Secretary of Arkansas Parks, Heritage and Tourism steps down after less than 6 months

Seal for Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism
Seal for Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism(WLBT)
Published: Jun. 4, 2023 at 11:34 AM CDT
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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — There’s new leadership in place at the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism after Mike Mills announced he was resigning after less than six months as secretary.

Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed Mills’ resignation on Friday, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported. He is the first secretary to leave Sanders’ administration since she took office in January.

No reason was given for his departure.

Sanders appointed Shea Lewis, currently the director of Arkansas State Parks, to serve as interim secretary of the department, citing “his strong record of leadership in Arkansas parks and tourism.”

“I thank Secretary Mills for his service to this administration and years of work as a pioneer in Arkansas’ tourism industry,” Sanders said in a news release.

She said Lewis would “continue our work to grow our outdoor economy and make Arkansas an unparalleled place to live, work, and raise a family.”

Lewis became director of Arkansas State Parks in 2022, overseeing 52 state parks spanning 55,000 acres, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported. He started his career with the agency as a seasonal park interpreter in 1995.

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