Andrea Lea

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Andrea Lea
Auditor of Arkansas
Assumed office
January 13, 2015
GovernorAsa Hutchinson
Preceded byCharlie Daniels
Member of the Arkansas House of Representatives
from the 71st district
In office
January 2013 – January 13, 2015
Preceded byTommy Wren
Succeeded byKenneth Henderson
Member of the Arkansas House of Representatives
from the 68th district
In office
January 2009 – January 2013
Preceded byMichael Lamoureux
Succeeded byRobert Dale
Personal details
Born1957 (age 61–62)
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Phillip Lea
Children3
EducationArkansas Tech University, Russellville (BA)

Andrea Christine Lea (born 1957) is the Arkansas State Auditor and a Republican former member of the Arkansas House of Representatives from Russellville, Arkansas. She was elected state auditor on November 4, 2014, to succeed the Democratic incumbent, Charlie Daniels, who did not seek reelection.[1]

From 2013 to 2015, Lea represented House District 71, which includes Pope County. From 2009 to 2013, she represented House District 68, a position formerly held by the term-limited Republican, Robert E. Dale of Dover, also in Pope County.[2] She was fourth in seniority in the state House.[3]

Background[edit]

Reared in a military family, Lea has lived in New Hampshire, Hawaii, and Newbury Park in Ventura County, California. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Emergency Administration and Management from Arkansas Tech University in Russellville.[3] She and her husband, Phillip (born 1956), have three children, Kevin Joseph, Andrew James, and Mary Elizabeth Lea. Phillp and Andrea Lea are members, and she is the recording secretary, of the Central Presbyterian Church of Russellville.[2]

Lea is a sailing and biking enthusiast.[3]

Early Political life and State Legislature[edit]

Prior to her legislative service, Lea was a member of the Russellville City Council and then a justice of the peace on the Pope County Quorum Court,[2] equivalent to county commission in other states. In 2008, she was elected in House District 68 over a Democrat, Thomas Roy Akin (born 1953), also of Russellville, 5,681 (53.1 percent) to 4,634 (43.3 percent). Mary Elaine Boley (born 1981) of the Green Party in Russellville held the remaining 394 ballots (3.7 percent). The seat was vacated by the Republican Michael Lamoureux (born 1976) of Russellville.[4]

Lea was unopposed for a second House term in 2010.[5] In 2012, Lea was switched to House District 71 and again ran without opposition. The previous representative, Democrat Tommy Wren, was transferred to District 62.[6]

Lea was a member of the Arkansas Legislative Council. In her last term in office, she chaired the State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee. She was also assigned to the Energy, Management, Rules, and Revenue & Taxation committees.[2]

Lea was a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The purpose of this council is to promote sample legislation written by corporations. She was the organization's co-state chairperson along with Eddie Joe Williams, also succeeding Michael Lamoureux in that role.[7]

Legislation[edit]

In 2013, Lea co-sponsored legislation to require photo identification for casting a ballot in Arkansas and to ban abortion after twenty weeks of gestation. She voted to override the vetoes of Democratic Governor Mike Beebe to enact both measures. She supported or co-sponsored related pro-life legislation to ban abortions whenever a fetal heartbeat is detected, to forbid the inclusion of abortion in the state insurance exchange, and to make the death of an unborn child a felony in certain cases. She co-sponsored a spending cap in the state budget, but the measure failed to gain approval by two votes in the House. She also co-sponsored amending state income tax rates. Lea voted to allow university officials to carry weapons on college campuses. Similarly, she co-sponsored legislation to permit concealed weapons in religious institutions. She voted to prohibit the governor from regulating firearms in an emergency. She also supported lowering the application fee for obtaining a concealed carry permit. Lea supported legislation to make the office of prosecuting attorney in Arkansas nonpartisan. She supported the bill, signed by Governor Beebe, to permit the sale of up to five hundred gallons per month of unpasteurized whole milk directly from the farm to consumers. She voted against a defeated proposal to prohibit the closure of schools based on declining enrollments over a two-year period.[8]

In 2011, Lea supported a dress code and curriculum standards for biblical instruction in public schools. She supported the Capital Gains Reduction Act and a tax reduction on manufacturers' utilities. She voted to permit driver's license tests only in the English language. She opposed the prohibition of cell phone use in school zones, but the measure passed, fifty-three to forty-one. She supported the congressional redistricting bill, which passed sixty-one to twenty.[8]

State Auditor[edit]

The office of State Auditor is one of Arkansas’ seven constitutional offices. The State Auditor is the general accountant for the state, and is also in charge of the payroll for the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. The office is also in charge of the state's unclaimed property program.[9] The office has existed since Arkansas was made a United States territory in 1819. Its duties have changed very little since its inception. Andrea Lea is the third woman elected to the office of State Auditor. The first woman elected was Jimmie Lou Fisher. The second woman elected was Julia Hughes Jones. Lea is the first Republican woman elected as State Auditor in Arkansas.[10]

