At a time when the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is working to restore public confidence after several controversies, a new member was appointed Wednesday.
Governor Mike Beebe announced that Ken Reeves, a vice-president and general counsel for FedEx Freight in Harrison, will replace outgoing commissioner Ronald Pierce of Mountain Home.
Reeves is the seventh member of the panel, which oversees hunting and fishing regulations.
He says he wants to build on work the Game and Fish Commission has done to attract young people to outdoor recreational activities.
“It troubles me to see all these children running around all the time now with their hands wrapped around some type of electronic device. I’d like to see more of those little hands wrapped around BB guns and fishing poles and hiking sticks and archery equipment and watch them see that the virtual outdoors does not compare to the real outdoors,” Reeves said during the ceremony.
In recent years the Game and Fish Commission has faced several controversies, including a failed effort to enact a restrictive freedom of information policy and criticism over its large vehicle fleet. An employee survey last year also showed low employee morale.
Last October, a new leader was selected, and Reeves is optimistic about its future.
“I truly believe the Game and Fish Commission has turned a corner and that there’s a new day dawning," he said. "I’ve spent some time with Director Mike Knoedl, talked to many people about him and I’m convinced he’s the right man at the right time and that the best days of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission lie ahead of us.”
Reeves is a member of the National Wild Turkey Federation, Ducks Unlimited and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
His term will expire in 2020, and Reeves hopes those years will be productive.
“I want to see us continue to restore the confidence of the public in the Game and Fish Commission and I want to do the very best job I can for all the constituencies we serve, which is more than… I mean, I’m a hunter and fisherman, that’s my first love, but there are a lot of other things that one can enjoy outdoors and I want to enhance those opportunities for as many people as we can,” Reeves said.