McKenzie announces bid for dad’s House seat
GRAVETTE — Gayla Hendren McKenzie of Gravette announced her bid for state representative today for House District 92 in northwestern Benton County, a seat currently held by her father.
“If it were me against my dad, I’d vote for dad,” McKenzie said in a telephone interview. Rep. Kim Hendren, R-Gravette, confirmed he will not run against McKenzie for another term in 2018. “I will support my daughter,” he said.
Hendren is one of the longest-serving lawmakers in Arkansas. He was first elected to the state Senate in 1978. He left politics in the 1980s but returned in a successful House bid in 2000. He has served in the Legislature ever since, including time in the Senate.
McKenzie holds a law degree from the University of Arkansas Law School and practiced law in Gravette before founding the KBVA 106.5 FM radio station in 1991. She spent 26 years programming and managing the station before selling it last year. She and her husband, Loyd, are opening a company that will manufacture stone products for construction and other purposes. Loyd McKenzie is also manager of a cattle and poultry operation.
Adult guardianship would be one particular area of interest for her if she is elected, McKenzie said, along with foster children’s interests, education and property taxes. An elderly Arkansan who falls into a situation where others have guardianship, such as cases in which someone falls seriously ill and has to have others manage his affairs, can find it difficult to impossible to ever regain control of his personal finances, she said.
“You can’t even hire your own lawyer because you can’t pay one with your own money,” she said.
This is McKenzie’s first bid for elective office. She is running as a Republican. She said she knows what she is getting into, thanks to her father’s long service.
“My father was the gold standard for constituency service,” McKenzie said “Ever since I was a young kid, I’ve seen people call him all day and all night. The problems of those who called him became his problems. I know that’s what it will take.”
McKenzie is also a sister of Sen. Jim Hendren, R-Sulphur Springs, and a niece of Gov. Asa Hutchinson.