Common Ground Arkansas has named Misty Orpin as its inaugural executive director.
Founded by state senator Jim Hendren, Common Ground Arkansas is a nonpartisan political organization that aims to “disrupt the current system by running commonsense candidates who are more accountable to the people than to a party…,” according to the organization’s website. Hendren founded Common Ground Arkansas after leaving the Republican Party in February 2021, becoming a political Independent.
“Our two-party system is broken. The discourse and division have grown to be too great. It’s preventing us from working together as a state or as a people. It’s time we—legislators, politicians, leaders, business owners, teachers, families, neighbors, friends, all of us—move forward by putting people over politics. It’s time to get to work,” Hendren said in a statement on the Common Ground Arkansas website.
One of those steps was hiring Orpin as the executive director. According to Hendren, Orpin’s “experience in statewide organizing” qualify her for leading Common Ground Arkansas. A former reporter, Orpin created the arkansascovid.com website during the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, reporting on the situation in Arkansas in real-time. The University of Arkansas took over operation of the website in August 2020.
The Springdale resident also has served as the marketing and events director for Black Apple Cider, which was co-founded by her husband, Leo Orpin.