John Davis
John Davis of Monticello announced Thursday the recent establishment of the Southeast Arkansas Political Animals.

A professor of political science at UAM, Davis explained the Political Animals organization will serve as an outlet for nonpartisan discussion of state and national politics and policy.

“Through guest speakers, panels, and other programming, I hope to offer our region something I’ve seen create a productive conversation in other parts of the state,” Davis said.

As chair of the Southeast organization, Davis will coordinate meetings, invite speakers, and promote the events. There are no membership fees or obligations for people interested in attending events.

Currently, three similar groups exist in other parts of the state. Though the regional groups are not formally affiliated with one another, Davis draws inspiration from the others as he establishes a baseline for the new group.

Regarding the creation of the new organization in the region, Rex Nelson, chair of the Political Animals Club of Little Rock since 2011, said “Attending Political Animals Club meetings is a habit for many of the in-the-know residents of Central Arkansas. It’s a needed addition in Southeast Arkansas and will add to civilized, thoughtful political dialogue, something we need more of in all areas of the state.”

“Politics can be highly divisive and controversial,” Davis said, “but from what I’ve seen of the other Arkansas Political Animals groups, these meetings are a wonderful venue to bring together anyone in the community with an interest in politics. No matter your party affiliation or lack thereof, you can enjoy learning how our state and region are affected by policy.”

The format could vary between meetings. “We will regularly host keynote speakers over lunch and maybe voter forums during election cycles,” Davis said. “At this stage, there are many directions we can take it, so I’m looking forward to hearing feedback.”

The first meeting date will be announced soon. Anyone wanting to attend upcoming Southeast Arkansas Political Animals meetings and events can contact John Davis at [email protected] or (870) 460-1189.