Mark Pryor

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Mark Pryor
Mark Pryor, Official Portrait, 112th Congress (2011) 1.jpg
United States Senator
from Arkansas
In office
January 3, 2003 January 3, 2015
Preceded by Tim Hutchinson
Succeeded by Tom Cotton
53rd Arkansas Attorney General
In office
January 12, 1999 January 3, 2003
Governor Mike Huckabee
Preceded by Winston Bryant
Succeeded by Mike Beebe
Personal details
Born
Mark Lunsford Pryor

(1963-01-10) January 10, 1963 (age 56)
Blytheville, Arkansas, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s)Jill Pryor (Divorced)
Joi Pryor
Children2
Education University of Arkansas (BA, JD)
Signature Mark Pryor Signature.svg
Website Senate website

Mark Lunsford Pryor (born January 10, 1963) is an American attorney and politician who served as a United States Senator from Arkansas from 2003 to 2015. While he ran for office as a Democrat and affiliates with the Democratic party, he registered to vote with no party affiliation. [1] Prior to becoming senator, he was Attorney General of Arkansas from 1999 to 2003.

United States Senate Upper house of the United States Congress

The United States Senate is the upper chamber of the United States Congress, which along with the United States House of Representatives—the lower chamber—comprises the legislature of the United States. The Senate chamber is located in the north wing of the Capitol, in Washington, D.C.

Arkansas State of the United States of America

Arkansas is a state in the southern region of the United States, home to over 3 million people as of 2018. Its name is of Siouan derivation from the language of the Osage denoting their related kin, the Quapaw Indians. The state's diverse geography ranges from the mountainous regions of the Ozark and the Ouachita Mountains, which make up the U.S. Interior Highlands, to the densely forested land in the south known as the Arkansas Timberlands, to the eastern lowlands along the Mississippi River and the Arkansas Delta.

Contents

Born in Fayetteville, Arkansas, Pryor is the son of former Arkansas Governor and U.S. Senator David Pryor. He received his bachelor's degree and law degree from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. He worked in private practice for several years until being elected to the Arkansas House of Representatives in 1990. He was elected the state Attorney General in 1998. Pryor announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate in 2001, running for the same Senate seat his father had held from 1979 to 1997. He was elected with 54% of the vote, defeating Republican incumbent Tim Hutchinson.

Fayetteville, Arkansas City in Arkansas, United States

Fayetteville is the third-largest city in Arkansas and county seat of Washington County. The city is centrally located within the county and has been home of the University of Arkansas since the institution's founding in 1871. Fayetteville is on the outskirts of the Boston Mountains, deep within the Ozarks. Known as Washington until 1829, the city was named after Fayetteville, Tennessee, from which many of the settlers had come. It was incorporated on November 3, 1836 and was rechartered in 1867. The four-county Northwest Arkansas Metropolitan Statistical Area is ranked 105th in terms of population in the United States with 463,204 in 2010 according to the United States Census Bureau. The city had a population of 73,580 at the 2010 Census.

David Pryor United States politician

David Hampton Pryor is an American politician and former Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives and United States Senator from the State of Arkansas. Pryor also served as 39th Governor of Arkansas from 1975 to 1979 and was a member of the Arkansas House of Representatives from 1960 to 1966. He served as the interim chairman of the Arkansas Democratic Party, following Bill Gwatney's assassination.

Arkansas House of Representatives lower house of the Arkansas General Assembly

The Arkansas House of Representatives is the lower house of the Arkansas General Assembly, the state legislature of the US state of Arkansas. The House is composed of 100 members elected from an equal amount of constituencies across the state. Each district has an average population of 29,159 according to the 2010 federal census. Members are elected to two-year terms and, since the 2014 Amendment to the Arkansas Constitution, limited to sixteen years cumulative in either house.

He was reelected with no Republican opposition in 2008. During the 112th Congress he served as the chairman of the Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance. Pryor ran for reelection in 2014, but was defeated by Republican Tom Cotton. [2]

2008 United States Senate election in Arkansas

The 2008 United States Senate election in Arkansas was held on November 4, 2008. Incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Mark Pryor decided to run for a second term. No Republican filed to challenge him. His only opponent was Green Party candidate Rebekah Kennedy. He won re-election with almost 80% of the vote.

