Jason Rapert

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Stanley Jason Rapert
Member of the Arkansas Senate
from the 35th district
In office
2013 – Incumbent
Preceded byBill Pritchard
Member of the Arkansas Senate
from the 18th district
In office
2011–2013
Preceded byBob Johnson
Succeeded byMissy Irvin
Personal details
Born (1972-04-03) April 3, 1972 (age 47)
Place of birth missing
Reared near Maynard, Arkansas
NationalityAmerican
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Laurie Rapert
ChildrenTwo daughters
ResidenceBigelow, Perry County
Arkansas, USA
Alma materUniversity of Central Arkansas
ProfessionPolitician
Websitejasonrapertforsenate.com

Stanley Jason Rapert (born April 3, 1972)[1] is an American politician from the state of Arkansas, who since 2011 has been a Republican member of the Arkansas State Senate for District 35 in the central portion of the state.

Early life[edit]

Rapert was reared near the rural community of Supply on a small family farm.[citation needed] He attended school in Maynard in Randolph County and was active in basketball and academics.[citation needed]

In 1990, Rapert married Laurie Ellen Tyler of Pocahontas in Randolph County. The couple moved to Conway, where they both attended the University of Central Arkansas, where he majored in Political Science and Sociology. He worked for United Parcel Service while attending college.[2]

Political career[edit]

Rapert was elected in 2010 to the Arkansas State Senate, representing the 18th district. As a result of decennial redistricting, he sought reelection in the 35th district in 2012, when he defeated Democrat Linda Tyler.[3] In the general election held on November 4, 2014, Rapert won a four-year term in the state Senate by defeating Democrat Joel Pearson, 13,483 votes (57 percent) to 10,267 (43 percent).[4]

Rapert is a member of the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the Gideons International, and Rotary International.[5]

Position on reproductive law[edit]

Rapert authored a bill to ban all abortions in Arkansas after twelve weeks of pregnancy.[6] Then-Governor Mike Beebe (D) vetoed the bill as unconstitutional, but "the Republican-led Legislature overrode his veto."[7] In 2013, a federal judge stopped the law from being implemented, saying it was likely unconstitutional.[8] In January 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the State's petition for a writ of certiorari to review the case.[9] The State of Arkansas was ordered to pay over $97,000 in attorneys' fees and costs to the prevailing plaintiffs before the Supreme Court decision was finalized.[10]

Position on use of U.S. military power[edit]

In February 2015, Rapert stated that the United States should use nuclear weapons in response to the threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.[11][12] The post sparked a "lively debate...rang[ing] from agreement to ridicule" on social media:[13] Wonkette replied sarcastically to this stance,[14] as did Daily Kos,[15] and Esquire.[11]

Position on minorities[edit]

At a 2011 Tea Party rally, Rapert said, "we're not going to allow minorities to run roughshod over what you people believe in".[16][17] Rapert later claimed that his remarks about minorities were taken out of context.[18] The "minority" comments Rapert made in 2011 referenced both Barack Obama and a ballot initiative (Arkansas Proposed Initiative Act No. 1 (2008)) stricken as unconstitutional that prohibited unmarried cohabitating couples from adopting.[19][20] The Arkansas act had been criticized for prohibiting gay couples from adopting.[20]

On June 30, 2015, the Jason Rapert for Arkansas Senate Facebook page announced, in response to a post suggesting that the rights of minorities are not subject to majority wishes, that "we the majority grant you rights by choice."[21] Later on that same day, the Facebook page accused Max Brantley and the Arkansas Times as a whole, of reporting that Rapert does not "recognize God has endowed us with natural rights that are given by God that no man can take away."[21]

Position on LGBT issues[edit]

While running for the Arkansas General Assembly, Rapert stated: "Traditional marriage in our society has always been between one man and one woman. I support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that protects that right now and forevermore."[22] As a member of the Arkansas Legislative Council, a powerful committee in the Arkansas General Assembly, Rapert proposed a non-binding resolution to "urge the Arkansas Supreme Court to overturn a circuit judge’s ruling striking down Arkansas’ same-sex marriage ban."[23] Rapert initially proposed impeaching the judge who issued the ruling, but later stated he wanted to establish a system of judicial recall.[24]

