Women Making History – Jimmie Lou Fisher

Image result for jimmie lou fisherJimmie Lou Fisher served as a Constitutional officer in Arkansas longer than any other woman in the state’s history (twenty-four years).  Her twenty-two years as Treasurer is also the longest any person has served in that post. (And unless the term limits rules for Constitutional officers are changed, it is a record that is likely to stand.)

Born in Delight, she grew up in Paragould and graduated from high school in Vilonia. (Her father was a coach and school administrator who moved the family around as he took new jobs.)  She attended what is now Arkansas State University.

Interested in politics from an early age, in 1970, she was elected Greene County Treasurer. She held that position until 1979 when she was appointed by Governor Bill Clinton to be the Auditor of Arkansas. (He had appointed longtime Auditor Jimmie “Red” Jones to be Adjutant General of the Arkansas National Guard.)

Gov. Clinton had hardly picked her from obscurity.  She had been active in his successful race for governor in 1978. Previously she was vice chair of the Democratic State Committee and a member of the Democratic National Committee from 1976 to 1978 and a member of the Credentials Committee of the National Convention in 1976.

Since Fisher had been appointed, she could not run to succeed herself.  When longtime Treasurer Nancy Hall announced she would not seek re-election, Fisher jumped into that race. She easily won the race and was re-elected each time until term limits took effect in 2002.

After announcing her retirement from politics (where she had been respected by both Democrats and Republicans for her handling of state finances), Fisher was pressed into service to be the Democratic Party standard bearer in the race for governor against incumbent Mike Huckabee.

Though not the first woman to seek a major party’s nomination for governor, she was the first to be a major party nominee.  She ran a close election, but was defeated by Huckabee.

In 2013, she moved back to Greene County to be closer to some family members there.

Women Making History: Sharon Priest

Sharon Priest served as Little Rock’s 70th Mayor from January 1991 until December 1992.  She was a member of the Little Rock City Board of Directors from January 1987 until December 1994.  She had previously been involved with the City Beautiful Commission prior to her service on the City Board.  She continued that involvement and was also a leader of the Arts and Humanities Promotion Commission, serving several terms as chair.

From January 1995 until January 2003, she was the 31st Secretary of State for Arkansas.  She was the first woman elected to the position. (Nancy Hall held it from 1961 to 1963 following the death of her husband, longtime Secretary of State C. G. “Crip” Hall.)

Following her service as Secretary of State, she directed the Downtown Little Rock Partnership from January 2003 until March 2015.

Women Making History – Nancy Hall, first woman elected to Arkansas Constitutional Office

Nancy Pearl Johnson Hall was married to longtime Arkansas Secretary of State C. G. “Crip” Hall.  Following his death, Mrs. Hall was appointed to succeed him as Secretary of State.  With this appointment, she became the first woman to serve as a Constitutional Officer in Arkansas.  As an appointee to that office, she could not run for it in the following election.

Instead, in 1962, she was elected to be the 33rd Treasurer of the State of Arkansas.  She held that position from January 1963 until January 1981.  Her campaign slogan during each election was “I’ll Take Care of Your Money.” She somewhat reluctantly decided to forego another term and did not run for office in 1980.

When she left office in January 1981, she finished a career working for the state which had started in 1925.   She died on January 1, 1991 and was buried next to her husband.

LR Women Making History – Nancy Hall

Nancy Pearl Johnson Hall was married to longtime Arkansas Secretary of State C. G. “Crip” Hall.  Following his death, Mrs. Hall was appointed to succeed him as Secretary of State.  With this appointment, she became the first woman to serve as a Constitutional Officer in Arkansas.  As an appointee to that office, she could not run for it in the following election.

Instead, in 1962, she was elected to be the 33rd Treasurer of the State of Arkansas.  She held that position from January 1963 until January 1981.  Her campaign slogan during each election was “I’ll Take Care of Your Money.” She somewhat reluctantly decided to forego another term and did not run for office in 1980.

When she left office in January 1981, she finished a career working for the state which had started in 1925.   She died on January 1, 1991 and was buried next to her husband.

Women’s History Month – Sharon Priest, first person to serve as LR Mayor and a Constitutional officer

glass-priestFirst woman to be both Little Rock Mayor and a Constitutional Officer: Sharon Priest

Sharon Priest served as Little Rock’s 70th Mayor from January 1991 until December 1992.  She was a member of the Little Rock City Board of Directors from January 1987 until December 1994.  She had previously been involved with the City Beautiful Commission prior to her service on the City Board.  She continued that involvement and was also a leader of the Arts and Humanities Promotion Commission, serving several terms as chair.

From January 1995 until January 2003, she was the 31st Secretary of State for Arkansas.  She was the first woman elected to the position. (Nancy Hall held it from 1961 to 1963 following the death of her husband, longtime Secretary of State C. G. “Crip” Hall.)

Following her service as Secretary of State, she directed the Downtown Little Rock Partnership from January 2003 until March 2015.

Women’s History Month – Nancy Hall, first woman elected to an Arkansas Constitutional Office

glass-hallNancy Pearl Johnson Hall was married to longtime Arkansas Secretary of State C. G. “Crip” Hall.  Following his death, Mrs. Hall was appointed to succeed him as Secretary of State.  With this appointment, she became the first woman to serve as a Constitutional Officer in Arkansas.  As an appointee to that office, she could not run for it in the following election.

Instead, in 1962, she was elected to be the 33rd Treasurer of the State of Arkansas.  She held that position from January 1963 until January 1981.  Her campaign slogan during each election was “I’ll Take Care of Your Money.” She somewhat reluctantly decided to forego another term and did not run for office in 1980.

When she left office in January 1981, she finished a career working for the state which had started in 1925.   She died on January 1, 1991 and was buried next to her husband.