|Kim Dexter Hendren|
|Member of the Arkansas Senate
from the 9th district
January 13, 2003 – January 2013
|Preceded by||Brenda Gullett|
|Succeeded by||Bruce Holland (formerly of District 6)|
|Minority Leader of the
Arkansas State Senate
January 12, 2009 – January 10, 2011
|Preceded by||Denny Altes|
|Succeeded by||John Burris|
|Member of the Arkansas House of Representatives
from the 1st district
January 8, 2001 – January 13, 2003
|Preceded by||James Paul Hendren|
|Succeeded by||David Haak|
|Member of the Arkansas Senate
from the 6th district
January 8, 1979 – January 10, 1983
|Preceded by||Jim R. Caldwell|
February 6, 1938 |
|Political party||Republican (2000–present)
|Spouse(s)||Marylea Hutchinson Hendren|
|Relations||Asa Hutchinson (brother-in-law)
Tim Hutchinson (brother-in-law)
Jeremy Hutchinson (nephew)
Timothy Chad Hutchinson (nephew)
Donna Hutchinson (former sister-in-law)
|Children||Mark Lea Hendren
James Paul Hendren
Gayla Joy Hendren McKenzie
Kimberly Hope Hendren Duke
|Alma mater||University of Arkansas|
|Religion||Independent Protestant; member of Gideons International|
Kim Dexter Hendren (born February 6, 1938) is a Republican former member of the Arkansas State Senate who served as minority leader and chairman of the Energy Committee. Term-limited, he left the Senate in January 2013. A native and resident of Gravette in Benton County in northwestern Arkansas, Hendren represented District 9, a seat now held by Bruce Holland of Greenwood in Sebastian County. He is a former Democrat in the most Republican section of his state.
Hendren was defeated by U.S. Representative John Boozman for his party's nomination for the U.S. Senate in the May 18, 2010 primary to oppose, successfully as it developed, the incumbent Democratic Senator Blanche Lambert Lincoln.
In the Republican primary scheduled for May 2014, Hendren will contest the District 92 seat in the Arkansas House being vacated by his term-limited fellow Republican Mary Lou Slinkard of Gravette. Two other candidates seeking the position are Gravette Mayor Byron Warren and the businessman, Kurt Maddox, also from Gravette.
Education and family
Hendren graduated in 1960 with a degree in engineering from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. He is an Independent Protestant who has been active since 1963 in the Gideons International, the men's group which distributes Bibles in such public places as hotel rooms. He is also active in Kiwanis. Hendren is married to the former Marylea Hutchinson, a sister of former U.S. Senator Tim Hutchinson and former U.S. Representative and former head of the DEA Asa Hutchinson. In 2002, Tim Hutchinson lost his reelection bid to Mark Pryor for the other U.S. Senate seat from Arkansas. Asa Hutchinson lost a Senate race in 1986 to Dale Bumpers and the gubernatorial campaign in 2006 to Mike Beebe. Hendren is an engineer and holds investments in an automobile dealership, real estate, and poultry interests. The Hendrens have four children, Mark, Jim, Gayla Joy Hendren McKenzie, and Kimberly Hope Duke. Jim Hendren is the current Republican state senator from District 2 in Benton County and a former member of the Arkansas House. Like his father, he has hence served in both houses of the Arkansas General Assembly. Daughter Gayla owns the radio station KBVA which carries political advertising for her father's campaigns.
Known for his folksy demeanor at the capitol, Hendren considers himself a fiscal conservative and voted against changing the Arkansas unemployment law to accept $59 million in federal stimulus money. He voted in February 2009 to support an increase in his state's tobacco tax. In 2008, he backed an increase in the severance tax on natural gas. He has also authored a bill to require motorcyclists to wear helmets or demonstrate proof of health insurance.
From 1967 to 1969, Hendren served on the Gravette City Council and later the Gravette School Board. In 1978, Hendren was first elected as a Democrat to the state Senate at the same time that Clinton won his first two-year term as governor. Hendren won the Senate seat in 1978, after the incumbent Republican, Jim R. Caldwell, a Church of Christ minister from Rogers, stepped down after a decade in office. During that time, Caldwell was the only Republican serving in the Arkansas Senate.
In 1982, Hendren ran fourth in a five-candidate field, with 21,829 votes (3.85 percent), in the Democratic gubernatorial primary. After defeating Joe Purcell in a runoff, former Governor Bill Clinton that year then toppled Republican Frank D. White, who had unseated Clinton in the Ronald W. Reagan sweep of 1980.
Because Hendren ran for governor, he could not seek reelection to the state Senate. In 2001, he returned to the legislature, having won a single term in 2000—his first as a Republican—in the Arkansas House of Representatives. In 2003, he returned to the state Senate twenty years after he left the position. He ran unopposed for a four-year term in 2008.
U.S. Senate candidacy
In May 2009, Hendren apologized after it was reported that during a meeting of the Pulaski County Republican Committee in Little Rock, he referred to Democratic U.S. Senator Charles Schumer of New York as "that Jew" after Schumer had criticized the Republican Party. "I ought not to have referred to it at all. When I referred to him as Jewish, it wasn't because I don't like Jewish people. I shouldn't have gotten into this Jewish business because it distracts from the issue... I believe in traditional values, like we used to see on The Andy Griffith Show," Hendren said, adding that he does not use a teleprompter and sometimes misspeaks in haste. Schumer said that he accepted the apology. Hendren's comments drew a reprimand from Brian Walsh, a spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, who said that "Comments like this are completely inappropriate and don't have any place in public or private discourse."
Hendren opposed the confirmation of United States Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner. He also objects to runaway federal spending while each state is meanwhile required to balance its budget. He opposes Lincoln's vote to subsidize the giant AIG insurance company.
Hendren said that he favors strict enforcement of immigration laws but would "have to look at" potential amnesty for illegal immigrants already living in the United States. He opposed charging only in-state college tuition for children of illegal immigrants living in Arkansas.
Hendren was the first Republican to enter the Senate contest but finished far behind his primary rivals and could not simultaneously run again for the state Senate.
- "Project Vote Smart: Senator Kim Hendren (R)". Votesmart.org. Retrieved May 18, 2009.
- "Hendren announces bid for representative’s seat, August 27, 2013". eagleobserver.com. Retrieved September 6, 2013.
- "Gravette's Hendren Announces Challenge for U.S. Senate Seat". NWAonline.net. Retrieved May 16, 2009.
- McAuliff, Michael (May 15, 2009). "GOPer’s 'Jew' gibe". New York Daily News. p. 4. Retrieved May 25, 2009.
- "Doug Thompson, Stephens Media, "Motorcycle helmet, tarp bill stall in committee"". Arkansasnews.com. Retrieved May 18, 2009.
- Arkansas Gazette, Little Rock, Arkansas, November 9, 1978
- Arkansas Outlook, Republican Party newsletter, November–December 1968
- Arkansas Secretary of State, Democratic gubernatorial primary election returns from 1982
- "Senator Kim Hendren (R)". Arkleg.state.ar.us. Retrieved May 18, 2009.
- Wickline, Michael R. (May 15, 2009). "State Sen. Hendren apologizes for remark on Schumer’s faith". Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Weekend. p. 3B. Retrieved May 25, 2009.