Former Arkansas Democratic Sen. David Pryor passes away at 89

 April 21, 2024

Many in Arkansas were saddened to learn that David Pryor had passed away this weekend at the age of 89 due to natural causes.

Pryor had a decades-long career in Democratic politics that included time spent serving as governor, senator, and a member of Congress. 

Pryor advocated for seniors and taxpayers

The Hill recalled how Pryor was first elected to the Arkansas House of Representatives in 1960 where he remained until successfully running for Congress six years later in a special election.

Pryor left Washington in 1973 and was elected governor in 1975. He became a United States senator in 1979, a position Pryor held until his retirement in 1997.

Pryor was well known for his advocacy on behalf of senior citizens and led investigations into the nursing home industry.

As senator, he also helped to draft legislation aimed at providing taxpayers with greater protection when confronted by the IRS.

Tom Cotton calls Pryor a "true gentleman"

News of Pryor's death was met with tributes on social media, including from former President Bill Clinton, who praised him for being one of the state's "greatest servant leaders."

"David made politics personal — from his famed retail campaigning to his ability to calmly and confidently explain tough votes to his constituents," Clinton wrote.

"He was honest, compassionate, and full of common sense. He really loved the people he represented, and they loved him back," the former president and Arkansas governor added.

Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton spoke up as well, calling Pryor a "true gentleman and a statesman" who "will continue to serve as inspiration for our fellow Arkansans."

Governor recalls how Pryor fought "divisive racial politics"

Meanwhile, Arkansas Republican Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders pointed out that Pryor's "career defied easy definition."

She recalled how he was "a man with deep roots in Ouachita County who reached the heights of influence in Washington; a Solid South Democrat who stood strong against the Faubus machine; the architect of an Arkansas political dynasty who was just as comfortable in a Camden lumber yard as the Cambridge quad."

Sanders went on to say that "we can all thank him for his role in burying the divisive racial politics that infected Arkansas government before his tenure."

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