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Former Arkansas lawmaker joins Rep. Vance for legislative session

The legislative offices for Rep. Sarah Vance and Sen. Gary Stevens on Jan. 3, 2024. Vance hired former Arkansas state senator Bob Ballinger as a policy advisor for the upcoming legislative session.
Jamie Diep
/
KBBI
The legislative offices for Rep. Sarah Vance and Sen. Gary Stevens on Jan. 3, 2024. Vance hired former Arkansas state senator Bob Ballinger as a policy advisor for the upcoming legislative session.

Former Arkansas state senator Bob Ballinger will join Rep. Sarah Vance in Juneau for the upcoming legislative session.

Vance, who represents the House District 6, which covers the southern Kenai Peninsula from Kasilof down past Nanwalek, hired Ballinger in September as her policy advisor.

Ballinger is a seasoned attorney, having practiced law for more than 17 years, and that’s why Vance says she wants him on her team.

She spoke about wanting an attorney on her team at her December open house.

“Right now, finding an attorney in-state who was willing to work in the legislature is really hard to come by,” she said, “and I came across Bob, who is willing to come for the legislative session, and really do work that I needed him to do ahead of time to get prepared.”

Ballinger served on the Arkansas state senate for three years before losing his seat to current state senator Bryan King. Vance did not say how she found Ballinger, but they are both Republicans, as well as members of the National Association of Christian Lawmakers. Vance is the Alaska state chair as well as a vice chair of the organization’s National Legislative Council Leadership. Ballinger used to be the Arkansas state chair.

Theassociation’s website states its mission is to bring lawmakers together to support “clear biblical principles.” Issues they support include religious liberty, universal school choice, abolishing abortion, and limiting marriage to be between a man and woman.

Vance said, as a policy advisor, Ballinger would research bills and collaborate with state departments and stakeholders to look into its potential impact.

“There's a lot of work that is required for that, and so he's simply focused on doing those things,” she said, “and it’ll gives me the freedom to be able to focus on the needs of the district and prioritizing all of the other committee work.”

Vance will hold a town hall meeting in Homer this Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at Captain’s Coffee Roasting Company. She will update residents on different capital budget requests and legislative priorities before the upcoming state legislative session.

The 2024 legislative session begins on Jan. 16 in Juneau.

Jamie Diep is a reporter/host for KBBI from Portland, Oregon. They joined KBBI right after getting a degree in music and Anthropology from the University of Oregon. They’ve built a strong passion for public radio through their work with OPB in Portland and the Here I Stand Project in Taipei, Taiwan.Jamie covers everything related to Homer and the Kenai Peninsula, and they’re particularly interested in education and environmental reporting. You can reach them at jamie@kbbi.org to send story ideas.