2014 United States Senate election in Arkansas

The 2014 United States Senate election in Arkansas was held on November 4, 2014, to elect a member of the United States Senate to represent the state of Arkansas, concurrently with the election of the Governor of Arkansas, as well as other elections to the United States Senate in other states and elections to the United States House of Representatives and various state and local elections.

Tom Cotton United States Senator from Arkansas

Thomas Bryant Cotton is an American politician serving as the junior United States Senator for Arkansas since January 3, 2015. He is a member of the Republican Party.

Early life, education, and early political career

Pryor was born in Fayetteville, Arkansas, to the former state First Lady Barbara Jean (Lunsford) and former Governor and U.S. Senator David Hampton Pryor. He attended Little Rock Central High School and Walt Whitman High School in Maryland, graduating in 1981. [3] [4] He graduated from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville in 1985 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and went on to receive his Juris Doctor from the university's law school in 1988. During college, he was a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.

Little Rock Central High School historic school in Little Rock, Arkansas, USA

Little Rock Central High School (LRCHS) is an accredited comprehensive public high school in Little Rock, Arkansas, United States. The school was the site of forced desegregation in 1957 after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that segregation of public schools was unconstitutional three years earlier. This was during the period of heightened activism in the Civil Rights Movement.

A Bachelor of Arts is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate course or program in either the liberal arts, sciences, or both. Bachelor of Arts programs generally take three to four years depending on the country, institution, and specific specializations, majors, or minors. The word baccalaureus should not be confused with baccalaureatus, which refers to the one- to two-year postgraduate Bachelor of Arts with Honors degree in some countries.

History Past events and their record

History is the study of the past as it is described in written documents. Events occurring before written record are considered prehistory. It is an umbrella term that relates to past events as well as the memory, discovery, collection, organization, presentation, and interpretation of information about these events. Scholars who write about history are called historians.

Prior to entering politics, Pryor worked as a private practice attorney. He was a member of the Arkansas House of Representatives from 1991 to 1995. In 1994, he ran for Arkansas Attorney General, challenging incumbent Winston Bryant in the Democratic primary. Pryor lost 58%-42%. [5] In 1998, he ran for the same position again and became the Democratic Party nominee. He defeated Republican nominee Betty Dicky, the Redfield City Attorney, 59%-41%. He won all but four counties in the state: Benton, Boone, Marion, and Baxter. [6] He was also delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 2000.

Arkansas Attorney General chief law enforcement and legal official for the U.S. state of Arkansas

The Arkansas Attorney General is an executive position and constitutional officer within the Arkansas government. The Attorney General is the chief law enforcement, legal officer, and lawyer for Arkansas. The position is elected every four years, e.g. 2006 and 2010, at the same time as the Governor of Arkansas.

Winston Bryant is a former Democratic Secretary of State (1977–1978), the 14th Lieutenant Governor (1981–1991) and attorney general (1991–1999) of the U.S. state of Arkansas.

Redfield, Arkansas City in Arkansas, United States

Redfield is a small city in the Pine Bluff metropolitan area of northwestern Jefferson county in the U.S. state of Arkansas. The city is situated on the Union Pacific Railway and is approximately 24 miles (39 km) south of Little Rock, the state capital. As of the 2010 census, Redfield has a population of 1,297.

U.S. Senate

Pryor was recognized for providing a high level of constituent service, and he helped to secure millions of dollars in highway funds for the state. Pryor was also a committed advocate of the state’s military families; he guided the SACRIFICE Act to passage, thus providing families of those injured in combat more timely and reliable medical care. [7]

Elections

2002

In late 2001, Pryor announced his candidacy for the Senate seat held by Tim Hutchinson, who six years earlier had become the first Arkansas Republican to serve in that body since Reconstruction. The seat had been held by his father David Pryor (also a former Arkansas governor), who actively campaigned for his son. Pryor defeated Hutchinson 54% to 46% and was the only Democratic candidate for the Senate to defeat a Republican incumbent in that election cycle.

