas Advocate on Facebook and Twitter.

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