Governor Asa Hutchinson’s communications director joins consulting firm, replacement named


J.R. Davis Named Senior Strategist at Gilmore Strategy Group, Katie Beck replaces him

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (News release) – Gilmore Strategy Group, a full-service political consulting and lobbying firm, today announced the hiring of J.R. Davis as Senior Strategist effective September 30, 2019. For the next year, J.R. will focus on the firm’s political practice and expanding our practice in communications.

Gilmore Strategy Group President, Jon Gilmore, issued the following statement:
“I’m delighted today to announce J.R. Davis as a Senior Strategist in our firm. J.R. and I first met when he joined the staff of Governor Hutchinson’s 2014 gubernatorial campaign and we became close friends. We have worked in various roles together, and it was a natural fit to continue working alongside each other now in the private sector. There is no better communications and messaging expert in the South than J.R. Davis and he will bring a unique perspective to our practice. I’m delighted to build this firm with Rett and JR for many years to come.”

Rett Hatcher, Partner at GSG issued the following statement:
“Our clients expect their values and key differentiators to be communicated to stakeholders in the most effective way possible. Over the last 5 years, in this state’s most critical and decisive moments, J.R. Davis has proven his ability to convey the Governor’s message accurately and effectively. This state has been served well and we welcome his expertise to better serve our clients.”

J.R. Davis issued the following statement:
“Jon and Rett have quickly established Gilmore Strategy Group as one of the premiere consulting firms in the state. Having worked with both of them in Governor Hutchinson’s office, this comes as no surprise to me. Their work ethic and political acumen have served their clients well, and I hope to build on that reputation.
“Whether it’s a candidate or company, the ability to effectively communicate a message is more important than ever, and I believe my ten-plus years of experience in media, communications, and politics will help our clients do just that.
“On a personal note, it has been an honor to serve as Governor Hutchinson’s communications director and spokesperson for the last five years. I will forever be grateful to the Governor for his confidence, his counsel, and above all, his friendship through it all.”

J.R. Davis has served as Governor Hutchinson’s Communications Director and Spokesperson since January 2015. He held the same position in the Governor’s 2014 gubernatorial campaign. Prior to that, J.R. was the morning anchor and political reporter for the NBC affiliate in Northwest Arkansas. He has also served as the Communications Director for Congressman Steve Womack in Arkansas’ Third Congressional District and senior political reporter for the Fox affiliate in Fort Smith. J.R. has more than 12 years of experience in Arkansas media, communications, and politics. He is a graduate of Arkansas Tech University in Russellville, and he lives in Little Rock with his wife, Donnally.

News release from Governor Hutchinson’s office on Davis’ departure:

Governor Asa Hutchinson today announced the resignation of his Director of Communications, J.R. Davis, and named Katie Beck as his replacement. Davis will leave at the end of the month to pursue opportunities in the private sector.

Beck, who currently serves as Director of State-Federal Relations for Governor Hutchinson, will assume the position on October 1, 2019.

“In her various roles over the past five years, Katie has earned my complete confidence that she can handle anything that comes her way,” Governor Hutchinson said. “Katie served on my 2014 campaign for governor, and she has served in my administration since day one. Her years with me as a candidate and as governor will inform her ability to speak for me to the press and the public. Katie has a background in communications, law, and federal-state relations, and I have no doubt that her experience in these areas will be an incredible asset as my new communications director.”

“J.R. has been a key member of my team since the first day of my administration,” Governor Hutchinson said. “He is an extremely talented communicator, a trusted counselor, and a friend. I have been impressed with his leadership and work with the media, and I am grateful to have had him on my team for the past five years. I wish him all the best as he uses his talent to pursue new opportunities in the private sector.”

Katie Beck

Katie Beck issued the following statement:
“I am humbled and excited to continue serving in Governor Hutchinson’s administration as his communications director. Working for the people of Arkansas in Washington, D.C., has been an incredible honor, and I am grateful for the opportunity to return home to lead the Governor’s talented communications team. I appreciate the Governor’s confidence, and I look forward to continuing my service in his administration.”

Katie Beck served on the Governor’s 2014 gubernatorial campaign and has served in the Governor’s Office since January 2015. During that time, she has served in a number of different capacities, including as the Governor’s executive assistant, liaison to the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, and most recently, as director of state-federal relations. Beck is a native of White Hall and a graduate of the University of Arkansas, where she earned bachelor’s degrees in journalism and history. She received her Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, William H. Bowen School of Law in 2014.

J.R. Davis issued the following statement:
“It has been an honor to serve as Governor Hutchinson’s communications director and spokesperson for the last five years. Under his direction, Arkansas has become a national leader in a number of key areas, from health care to computer-science education, and I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to help message those successes to the rest of the world. To Governor Hutchinson and the First Lady: Thank you for your counsel, your confidence, and above all, your friendship. This has been an amazing experience.
“At the end of the month, the very talented Katie Beck will take over as communications director, and I cannot think of a better person for the job. Katie has been an invaluable member of the Governor’s staff from day one, and she has excelled at every turn. I have no doubt that she will serve the Governor and the people of Arkansas well in this new role.”

Davis has served as the Director of Communications for Governor Hutchinson since January of 2015 and served in the same capacity during the Governor’s 2014 gubernatorial campaign. His last day will be Friday, September 27, 2019.

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