Jim Holt (Arkansas politician)

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Jim Holt
Jim Holt2.JPG
Member of the Arkansas House of Representatives
from the 5th district
In office
Member of the Arkansas Senate
from the 35th district
In office
Personal details
Born (1965-01-17) January 17, 1965 (age 50)
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Bobye Barenberg Holt
Children 9
Occupation Small Business Owner
Website http://www.jimholt2010.com

Jim L. Holt (born January 17, 1965, in Camden in Ouachita County in southern Arkansas), is a Baptist minister and a conservative Republican politician from Springdale in northwestern Arkansas.


Holt joined the military in 1987 and served in the U.S. Army Joint Intelligence Operations at the National Security Agency.[1] His website notes he "was involved in highly classified operations during the Cold War, the ousting of Manuel Noriega from Panama, and Operation Desert Storm"[2] He is a "small business owner/operator and a part-time counselor." In 1996, Holt became an ordained Southern Baptist minister. He and his wife, the former Bobye Barenberg, originally of Rogers, Arkansas, have nine children.[3]

Political career[edit]

Holt was first elected to the Arkansas House of Representatives in the 2000 general election. He served in the House from 2001 to 2003, during which time, he sponsored a bill designed to prohibit the teaching of the theory of evolution in Arkansas public schools (see Evolution below). Holt was elected to the Arkansas Senate in the 2002 general election and served there until December 31, 2006.

In 2004, Holt was the Republican nominee for the U. S. Senate. He was defeated by the Democrat Blanche Lincoln 55-44 percent.[1]

In 2006, Holt was the Republican nominee for Lieutenant Governor and was defeated by Democrat Bill Halter 57-42 percent.[2]

In 2010, Holt was a candidate in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate and was defeated by Republican John Boozman, 53-17 percent, with the remaining percent divided among six other GOP candidates. Boozman in turn unseated Lincoln, against whom Holt had run six years earlier.

Jim Holt has been mentioned as a possible candidate for the Arkansas House of Representatives, where he is still eligible to serve two more terms, or the Arkansas State Senate, where he is eligible to serve one more term. He has also been mentioned as a possible candidate for the mayor of Springdale.

Political positions[edit]


Holt co-sponsored Arkansas House Bill 2548 in 2001, which would have required public schools to identify evolution as an unproven theory, and which would have prohibited the use of public funds for the promotion of evolution-related information as fact. The bill was sponsored by several other House members, including Representative Jack Critcher, who later became the Democratic President Pro Tempore of the Arkansas Senate. The measure fell six votes short of passage. Holt was criticized in July 2006 by Don Michael, an opinion writer for the Fayetteville Northwest Arkansas Times, for having invited in April 2001 the creationist Kent Hovind to speak on behalf of the bill before a House committee.


Holt has also attempted to halt or restrict abortion. He has called for the overturning of Roe v. Wade as an example of "judicial tyranny plaguing our nation today. The laws in all fifty states were overturned, and the consent of the governed as the basis for all just governmental power was thrown out. I will not confirm a federal judicial nominee who I believe will vote to uphold Roe vs. Wade."[3]


Holt opposes the healthcare reform measures implemented by the U.S. Congress in March 2010, stating "We don’t need health care 'reform', but remove government from the health sector and let the market decide.[4]

Opposition to Huckabee[edit]

As a legislator, Holt tangled publicly with former Governor Mike Huckabee over immigration. Huckabee, who like Holt is a Southern Baptist preacher, spoke out against Holt's proposal in 2005 to ban state services to illegal immigrants. Holt has criticized Huckabee for having told him, "I drink a different kind of Jesus juice."[5]

That same year, Holt opposed Huckabee's unsuccessful effort to make children of illegal immigrants eligible for state-funded scholarships and in-state tuition to Arkansas colleges, a position also adopted in Texas under Republican Governor Rick Perry. Holt defended his position by asking Huckabee if he would allow the same privileges to families of military personnel deployed overseas. Huckabee did not respond.[6]

In December 2007, Holt was asked by the presidential campaign of Congressman Ron Paul of Texas to go to Iowa and do several radio interviews about Huckabee with former colleague Randy Minton of Cabot, Arkansas.[5] Holt did not endorse Paul or any other candidate, but he vowed to acquaint Iowa caucus participants about liberal aspects of Huckabee's record in Arkansas.

On January 18, 2008, the Northwest Arkansas Times ran an opinion piece by Holt blasting Huckabee and his supporters.[6] Holt accused Huckabee's followers of not researching what Huckabee's positions are, and supporting him merely because he is a Christian.


External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Fay Boozman
Republican Party nominee for United States Senator from Arkansas (Class 3)
Succeeded by
John Boozman