By Chris Price | Photo by Ebony Blevins
SaraCate and Robert Moery describe themselves as people people.
SaraCate is an attorney with North Little Rock-based law firm Hilburn, Calhoon, Harper, Pruniski & Calhoun, Ltd., which specializes in domestic relations, estate planning and civil litigation. In November, Robert launched Broadview Strategies, a new lobbying practice, after successfully managing Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s 2018 re-election campaign.
Although the two are rising stars in Arkansas’ legal and political communities, neither thought they would end up in the fields where they are making names for themselves.
Intrigued by its reputation, SaraCate enrolled in the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas, where freshman are required to take business law as part of the curriculum.
I loved it,” she says. “I told my parents freshman year that I thought I wanted to go to law school, and they kind of brushed it off and said, ‘Okay, well, we’ll see.’
As she matriculated, she discovered she didn’t like math and “couldn’t survive” in her choice of major. She switched her concentration to public relations and advertising, which was a much better fit for her personality and longer-term career goal.
“I really enjoyed that, and I think honestly it’s played a little bit into what I do now,” she says. “I’m working with people every day. The degree in PR is all about learning how to communicate better and deal with people, especially people that you don’t know very well. Picking up the phone and calling people can be nerve-wracking, but it really wasn’t that difficult for me.”
Although their families had known each other, it wasn’t until she was a junior that she met Robert, a senior and a native of Carlisle, whose family has owned and operated a farm in Lonoke County for more than a century. Robert started at the U of A as an agriculture major but switched to kinesiology, the study of the mechanics of body movements, with an eye on entering coaching and athletic administration.
“I’ve always had a big interest in sports and coaching and teaching,” he says. “I decided that I didn’t want to go the agriculture route and wanted to go into athletic administration by way of coaching first.”
Upon receiving his degree, contemplating the start of his career and considering his deepening relationship with SaraCate, he did some soul searching before he embarked on a job search.
“I was wanting to get back to Central Arkansas, and wasn’t sure that moving around the country and working through different athletic administrations was the route I wanted to go,” he says. “United States Senator John Boozman had an opening in his field office down in that part of the world where I was from, and, so, I decided to go with it just to give it a shot. My first job out of college led me to a job in politics, something I’d never had an interest in or known anything about at all before.
“Teaching, coaching, enhancement of people, helping people, I think that would be something that still can fit right into the mold of politics because you’re still affecting people. I’m in the people business, and while it is different, there are a lot of similarities. I would say the politics kind of found me, and it’s stuck.”
He worked as a field representative for Boozman for 10 months, from October 2011 to July 2012. After some time working for the family farm, he served as a campaign assistant for Hutchinson’s first gubernatorial bid in 2014, became director of legislative and agency affairs in January 2015.
While Robert began his career in earnest, SaraCate completed her undergraduate studies in Fayetteville in 2012, took the LSAT and enrolled at UALR’s William H. Bowen School of Law to be closer to him. She took an internship at a law office, in her hometown of Forrest City, the summer before she entered law school, and worked with an attorney who focused on family law and domestic relations.
One of the first cases she attended as an intern was an adoption hearing.
“Everybody was so happy, and it was so delightful,” she says. “So that’s what really attracted me to it. I like helping people, and whether it’s helping them get through a family crisis or whether it’s helping them in estate planning for the future, that’s just what I’m drawn to.”
SaraCate earned her law degree and started her legal career in 2015. The couple was married the next year. Robert continued in the governor’s office through December 2017 and led Hutchinson’s re-election bid through 2018. At the campaign’s conclusion, he launched Broadview Strategies, which is affiliated with Shiloh Strategic Advisors, a public relations/public affairs firm founded by Bill Vickery, Mitchell Lowe and former state Rep. John Burris. Moery is representing five clients in the upcoming legislative session.
“I would never have thought at 30 years old I was going to start my own company and go to work for myself,” he says, “But here it is.”
Although her niche is family law and estate planning, SaraCate has expanded her practice to include civil law cases.
The Moerys will celebrate their third anniversary this month. For now, they are not thinking about expanding their family beyond their black Lab and brindle French bulldog. Instead, they are focused on their careers and spending time with one another before having children. The couple loves to travel. They’ve recently made trips to Chicago and Boston, and regularly frequent New Orleans, which they call “our getaway.” They have plans to make visits to Europe, California, Washington, D.C. and Charleston, S.C.
“We’re trying to mark off places that at least one of us hasn’t been to,” he says. “That’s really what we’re trying for.”
With inroads into the state’s political sphere, it is natural to wonder if Robert Moery has any ambitions of his own. With the deadpan delivery of a seasoned politician, he says, “I have no intention to ever run for office today. I’ll just say that I’m happy running Broadview and working with Shiloh Strategic Advisors.”
“People ask him all the time, if that’s what he’s going to do,” SaraCate interjects. “There’s a lot that goes on in the head and the heart when somebody says that.”
“It’s a very, very huge compliment,” Robert says. “It’s an overwhelming feeling. It’s nice to hear people from all corners of the state say they would like for me to be in a position to run for office one day. There’s a lot of time that’s committed to that though. We don’t have any kids yet. We intend to one day. With a family, we’ve got to figure out what our dynamics are at the time, and, if it’s right, possibly consider. But at this time there’s not much of an interest to run for anything.”