Wife of lawmaker critical of Arkansas PBS joins network’s governing board

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A new appointee to the governing board of Arkansas PBS is the wife of a state senator who has tried to cut the network’s spending, according to media reports.

Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced May 6 that she had appointed Maria Sullivan to the Arkansas Educational Television Commission. Sullivan’s term ends in March 2031, a news release said.

The eight-member commission meets quarterly. 

Sullivan’s husband, Sen. Dan Sullivan, introduced a failed amendment this year to cut Arkansas PBS’ spending authority for private funds from $8.96 million to $7.17 million, according to a report by the Arkansas Advocate. 

The Advocate described Sen. Sullivan as the state legislature’s “most vocal critic” of Arkansas PBS and said he also introduced a bill in 2022 to cut appropriations of private and state funds for the network.

Representatives for Arkansas PBS did not immediately answer emailed questions from Current about the appointment. 

Maria Sullivan was quoted in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette as saying in an interview that she was “willing to learn” about Arkansas PBS and is a “huge fan.”

The newspaper reported that Maria Sullivan is a retired flight attendant and has a marketing degree from Arkansas State University.  

Dan Sullivan, meanwhile, told the Democrat-Gazette that he had been a critic of “every agency” that didn’t “wisely” spend the state’s money. 

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