2008

Pryor won reelection in 2008 without a Republican opponent. There had been speculation that former Governor Mike Huckabee would run against Pryor if his presidential bid was unsuccessful, but on March 8, Huckabee said he would not contest the race. [8] The only Republican to express interest in the race, health care executive Tom Formicola, decided not to run. [9] Pryor's only announced opponent was Green Party candidate Rebekah Kennedy, whom he defeated 80% to 20%.

2014

Pryor ran for reelection to a third term in 2014, against Republican U.S. House Rep. Tom Cotton.

In March 2014, during an MSNBC news segment regarding the Senate race, Pryor said that Cotton gave off a "sense of entitlement" to a seat in the Senate due to his service in the military. [10] After receiving much criticism for the remark, Pryor later said he was not attacking Cotton’s military service, but his perceived lack of accomplishments in the House: "But the point remains that he's been in the House now for a little over a year, he hasn't passed any legislation. There's not one thing he's done for Arkansas." [11]

FactCheck.org called two ads aired by Pryor's 2014 Senate campaign misleading in their criticisms of Paul Ryan's Medicare plan, supported by his opponent. [12]

Pryor lost to Cotton by a 57% to 39% margin.

Tenure

Somewhat atypically, he was, for 19 days in January 2009, the Baby of the Senate, despite not having previously held that distinction during his first term, because of the defeat of the younger John E. Sununu. Pryor was the oldest Senator (at age 45) to become "Baby of the Senate."[ citation needed ]

In June 2007, before the annual Arkansas Democratic Party Jefferson-Jackson dinner, Pryor announced his endorsement of his colleague Sen. Hillary Clinton for the President of the United States. [13]

In 2013, Pryor voted with President Obama 90% of the time. [14]

Since 2009, Pryor's top three donors have been lawyers ($1,131,431), leadership PACs ($429,149), and lobbyists ($323,769). [15]

Fiscal policy

On February 13, 2009, Pryor voted to pass the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.[ citation needed ]

On April 16, 2012, Pryor was the only Democratic Senator to vote against the "Buffett Rule," which was defeated 51 voting in favor to 45 voting against cloture of the Filibuster. [16] [17]

In April 2014, the United States Senate debated the Minimum Wage Fairness Act (S. 1737; 113th Congress). The bill would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) to increase the federal minimum wage for employees to $10.10 per hour over the course of a two-year period. [18] The bill was strongly supported by President Barack Obama and many of the Democratic Senators, but strongly opposed by Republicans in the Senate and House. [19] [20] [21] Pryor opposed the bill. [20] Pryor was up for election in 2014 and was at that time considered "the Senate's most vulnerable incumbent." [22]

Estate tax

In June 2006, Pryor voted against repeal of the federal estate tax. [23] In 2013, Pryor and Senator John Boozman (R-AR) were credited by Arkansas Farm Bureau president Randy Veach for their opposition to President Obama's plan to raise the estate tax. Pryor co-sponsored a bill that would implement a one-year extension on current estate tax rates. [24] [25] The bill did not pass. In 2008 Pryor voted against expanding the pool of people exempt from the estate tax. [26]

Health care

Pryor voted for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (usually called "Obamacare") in December 2009, [27] and later voted against the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010. [28]

Pryor has said that he would vote for Obamacare again. [29] [30]

Foreign policy

Pryor opposes bringing Guantanamo Bay prisoners to the United States for trial. [31]

On September 28, 2006, Pryor was one of 12 Senate Democrats who voted to adopt S.3930, the Military Commissions Act of 2006. [32] He voted against the flag burning amendment in June 2006.

