Delta Native Appointed to State Highway Commission

January 28, 2005 -- Posted 6:00 p.m. CDT

Armorel, AR -- As part of his 3-H agenda, Governor Huckabee is calling for an expensive plan to update the state's secondary highways. To get his proposal accomplished, Huckabee has enlisted the help of a delta farmer -- the newest appointment to the Arkansas Highway Commission.

At 73 years old John Ed Regenold is a devoted family man who's full of energy, anecdotes, and lessons from the past.

"I remember one time my father told me something. He said son, be careful what you wish for because you might get it, and that's about the position I'm in," said Regenold.

Aside from his very apparent charm and humor, this Mississippi county native has an impressive resume. Regenold has been running the family farming business in Armorel for years. He's also served on numerous local and state boards and commissions, including the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, and while he admits he may not know all there is to know about the highway systems, he's ready to tackle yet another project.

"Probably I was selected because of the fact that I live in the shall we say more or less under-privileged area," said Regenold.

It's been years since anyone from Northeast Arkansas has been appointed to the highway commission, and this appointment perhaps comes at the best time. The governor has proposed a one billion dollar highway bill. And even, Regenold, a self-described frugal man, says Arkansans may have to consider digging in their pockets for the progress of the region.

"A lot of people don't like taxation. I don't like taxation either, but we're going to have to have roads to drive on, and I don't know any other way to get it except bonding," said Regenold. "If you're talking about state highways, we need a lot of improvement. We need a lot of infrastructure in this area to be able to have economic development."

So with only 2 days on the job, many may question why at age 73 start a whole new career? The answer is simple.

"My philosophy on that is this: when you quit, you die. I would like to keep going," added Regenold.

Regenold's term expires in January of 2015. The delta native will be 83 years old, and says he's looking forward to it.