Kim Hendren

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Kim Dexter Hendren
Member of the Arkansas House of Representatives
from the 92nd district
Assumed office
January 2015
Preceded by Mary Lou Slinkard
Member of the Arkansas Senate
from the 9th district
In office
January 13, 2003 – January 2013
Preceded by Brenda Gullett
Succeeded by Bruce Holland (formerly of District 6)
Minority Leader of the
Arkansas State Senate
In office
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
In office
January 8, 2001 – January 13, 2003
Preceded by James Paul Hendren
Succeeded by David Haak
Member of the Arkansas Senate
from the 6th district
In office
January 8, 1979 – January 10, 1983
Preceded by Jim R. Caldwell
Personal details
Born (1938-02-06) February 6, 1938 (age 80)
Gravette, Arkansas
Political party Republican (2000–present)
Democrat (1979–1983)
Spouse(s) Marylea Hutchinson Hendren
Relations Tim and Asa Hutchinson (brothers-in-law)
Jeremy and Timothy Chad Hutchinson (nephews)
Donna Hutchinson (former sister-in-law)
Children Mark Lea Hendren
James Paul Hendren
Gayla Joy Hendren McKenzie
Kimberly Hope Hendren Duke
Residence Gravette, Arkansas
Alma mater University of Arkansas at Fayetteville
Occupation Engineer/Businessman

Kim Dexter Hendren (born February 6, 1938)[1] is a Republican currently serving in the Arkansas House of Representatives. He is a 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 formerly represented Senate 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.

In 2014, at the age of seventy-six, Hendren was elected once more to the Arkansas House of Representatives, this time in District 92 for the seat vacated by the term-limited Mary Lou Slinkard, a fellow Republican. He was unopposed in both the Republican primary and the general election.[2] He is eligible to serve if elected every two years until January 2021.

On May 18, 2010, Hendren was defeated in the Republican primary by U.S. Representative John Boozman of Arkansas's 3rd congressional district for his party's nomination for the U.S. Senate to oppose, successfully as it developed, the incumbent Democratic Senator Blanche Lincoln.

Education and family[edit]

In 1960, Hendren graduated 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 active in Kiwanis International. Hendren is married to the former Marylea Hutchinson,[1] a sister of former U.S. Senator Tim Hutchinson and former U.S. Representative, former head of the DEA, and current Governor 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.[3] Jim Hendren is the current Republican state senator for District 2 in Benton County, the Senate Majority Leader, 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 has carried political advertising for her father's campaigns.

Legislative service[edit]

Known for his folksy demeanor at the Arkansas State Capitol,[3] Hendren considers himself a fiscal conservative and voted against changing the Arkansas unemployment law to accept $59 million in federal stimulus money.[3] He voted in February 2009 to support an increase in his state's tobacco tax.[3] In 2008, he backed an increase in the severance tax on natural gas.[4] He has also authored a bill to require motorcyclists to wear helmets or demonstrate proof of health insurance.[5]

From 1967 to 1969, Hendren served on the Gravette City Council and later the Gravette School Board. In 1978, he was first elected as a Democrat to the state Senate at the same time that his later gubernatorial opponent, Bill Clinton won his first two-year term as governor.[6] Hendren won the Senate seat in 1978, after the incumbent Republican, Jim R. Caldwell, a Church of Christ minister then from Rogers, stepped down after a decade in office. During that time, Caldwell was the only Republican serving in the Arkansas Senate.[7]

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 Clinton that year then toppled Republican Frank D. White, who had unseated Clinton in the Ronald W. Reagan sweep of 1980.[8]

Because Hendren ran for governor, he could not seek reelection to the state Senate that year. 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.[9]

In early 2017, Representative Hendren drafted[10] a bill to prohibit Howard Zinn books in Arkansas public schools.[11] Zinn was an historian, playwright, and social activist known for his A People's History of the United States. Hendren worded House Bill 1834: For An Act To Be Entitled: "AN ACT TO PROHIBIT A PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT OR OPEN-ENROLLMENT PUBLIC CHARTER SCHOOL FROM INCLUDING IN ITS CURRICULUM OR COURSE MATERIALS FOR A PROGRAM OF STUDY BOOKS OR ANY OTHER MATERIAL AUTHORED BY OR CONCERNING HOWARD ZINN; AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES." [12]

U.S. Senate candidacy[edit]

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.[4][13] 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."[4]

Hendren opposed the confirmation of United States Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner. He also objects to the federal government spending more than it takes in while individual states are required to balance their budgets. He opposed Senator Lincoln's vote to subsidize the giant AIG insurance company.[3]

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.[3] He opposed charging only the in-state college tuition, rather than out-of-state, for children of illegal immigrants living in Arkansas.[3]

Hendren was the first Republican to enter the 2010 Senate contest[4] but finished far behind his primary rivals and could not simultaneously run again for the state Senate.


  1. ^ a b "Project Vote Smart: Senator Kim Hendren (R)". Retrieved May 18, 2009. 
  2. ^ "District 92". Retrieved April 11, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Gravette's Hendren Announces Challenge for U.S. Senate Seat". Archived from the original on April 22, 2009. Retrieved May 16, 2009. 
  4. ^ a b c d McAuliff, Michael (May 15, 2009). "GOPer's 'Jew' gibe". New York Daily News. p. 4. Retrieved May 25, 2009. 
  5. ^ "Doug Thompson, Stephens Media, "Motorcycle helmet, tarp bill stall in committee"". Archived from the original on March 9, 2009. Retrieved May 18, 2009. 
  6. ^ Arkansas Gazette, Little Rock, Arkansas, November 9, 1978.
  7. ^ Arkansas Outlook, Republican Party newsletter, November–December 1968.
  8. ^ Arkansas Secretary of State, Democratic gubernatorial primary election returns from 1982
  9. ^ "Senator Kim Hendren (R)". Retrieved May 18, 2009. 
  10. ^ "House Bill 1834" (PDF). State of Arkansas Legislature. 14 December 2016. Retrieved March 3, 2017. 
  11. ^ Brantley, Max. "Bill introduced to ban Howard Zinn books from Arkansas public schools". Arkansas Times. Retrieved 2017-03-03. 
  12. ^ [1]
  13. ^ 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. 
Preceded by
Mary Lou Slinkard
Arkansas State Representative
for District 92 (Benton County)

Kim Dexter Hendren

Succeeded by
Preceded by
Brenda Gullett
Arkansas State Senator for District 9

Kim Dexter Hendren

Succeeded by
Bruce Holland
Preceded by
Denny Altes
Minority Leader of the Arkansas State Senate

Kim Dexter Hendren

Succeeded by
John Burris
Preceded by
Jim Hendren
Arkansas State Representative
for District 1 (Benton County)

Kim Dexter Hendren

Succeeded by
David Haak
Preceded by
Jim R. Caldwell
Arkansas State Senator for District 8

Kim Dexter Hendren

Succeeded by