On June 7, 2015, Rapert took to Facebook to "urge everyone to contact the Conway City Council and Mayor Tab Townsell in opposition to allowing activists to march through the streets of Conway on a Sunday to mock Christian values and accuse Christians of being bigots", in protest of the Conway Gay Pride Parade that was scheduled to take place later that same day, which he deemed an anti-Christian activity.[25] According to The Chicago Sun-Times, responses to the Facebook post were "largely mocking".[26]

Following the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges that legalized gay marriage, Rapert stated that the Court's ruling was unconstitutional.[27] Rapert encouraged public officials "to refuse to comply with an unjust ruling that violates religious freedom and states rights".[27]

In 2019, he twice attempted to fire a teacher from Conway High School, due to her sponsoring of the Conway Gay-Straight Alliance.

Position on medical marijuana[edit]

In November 2016, Arkansas became the first state in the Bible Belt to legalize medical marijuana, passing by nearly 70,000 votes.[28] Rapert publicly opposed the ballot, and both introduced legislation to ban the consumption of medical marijuana in smoking form, and sponsored legislation to delay the program as long as federal laws banning marijuana remain on the books.[29] When pointed out to him during an interview that it can easily be considered hypocrisy that he would oppose medical marijuana in favor of federal law, while opposing marriage equality in spite of federal law,[30] he responded with "Watch your language with me or we'll stop the interview".[31]

Ten Commandments monuments[edit]

Rapert has pushed for the installation of the privately funded Ten Commandments Monument on the Arkansas State Capital grounds. Rapert sponsored a bill in 2015 which would require the secretary of state to allow for the installation of the monument. The monument was challenged by the ACLU as being a violation of clauses in both the Federal and State constitutions prohibiting the government from favoring any religion.[32][33] The first version of the monument was installed in 2017, and was destroyed less than 24 hours later when Michael Tate Reed allegedly drove his car into it.[34]

Legal challenges were suspended until a replacement monument could be installed. The new version, with protective concrete bollards, was unveiled April 27, 2018. The monument was again challenged by the ACLU, the Arkansas Society of Freethinkers, and The Satanic Temple. The Satanic Temple had successfully challenged a similar monument in Oklahoma in 2015, and in both locations has offered to install a bronze monument to Baphomet as a symbol of religious pluralism and freedom.[35][36][37]

Social media[edit]

In early September 2015, after having been approached by a local constituent at a store, Rapert posted a tweet that read, "Not smart to come up and harass somebody in a parking lot who's carrying a handgun. Better be glad you decided to walk away #armed&ready", which became the center of a controversy on social media.[38][39] Rapert said that the tweet was not referring to the incident with that constituent.[38] On October 2, 2018, the group American Atheists filed lawsuit against Rapert, claiming he violated constituents' first and fourteenth amendment rights by blocking them on social media platforms and stifling debate.[40]

In February 2019, the sludge metal band Eyehategod posted a facebook event for a show booked in Little Rock that used a picture of Rapert eating a baby, and Rapert spoke out, calling for a protest of the venue and the band, saying "I call on Vinos in Little Rock to cancel this event and apologize for such a disrespectful image that shows the dehumanization of babies lives. It is disrespectful of all who value babies lives and people of faith" and urged the band to find the "love, grace and mercy of God and choose to update their name to 'EyeloveGod'" in a later update to his post.[41][42][43][44]

Personal life[edit]

Rapert and his wife have two daughters. He plays the fiddle, which he learned by ear when he was ten years old.[2]

