Wednesday, May 27, 2009

TOP STORY >> O’Brien is entering state race

Leader senior staff writer

Having cleaned up Pulaski County’s storied election mess and made his office one of the most computer-accessible in the state, Pulaski County Circuit/County Clerk Pat O’Brien will announce today that he will run for Arkansas secretary of state in the Democratic primary in May 2010.

Charlie Daniels, the current secretary of state, is term limited.

Raised in Jacksonville, O’Brien began accepting campaign contributions in April, collecting more than $100,000 and a lot of goodwill in Pulaski County.

“I have fulfilled my promise to clean up the Pulaski County clerk’s office,” said O’Brien. “Now I want to take those skills and make the secretary of state’s office a leader in election reform and streamlined business services on a regional level.”

Not only did he straighten up the election registration problems as county clerk, as circuit clerk he put civil and criminal documents online where they could be searched by anyone with Internet access.

O’Brien was elected to his current position in 2004 and inherited an office under the cloud of grand jury investigations and federal consent decrees.

Within two years, the problems that crippled the office had been resolved. He was re-elected without opposition in 2006 and 2008.

He said the key to restoring stability and confidence in the clerk’s office was simply “using common sense, hard work and the latest technology.”

O’Brien has lived in Jacksonville since the age of three.

O’Brien, an attorney, served one term as the Jacksonville representative on the Pulaski County Special School District Board. He did not run for re-election in 2003.

He was also chief of staff for the 22nd Judicial District’s prosecuting attorney’s office in 2003.