Milligan says Saline County voters deserve a choice
Back when he was chairman of the Republican Party of Arkansas, Dennis Milligan encouraged fellow conservatives to run for local offices.
Such a strategy, he said, would both bring change to city and county offices that have long been held exclusively by Democrats and create a “farm system” through which talented Republicans could launch campaigns for state and national offices. It should come as no surprise, then, that Milligan is challenging Democrat incumbent Doug Kidd for the position of Saline County circuit clerk.
Kidd, a former state representative, has held the circuit clerk’s office since 2001. Milligan said Kidd has been unopposed in his reelection bids and said the time has come for that to change.
“The American system works best when there’s a choice,” he said during an interview at the Saline County Republican Headquarters in Benton on Saturday. Milligan added that competition leads to better, more efficient government.
He said that kind of competition could have prevented a recent controversy in Saline County — Kidd hired former Saline County Prosecutor Danny Harmon to work in his office.
For those who have forgotten about Harmon, he spent eight years in prison for racketeering and drug-related offenses. Considering how Harmon was virtually running his racketeering scheme out of the Saline County Prosecutor’s office, Kidd should have expected the resulting outrage from Saline County residents when they learned a convicted felon was working part-time in the Circuit Clerk’s office.
Milligan said he objects to letting Harmon have access to certain sensitive records that float through the Circuit Clerk’s office. Milligan said Kidd pointed out that his decision to hire Harmon was based, in part, on a desire to rehabilitate the former prosecutor.
Rehabilitation is all well and good, Milligan said, but he has a problem with doing with public money when there are more deserving people in Saline County who are in need of a job.
“My thoughts on this are there are a lot of single moms that needed jobs and a lot of contributors to society that needed jobs more than Dan Harmon,” Milligan said.
Also, Milligan said Kidd’s lack of competition means the Circuit Clerk’s office is inefficient and behind the times. For example, attorneys in Saline County are unable to file pleadings by fax — a standard practice in some courts that saves lawyers and their clients time and money.
Milligan said he will allow for certain documents to be filed by fax and will also see to it that some documents are put on the Internet so they can be searched by the public. He said he will also consider implementing the suggestions in Arkansas Supreme Court Administrative Order 21. Under that order, the Supreme Court suggests — but does not command — courts in Arkansas to join a statewide system through which attorneys can file pleadings electronically.
Milligan said he’ll have to research the requirements of implementing electronic filing and see if it’s cost effective to put such a system in place in Saline County. He added, however, that he’s “150 percent” for measures that make life easier for people who file documents in the Circuit Clerk’s office and save the taxpayers’ money.
Milligan said he campaign is a bit unusual in that he has pledged to give 20 percent of his salary back to the county. He said that could amount to $10,000 to $15,000 per year that will go to charities such as the Human Society, Boys and Girls Clubs in the area and senior centers. As proof that he’s making good on his promise, Milligan said he’ll report his contributions to the Saline Courier as proof that he’s made good on his pledge.
Milligan said his biggest challenge is getting the public interested in his election between now and November. However, Milligan believes outrage over the employment of Dan Harmon, the promise to make the Circuit Clerk’s office more efficient and easier for the public to access and his pledge to donate part of his salary to charities in the county will focus attention on his race.
Milligan, a Bryant businessman, was chairman of the Republican Party of Arkansas from 2007-2008. Before that, he served as treasurer of Republican Party of Arkansas and chairman of the Saline County Republican Party.
He was a Saline County Constable from 2006-2007. For the last five years, Milligan has been a volunteer for the Saline county Sheriff’s Office as certified domestic violence deputy.
Milligan is a supporter of Saline County Humane Society and a member of the Church at Rock Creek.
He has been married to the former Tina Summers for 33 years. They have one grown daughter, Tiffany, who is an attorney.
You can visit Milligan’s campaign site on the Internet by pointing your browser to Milligan4Clerk.com.
Benton resident. Rogue journalist. Recovering attorney. Email = Ethan@FirstArkansasNews.net.