McKen­zie an­nounces bid for dad’s House seat

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NORTHWEST ARKANSAS - DOUG THOMPSON Doug Thompson can be reached by email at dthomp­son@nwadg. com or on Twit­ter @NWADoug.

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.


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