Clinton School Dean Skip Rutherford wrote an Op-Ed about the Arkansas Delta Region in this month’s edition of Talk Business, a magazine devoted to Arkansas business, government and politics.
Rutherford reminds readers that not long ago the Delta was an economic engine for the state, while Northwest Arkansas was struggling somewhat. Below is an excerpt from the piece. Click here to read the whole article:
A few years ago, I was visiting with a former elected official from northwest Arkansas who was bemoaning how Arkansas’ Delta region was a statewide liability. His solution was to “de-annex” it, and he wasn’t kidding.
I reminded him the Delta had largely carried Arkansas economically and politically from 1836 to 1986 and assuming current economic conditions remained the same, we should have the “de-annex” conversation again in 2136 when the two regions of the state would be even.
Reflecting on that discussion, I recalled while growing up in Batesville in the 1950s and 1960s and spending time in the Delta, I never heard anyone advocating the “de-annexation” of northwest Arkansas.
There is no doubt, however, the Delta is now struggling economically, and northwest Arkansas — despite the recent slow down — is thriving. It’s also increasingly clear that Arkansas’ economic base, which was once concentrated in the Delta, has shifted to central and northwest Arkansas — with northwest Arkansas setting the pace. Though state legislative seats follow population gains and favor northwest Arkansas, the statewide political landscape between the two areas is still competitive.