The Great Arkansas Treasure Hunt[edit]

As the State Auditor, one of the main priorities of Andrea Lea is to return money back to Arkansans. The State Auditor's office in Arkansas is in charge of an unclaimed property program. This program is referred to as The Great Arkansas Treasure Hunt. The purpose of this program is to return lost money to their rightful owners. Cash assets and safety deposit box contents are turned over to the State Auditor's office after the institutions holding the property deem it abandoned. According to Andrea Lea, $317,000,000 is owed to Arkansans as of 2017. She stated that, “Reuniting Arkansans with their money is something I take very seriously...We now estimate that 1 in 4 Arkansans has cash to claim in the Treasure Hunt. If you’ve searched in the past, it’s time to search again!”[11]

The Great Arkansas Treasure Hunt is a year-round event. The state sends out letters to the owner's last known address. The items do not just include cash. They include refund checks, deeds to property, passports, marriage licenses, and even photographs.[12]

Election as President of NAUPA[edit]

In January 2019, State Auditor Andrea Lea was elected as the President of the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA). This organization is associated with the Association of State Auditors. Its purpose is to create awareness of the importance of unclaimed property as a necessary consumer protection program. Its members represent all fifty states, the District of Columbia, and all of the United States’ territories. After Lea was elected as President of this organization, she stated, “I’m honored to be chosen by my colleagues to represent our organization and work to advance our common interest...I look forward to continuing to share our successes in Arkansas across the country and advocating for increased innovation and streamlining of services. It’s a win for businesses, and a win for consumers.” [13]

Electoral history[edit]

Arkansas State House of Representatives 68th District Election, 2008
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Andrea Lea 5,681 53.05
Democratic Thomas Akin 4,634 43.27
Green Mary Boley 394 3.68
Arkansas State House of Representatives 68th District Election, 2010
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Andrea Lea (inc.) n/a 100.00
Arkansas State House of Representatives 68th District Election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Andrea Lea (inc.) n/a 100.00
Arkansas Auditor Republican Primary Election, 2014
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Andrea Lea 111,998 68.17
Republican Ken Yang 52,293 31.83
Arkansas Auditor Election, 2014
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Andrea Lea 471,211 57.17
Democratic Regina Stewart Hampton 308,285 37.40
Libertarian Brian Leach 44,702 5.42
Arkansas Auditor Election, 2018
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Andrea Lea 72.35 621,722
Libertarian David E. Dinwiddie 27.65 237,602

[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Max Brantley, Andrea Lea joins GOP race for state auditor, July 2, 2013". Arkansas Times. Retrieved January 1, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d "Andrea Lea's Biography". votesmart.org. Retrieved January 1, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c "Andrea Lea, R-71". arkansashouse.org. Archived from the original on January 2, 2014. Retrieved January 1, 2014.
  4. ^ "State Representative, District 68". sos.arkansas.gov. Retrieved January 1, 2014.
  5. ^ "District 68". ballotpedia.org. Retrieved January 1, 2014.
  6. ^ "District 71". ballotpedia.org. Retrieved January 1, 2014.
  7. ^ http://www.alec.org/about-alec/state-chairmen/
  8. ^ a b "Andrea Lea's Voting Records". votesmart.org. Retrieved January 1, 2014.
  9. ^ "Arkansas State Auditor | Andrea Lea". auditor.ar.gov. Retrieved 2019-03-26.
  10. ^ "Office of Auditor - Encyclopedia of Arkansas". www.encyclopediaofarkansas.net. Retrieved 2019-03-26.
  11. ^ "Arkansas State Auditor | Andrea Lea". auditor.ar.gov. Retrieved 2019-03-26.
  12. ^ "Find Money With The Great Arkansas Treasure Hunt". Fort Smith/Fayetteville News | 5newsonline KFSM 5NEWS. 2016-08-09. Retrieved 2019-03-26.
  13. ^ "Arkansas State Auditor | Andrea Lea". auditor.ar.gov. Retrieved 2019-03-25.
  14. ^ contact@scytl.com, scytl. "Election Night Reporting". results.enr.clarityelections.com. Retrieved 2019-03-25.
Arkansas House of Representatives
Preceded by
Michael Lamoureux
Member of the Arkansas House of Representatives
for the 68th district

2009–2013
Succeeded by
Robert Dale
Preceded by
Tommy Wren
Member of the Arkansas House of Representatives
for the 71st district

2013–2015
Succeeded by
Kenneth Henderson
Political offices
Preceded by
Charlie Daniels
Auditor of Arkansas
2015–present
Incumbent