Rapert is the founder and president of Holy Ghost Ministries, and he makes annual missionary visits to Ghana.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "91st Arkansas General Assembly Legislative Directory" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on March 1, 2018. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c "A personal look at Sen. Rapert - News - The Sun-Times - Heber Springs, AR - Heber Springs, AR". The Sun-Times. June 29, 2012. Retrieved October 22, 2013.
  3. ^ "Republican Rapert wins heated Arkansas Senate race - FOX16.com Little Rock, AR". Fox16.com. November 7, 2012. Archived from the original on October 23, 2013. Retrieved October 22, 2013.
  4. ^ "Arkansas 2014 general election results". thv11.com. Archived from the original on December 24, 2014. Retrieved December 23, 2014.
  5. ^ "Biography of the Honorable Jason Rapert, Arkansas State Senator" (PDF). arkleg.state.ar.us. Archived (PDF) from the original on December 12, 2013. Retrieved December 6, 2013.
  6. ^ Eckholm, Eric (March 11, 2013). "Arkansas's Abortion Ban and One Man's Strong Will". New York Times. Archived from the original on August 4, 2017. Retrieved January 24, 2016.
  7. ^ Lyon, John (January 19, 2016). "Supreme Court Declines To Rule On Arkansas Abortion Law". Times Record. Archived from the original on January 21, 2016. Retrieved January 24, 2016.
  8. ^ Eckholm, Erik (May 17, 2013). "Abortion Law in Arkansas Is Blocked by U.S. Judge". The New York Times. Archived from the original on April 6, 2017. Retrieved February 27, 2017.
  9. ^ "Home / News / Supreme Court rejects Arkansas bid to revive abortion law". Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. January 19, 2016. Archived from the original on January 22, 2016. Retrieved January 24, 2016.
  10. ^ Brantley, Max (January 19, 2016). "U.S. Supreme Court refuses review of court ruling overturning Arkansas's 12-week abortion limit". Arkansas Times. Archived from the original on January 21, 2016. Retrieved January 24, 2016.
  11. ^ a b Charles P. Pierce (February 17, 2015), "Jason Rapert Wants To Nuke ISIS", Esquire, archived from the original on February 19, 2015, retrieved February 19, 2015, Here's Some Stupid For Lunch
  12. ^ "If Jason Rapert didn't exist, we'd have to invent him". Arkansas Times. February 16, 2015. Archived from the original on February 18, 2015. Retrieved February 19, 2015.
  13. ^ State Senator calls for using nukes on ISIS, Little Rock, Arkansas: KTHV News, February 15, 2015, archived from the original on July 7, 2015, retrieved July 7, 2015
  14. ^ Doktor Zoom (February 17, 2015), "Arkansas State Senator: Liberals Love ISIS So Much They Don't Even Want Nuclear War", Wonkette, archived from the original on July 9, 2015, retrieved July 7, 2015, Can't see how anyone could object to a few nuclear strikes in the Middle East — it's all just sand and camels anyway...
  15. ^ Hunter (February 17, 2015), "Arkansas State Sen. Jason Rapert: America should nuke ISIS", Daily Kos, archived from the original on July 7, 2015, retrieved July 7, 2015, ...after persons pointed out that State Sen. Jason Rapert was quite possibly a raging idiot, he was then of course obligated to defend his plan...
  16. ^ Norm Ornstein (August 2014), "When Extremism Goes Mainstream", The Atlantic, archived from the original on October 16, 2016, retrieved March 8, 2017
  17. ^ Samantha Lachman, "GOP State Legislator Asks Why America Can't Be More Like Saudi Arabia", The Huffington Post, archived from the original on July 5, 2015, retrieved July 4, 2015
  18. ^ "Sen. Jason Rapert releases statement on 'Heartbeat Bill', 'minorities' comment". February 5, 2013. Archived from the original on January 29, 2016. Retrieved January 24, 2016.
  19. ^ "Sen. Jason Rapert releases statement on 'Heartbeat Bill', 'minorities' comment". February 5, 2013. Archived from the original on January 29, 2016. Retrieved January 24, 2016.
