An interesting race for Senate | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

An interesting race for Senate

Posted By on Tue, Jan 5, 2010 at 7:39 AM

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No, not for U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln's seat.

Blytheville Mayor Barry Harrison (pictured) is just about officially in the Democratic primary race to succeed term-limited state Sen. Steve Bryles.

This is the race where a previously announced candidate, retired Judge David Burnett of Osceola, has drawn deserved criticism for continuing to hear appeals in the West Memphis Three murder case while being an announced candidate for public office. Judicial ethics would prohibit a judge from doing this normally, but Burnett is retired and serving as a special judge on this case, which exempts him from the rule that requires judicial resignation when seeking another public office. He's also been doing a pretty good job of demonstrating his lack of judiciousness. And the WM3 case isn't the only one Burnett continues to hear. He's also presiding over an appeal -- on ground of ineffective counsel -- of a death sentence given before then-active Judge Burnett to an 18-year-old defendant who represented himself and argued for the death penalty.

Harrison's news release:


Blytheville – On Tuesday, Mayor Barry Harrison announced that he has formed an exploratory committee to seek the Democratic nomination for the Arkansas Legislature in Senate District 15.  State Senator Steve Bryles is term-limited and cannot run for re-election.

Harrison’s goals as a state senator will be to focus on bringing more jobs to Northeast Arkansas and standing up for Northeast Arkansas values.  

“My focus will be to bring new jobs and represent Northeast Arkansas values in the Arkansas Senate,” stated Harrison.  “As Mayor of Blytheville, I have worked to help bring over 3,000 new jobs to Mississippi County.  If elected, I will work alongside Governor Beebe to lower taxes and bring additional jobs to our community during these tough economic times.” 

Harrison is the current mayor of Blytheville and is serving his third term.   He is active in his community serving on many boards and commissions including as Chairman of the Great River Economic Development Foundation.   As the mayor of Blytheville, Harrison understands the importance of small businesses to economic development.   He has been a leading advocate for job creation by helping bring over 3,000 new jobs to Mississippi County.  

“I’m excited about the opportunities we have--working together--to make Northeast Arkansas a better place to live,” stated Harrison.  

Harrison was born and raised in Blytheville graduating from Blytheville High School.  He went on to graduate from Marion Military Institute (Alabama) and has a Bachelor’s of Science degree from Arkansas State University (ASU).  

He is an elder at First Presbyterian Church in Blytheville.  He and his wife, Lyn, have three children.  

Harrison plans a district wide tour during the month of January to meet voters and discuss his vision for making Northeast Arkansas a better place to live.

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