Johnnie Bolin

Former State Rep. Johnnie Bolin has announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for District 26 state senator.

“With voter confidence low, it will be my goal to wage a well thought out campaign on the issues that affect District 26, as well as the Great State of Arkansas,” Bolin said in a news release announcing his candidacy. “Let’s make plans to see each other down the road.”

The seat,  currently held by term-limited Crossett Democrat Jimmy Jeffress, includes Ashley, Bradley, Chicot and Drew counties and portions of Desha, Lincoln and Cleveland counties.

Bolin is a former state representative, executive director of Arkansas Good Roads Transportation Council, and Ashley County judge. While serving as state representative, Bolin served as chairman of the House Transportation Committee, chairman of the Transportation and Culture Affairs Committee for the Southern Legislative Conference, and served on the Joint Budget Committee.

As a lifelong resident of southeast Arkansas, Bolin has an unrivaled understanding of the challenges facing economic development, according the news release.

During his travels around Arkansas promoting better roads, highways, interstates, streets and bridges, Bolin says, he has seen what improved infrastructure can do for a community. “Without highway improvement southeast Arkansas cannot reach its full potential,” he said.

Working as an hourly employee for many years, as well as a business owner and former county judge, Bolin says there are five areas he will address if elected: tourism attraction, economic development, infrastructure, education (pre-K through college) coupled with a well trained workforce, while maintaining agriculture’s status of Arkansas’ ranking in the top ten of ten different commodities.

“We in Senate District 26 must work to keep and gain in this national ranking,” he said.

Bolin, 68, was born and raised in Fountain Hill before his family moved to Crossett where his father started the family’s first business, a full service Esso station. As a young boy working at that station, Bolin says he learned very quickly that a satisfied customer was “the name of the game”.

After graduating from Crossett High School in 1961, Bolin worked for the Crossett Paper Operations, now Georgia-Pacific in Crossett.

In 1991, he accepted a position with Albany International and serviced accounts in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Tennessee, receiving outstanding sales awards two years in a row.

His civic involvement includes president of the Crossett Little League and later the Babe Ruth Baseball Association in the 1970s and early 1980s “providing over a four-year span approximately 1,350 young people a well rounded quality summer program at a very low cost to our area youth,” according to the news release.

Bolin has two children, Lisa Bolin McPherson and Stephen Bolin; and two grandchildren, John Marshall McPherson and Carter Bristow McPherson. He is an active member of First Freewill Baptist Church in North Crossett.

Bolin may be reached at 1-870-510-5784 or home/office 870-364-2829 or [email protected].

Former state Rep. Gregg Reep, D- Warren, and state Rep. Eddie Cheatham, D-Crossett, have also announced their candidacy for the District 26 Senate seat, and Mike Akin, a Monticello Republican, has created a Facebook page announcing his candidacy.