  20. ^ a b Pratt, Jordan. "Arkansas Supreme Court Strikes Down Ban on Adoption by Unmarried Cohabitating Couples". The Federalist Society. Archived from the original on February 1, 2016. Retrieved January 24, 2016.
  21. ^ a b Max Brantley (June 30, 2015), "The line is open; with today's video and also: Child abuse and more crazy Rapert", Arkansas Times, archived from the original on July 1, 2015, retrieved July 1, 2015
  22. ^ "Jason Rapert for State Senate 18 – Issues" Check |url= value (help). Retrieved April 19, 2017.[dead link]
  23. ^ Lyon, John (June 20, 2014). "Legislators adopt resolution opposing judge's ruling on gay marriage". Arkansas News. Archived from the original on February 2, 2016. Retrieved January 24, 2016.
  24. ^ Lyon, John (June 22, 2014). "Unhappy with ruling on gay marriage, some want ability to recall judges". Arkansas News Bureau. Archived from the original on February 2, 2016. Retrieved January 24, 2016.
  25. ^ Jason Rapert for Arkansas Senate (June 6, 2015). "ANTI-CHRISTIAN ACTIVISTS WILL MARCH THROUGH THE STREETS OF CONWAY TOMORROW AND THE CONWAY CITY COUNCIL ENABLES THEM TO DO SO ON A SUNDAY, THE LORD'S DAY" – via Facebook.
  26. ^ Chad Merda (June 8, 2015), "Arkansas lawmaker: Gay pride parades on Sundays 'mock Christians'", Chicago Sun-Times, archived from the original on July 4, 2015, retrieved July 4, 2015
  27. ^ a b "Cleburne County clerk will resign over same-sex marriage licenses". Arkansas Democrate-Gazette. June 29, 2015. Archived from the original on January 22, 2016. Retrieved January 24, 2016.
  28. ^ "Arkansas medical marijuana Issue 6 passes, marking milestone in Bible Belt". The Cannabist. Archived from the original on February 14, 2018. Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  29. ^ Ramsey, David. "Rapert seeks to derail medical marijuana amendment, floats ban on smoking marijuana". Arkansas Times. Archived from the original on July 9, 2018. Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  30. ^ Brantley, Max. "Rapert passes measures aimed at banning same-sex marriage and abortion on second votes". Arkansas Times. Archived from the original on November 19, 2017. Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  31. ^ Ramsey, David. "Your daily dose of Jason Rapert". Arkansas Times. Archived from the original on October 15, 2017. Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  32. ^ Barnes, Steve (June 27, 2017). "Ten Commandments monument installed in Arkansas; ACLU vows court fight". Reuters. Archived from the original on April 30, 2018. Retrieved April 29, 2018.
  33. ^ Wamsley, Laurel (June 27, 2017). "Ten Commandments Installed At Arkansas State Capitol; ACLU Plans Lawsuit". NPR.org. Archived from the original on April 23, 2018. Retrieved April 29, 2018.
  34. ^ Petit, Emma (June 28, 2017). "Arrest made after Ten Commandments monument at Arkansas Capitol toppled, shattered". Arkansas Online. Archived from the original on April 30, 2018. Retrieved April 29, 2018.
  35. ^ Hardy, Benjamin (April 27, 2018). "Ten Commandments rise again at Capitol, but Satanic Temple says Arkansas law is on its side". Arkansas Times. Archived from the original on April 27, 2018. Retrieved April 29, 2018.
  36. ^ Bleed, Jill; DeMillo, Andrew (April 26, 2018). "Arkansas Replaces Ten Commandments Monument at State Capitol". U.S. News and World Report. Associated Press. Archived from the original on April 30, 2018. Retrieved April 29, 2018.
  37. ^ Chappel, Bill (April 26, 2018). "Arkansas Installs A New Ten Commandments Monument At Its Capitol". NPR.org. Archived from the original on April 27, 2018. Retrieved April 29, 2018.
  38. ^ a b Jordan Bontke for KATV. September 10, 2015 Senator Rapert explains controversial gun tweet Archived January 31, 2016, at the Wayback Machine
  39. ^ Jonathan Rozelle for KARK. September 7, 2015. State Senator Comes Under Fire After Tweet Archived January 22, 2016, at the Wayback Machine
  40. ^ [1]
  41. ^ [2]
  42. ^ [3]
  43. ^ [4]
  44. ^ [5]

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