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Hutchinson to run for state Senate

Former Republican state Rep. Jeremy Hutchinson of Little Rock tells blogger Jason Tolbert he will run for the Distrct 22 seat in the state Senate, now held by the term-limited Democrat Shane Broadway of Bryant.

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A statue statute

Jeremy Hutchinson should be glad James P. Clarke’s been dead since 1916. If the temperamental former Arkansas lawmaker were alive today, he may be tempted to spit on Hutchinson.

Clarke was an Arkansas politician and U.S. senator at the turn of the 20th century. Known for his violent temper, Clarke once spit on another state legislator and then pulled a gun on the man.

Hutchinson, a former state legislator himself, probably would have rankled Clarke for an effort he made in 2001 to replace Clarke’s statue in the U.S. Capitol.

Hutchinson said an article Sunday about the relocation of Clarke’s statue from the Capitol to the underground Capitol Visitors Center reminded him of his bid to replace the statue.

Hutchinson filed a bill in 2001 that would have commemorated civil rights leader Daisy Bates with a statue at the Capitol.

“It made me wish we had been able to replace the statues of two obscure politicians with someone who more adequately reflected the greatness of the people of Arkansas,” Hutchinson said.

State legislatures have the authority to remove or replace one or both of the statues representing each state among the statuary collection. Arkansas’ other contribution is Uriah Rose, a charter member of the American Bar Association and founder of Rose Law Firm in Little Rock.

The requirements are that the statue must be made of either marble or bronze, the state must pick up the tab and the monument must be of a deceased state resident of historical or military significance.

Hutchinson’s bill died in committee, blocked by a Democrat who didn’t think a Republican should be sponsor of such a measure, Hutchinson said.

If state lawmakers revive the effort in 2009, it will represent an ironic turnaround from their predecessors nine decades ago who voted to honor Clarke.

Historians called Clarke an “avowed white supremacist,” while Bates is known best for being a mentor to the nine students who integrated Little Rock Central High School in 1957.

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