On March 15, 2007, Pryor was one of two Democratic Senators to vote against a resolution aimed at withdrawing most American combat troops from Iraq in 2008. The vote, requiring 60 votes to pass, was 50 to 48 against. [33]

Social policy

In 2003, Pryor voted for a federal ban on partial-birth abortion. [34] He has voted in favor of the expansion of embryonic stem cell research. He voted against restricting UN funding for population control policies, prohibiting minors crossing state lines for abortion, and barring Health and Human Services grants to organizations that perform abortions. [35]

On December 18, 2010, Pryor voted in favor of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010. [36] [37]

Gun policy

In 2004, Pryor voted to extend the "Assault Weapons Ban". [38] [39]

In 2013, Pryor voted against a measure that would have required background checks for all firearms purchases. [40]

In March 2013, Pryor cosponsored a bill that would flag individuals attempting to buy guns who have used an insanity defense, were ruled dangerous by a court, or had been committed by a court to mental health treatment. It did not address the gun show loophole. The bill has not been passed into law. [41] [42]

Judicial nominees

On May 23, 2005, Pryor was one of the fourteen senators who forged a compromise on the Democrats' use of the judicial filibuster. This effectively ended any threat of a Democratic filibuster (and thus also avoided the Republican leadership's threatened implementation of the so-called nuclear option). Under the agreement, the Democrats would exercise the power to filibuster a Bush judicial nominee only in an "extraordinary circumstance." The threat of a filibuster removed, Republicans were able to force cloture on the three most conservative Bush appellate court nominees (Janice Rogers Brown, Priscilla Owen and William Pryor-no close relation), who subsequently passed a vote by the full Republican-controlled Senate. [43] He did, however, vote against the nomination of Samuel Alito to the U.S. Supreme Court. [44]

Legislation sponsored

Pryor introduced the Drought Information Act of 2013 (S. 376; 113th Congress) on February 25, 2013. [45] The bill that would authorize funding for the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) through 2018. [46] The NIDIS is "charged with providing timely information to prevent drought and extreme weather damage." [46] The bill passed the United States Senate on February 3, 2014.

Pryor introduced the bill "To repeal section 403 of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013" on January 27, 2014. [47] The bill would repeal the provision of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 that would reduce the amount of the annual cost of living increase to non-disabled military veterans under age 62. [48] The Congressional Budget Office estimated that enacting Pryor's bill would stop the reduction of $6.813 billion from the amount paid to veterans annually. [49]

Committee assignments

Post-Senate career

In March 2015, Pryor became a partner at the law and lobbying firm, Venable. [50]

Personal life

Pryor lives in Little Rock and has a son and a daughter, Adams and Porter. He is married to Joi Pryor, his high school sweetheart. They are members of the First Assembly of God in North Little Rock.

In 1996, Pryor was diagnosed with clear-cell sarcoma, a rare form of cancer, in his left leg. [51] His treatment and rehabilitation took 15 months, and he was told by one doctor that he might have to have his leg amputated, but it was discovered early enough and the cancer was successfully removed. [52]

Electoral history

U.S. Senator

2014

United States Senate election in Arkansas, 2014 [53]
PartyCandidateVotes%±
Republican Tom Cotton 478,819 56.50% N/A
Democratic Mark Pryor (incumbent)334,17439.43%-40.10%
Libertarian Nathan LaFrance17,2102.03%N/A
Green Mark Swaney16,7971.98%-18.49%
n/a Write-ins5050.06%N/A
Total votes847,505100.0%N/A
Republican gain from Democratic

2008

United States Senate election in Arkansas, 2008 [54]
PartyCandidateVotes%
Democratic Mark Pryor (incumbent)804,67879.53
Green Rebekah Kennedy 207,07620.47
Total votes1,011,754100.00
Invalid or blank votes75,586n/a
Democratic hold

2002

Arkansas U.S. Senate Election 2002
PartyCandidateVotes%±
Democratic Mark Pryor 433,306 53.9
Republican Tim Hutchinson (Incumbent)370,65346.1

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References

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Further reading

Legal offices
Preceded by
Winston Bryant
Attorney General of Arkansas
1999–2003
Succeeded by
Mike Beebe
Party political offices
Preceded by
Winston Bryant
Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from Arkansas
(Class 2)

2002, 2008, 2014
Most recent
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Tim Hutchinson
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Arkansas
2003–2015
Served alongside: Blanche Lincoln, John Boozman
Succeeded by
Tom Cotton
Honorary titles
Preceded by
John Sununu
Youngest Member of the United States Senate
2009
Succeeded by
Michael Bennet