Sharon Priest

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Sharon Mary Priest (née Devlin born 12 September 1947) is a Canadian-American politician and businessperson. She was the Secretary of State of Arkansas from 1994 to 2003. Priest began her career with a distributor in Canada before moving to Little Rock, Arkansas in the 1970s. In Little Rock, Priest worked in finance and real estate prior to joining the city's board of directors in 1986. Additional positions Priest held for Little Rock was deputy mayor from 1989 to 1990 and mayor from 1991 to 1992. In 1994, Priest became the first woman to be elected Secretary of State in an Arkansas election. Priest was re-elected in 1998 and her tenure ended in 2003. Outside of politics, Priest was the executive director of the Downtown Little Rock Partnership from 2003 to 2015.

Biography[edit]

Priest was born on 12 September 1947 in Montreal, Quebec.[1] She worked in Canada with a distributor for the American company Munsey Products before moving to Little Rock, Arkansas upon her marriage in 1974.[1] While in Little Rock, Priest prepared taxes for H & R Block from 1976 to 1978 and worked at a real estate company she had opened from 1983 to 1986. She later was a membership director for a chamber of commerce from 1990 to 1994.[2][3]

During this time period, Priest started her political career as a member of the board of directors for Little Rock in 1986. For the city, she was the deputy mayor of Little Rock from 1989 to 1990 and reappointed to the board of director in 1990.[3] The following year, Priest became the mayor of Little Rock in January 1991 and held her mayorship until December 1992.[4] Running as a Democrat at the 1994 Arkansas gubernatorial election, Priest beat Julia Hughes Jones to become the Secretary of State of Arkansas.[5] With her win, Priest became the first woman to be named Secretary of State of Arkansas in an election.[1] Overall, Priest was the second woman to become Arkasnas's secretary of state as Nancy J. Hall was appointed after her husband died during his office term in 1961.[6][7]

Priest was reelected as Arkansas's Secretary of State in the 1998 Arkansas gubernatorial election after defeating candidate Rose Bryant Jones.[8] She remained as Secretary of State for Arkansas until 2003.[9] After her governmental position for Arkansas ended, Priest worked at the Downtown Little Rock Partnership from 2003 to 2015 as an executive director.[10] In the late 2010s, Priest became a bookkeeper for a plumbing company run by her son.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Hendricks, Nancy (3 May 2016). "Sharon Priest (1947–)". CALS Encyclopedia of Arkansas. Little Rock: Central Arkansas Library System. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  2. ^ "Priest, Sharon Devlin". Who's Who in America, 2005. 2 (59th ed.). New Providence: Marquis Who's Who. 2004. p. 3749. ISBN 0837969840. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  3. ^ a b "Priest, Sharon". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  4. ^ "Mayors of Little Rock". City of Little Rock. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  5. ^ "AR Secretary of State Race - Nov 08, 1994". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2 November 2019.
  6. ^ "Office of Secretary of State". CALS Encyclopedia of Arkansas. Little Rock: Central Arkansas Library System. 16 September 2019. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  7. ^ Gardner, Bill, ed. (2004). "The States". Pillars of Public Service: One Hundred Years of the National Association of Secretaries of State 1904–2004 (PDF). Washington D.C.: National Association of Secretaries of State. p. 51. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  8. ^ "AR Secretary of State - Nov 03, 1998". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  9. ^ Gardner, Bill, ed. (2004). "The States". Pillars of Public Service: One Hundred Years of the National Association of Secretaries of State 1904–2004 (PDF). Washington D.C.: National Association of Secretaries of State. p. 51. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  10. ^ Nerbovig, Ashley (8 December 2014). "Downtown Little Rock Partnership executive director to retire". Arkansas Democrat Gazette. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  11. ^ King, Cyd (22 October 2017). "World Services for Blind to honor Sharon Priest". Arkansas Democrat Gazette. Retrieved 1 November 2019.