"Few, if any Arkansans were shocked to learn that Arkansas Treasurer Martha Shoffner was booked into the Pulaski County jail Saturday afternoon after the FBI had arrested her on federal extortion charges.

"Arkansas is part of a country with the best legal system in the world. In this country anyone arrested is considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Martha Shoffner is entitled to her day in court.

However, I suspect that when she does have her day in court, Arkansans will not be happy with what they learn about the operation of that office. The charges against Ms. Shoffner involve extortion under color of official right.

While she is entitled to a trial by an impartial jury, Ms. Shoffner’s ability to serve as Treasurer will be so impaired that she will not be able to be the kind of public office holder Arkansas deserves.

I am calling on Martha Shoffner to resign immediately and allow the governor to appoint someone to serve until 2015.

This will help her because she will be better able to focus on her legal defense.

It will help the state because the State Treasurer would not be distracted from her official duties because of this felony federal charge.

A major part of the problem has been that Arkansas has not had a two-party system. While the state is getting closer, the one-party rule has allowed situations like this to fester.

Competition breeds excellence. Arkansas has not had a Republican Treasurer since Reconstruction.

It is time to change that and give Republicans a chance to show that we can provide the kind of service and leadership Arkansans deserve.

My promise to Arkansans is that I want to take the State Treasurer’s Office from being the worst in the country to being the best in the country.

Dennis Milligan,

Saline County Circuit Clerk and a former chairman of the Republican Party of Arkansas