Gravette’s McKenzie to run for state Senate

GRAVETTE — Rep. Gayla Hendren McKenzie, R-Gravette, will run for the state Senate District 35 seat, she announced Wednesday.

The state Board of Apportionment approved the district’s boundaries Monday. It stretches from the far northwestern corner of the state through western portions of Benton and Washington counties as far south as Farmington and Lincoln, taking in Siloam Springs along the way.

“I will continue to seek constituent input, speak up for the people and never shy away from asking the hard questions, taking the difficult stands or being a lone ‘no’ vote on a bill not supported by my constituents,” McKenzie says in her announcement. “I look forward to visiting with the people in Senate District 35 and welcome calls with questions or comments at (479) 787-6411.”

McKenzie’s brother, state Sen. Jim Hendren, I-Sulphur Springs, isn’t running for reelection in that district.

The state Board of Apportionment redraws legislative district boundaries every 10 years after each U.S. Census with the goal of equalizing population among districts. The board consists of the sitting governor, attorney general and secretary of state. Arkansas has 35 Senate districts.

McKenzie, 56, is serving her second term in the House. She serves on the Education Committee and the Aging, Children and Youth, Legislative and Military Affairs Committee.

McKenzie is a licensed attorney and small business owner. She founded the KBVA radio station in 1991 and owned, managed and programmed the station until 2017. After selling KBVA, McKenzie founded and currently operates a stone veneer manufacturing plant, Ozark Stone Designs of Gravette.

A graduate of Gravette High School, McKenzie earned her music education degree and her law degree from the University of Arkansas.

Candidate filing for partisan primaries begins Feb. 22 and ends March 1. Party primaries will be May 24.

State senators serve four-year terms and receive a base salary of $42,428. They also receive per diem and reimbursement for expenses.