Bart Hester
Majority Leader of Arkansas Senate
Assumed office
January 14, 2019
Preceded byJim Hendren
Member of the Arkansas Senate
from the 1st district
Assumed office
January 14, 2013
Preceded byJohnny Key
Personal details
Bart Franklin Hester

(1977-12-09) December 9, 1977 (age 43)
Cave Springs, Arkansas, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Ashley Dorsey
EducationUniversity of Arkansas, Fayetteville (BS)

Bart Franklin Hester (born December 9, 1977)[1] is a Republican member of the Arkansas State Senate for District 1 in Benton County.


Hester graduated with a Bachelor of Science in business management from the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, where he was a backup catcher for the Arkansas Razorbacks baseball team.[2] He is currently a real estate businessman. Hester and his wife, the former Ashley Brooke Dorsey (born 1978), have three children, Brooklyn, Addey Jo, and Nik. They reside in Cave Springs. Hester is a deacon of the First Baptist Church of Bentonville. He is a member of the National Rifle Association and the Arkansas Realtors Association.[2]

Political life

Hester was elected to the Senate from the revised District 1 in 2012, when he defeated former Democrat and moderate Republican Tim Summers, 4,506 to 3,869 in the primary election.[3] He was unopposed in the general election. Hester's first senate term expired at the end of 2016.[4] In 2016, Hester ran unopposed for a second term.[5] In 2020, Hester is running for a third term, and is facing Democrat Ronetta Francis in the November 3rd 2020 Arkansas Senate election.[6]

Arkansas State Senate, 2012-present

Hester served on the Arkansas Legislative Council and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Oversight Committee. He is assigned to these Senate committees: (1) Budget, (2) Children and Youth (vice chair), (3) City, County, and Local Affairs, (4) Revenue and Tax, (5) Rules, Resolutions and Memorials.[2]

Hester opposes abortion, having voted to ban the practice after twenty weeks of gestation or whenever fetal heartbeat is determined.[7]

In 2013, Hester joined the Senate majority to amend state income tax rates and to reduce the amount of weekly unemployment compensation benefits. He co-sponsored legislation to test the recipients of unemployment compensation for illegal use of narcotics. He voted successfully to override Governor Mike Beebe's veto of a bill to require photo identification when one casts a ballot in Arkansas. He voted against legislation to make the office of prosecuting attorney in Arkansas nonpartisan. He co-sponsored legislation to permit handguns to be carried on church properties and to forbid the release of information on the holders of concealed carry permits. He voted to allow university staff to carry concealed weapons. Hester supported legislation to permit the sale of unpasteurized whole milk within his state.[7] In early 2015, Hester sponsored the Intrastate Commerce Improvement Act, intended to supersede local gay rights laws which varied by region; it became law.[8][9]

Hester endorsed former U.S. Representative Asa Hutchinson in the 2014 gubernatorial election.[10] Hutchinson was handily defeated by Beebe in the 2006 election, but won the governorship in 2014 in a second run for the office.[11]


  1. ^ 91st Arkansas General Assembly Legislative Directory
  2. ^ a b c "Bart Hester's Biography". Retrieved December 5, 2013.
  3. ^ Brantley, Max. "Tim Summers announces for Senate". Arkansas Times. Retrieved 2018-02-11.
  4. ^ "Arkansas State Senate elections, 2012". Retrieved December 5, 2013.
  5. ^ "Arkansas State Senate elections, 2016". Ballotpedia. Retrieved 2020-10-24.
  6. ^ "Arkansas State Senate elections, 2020". Ballotpedia. Retrieved 2020-10-24.
  7. ^ a b "Bart Hester's Voting Records". Retrieved December 5, 2013.
  9. ^ Protect Fayetteville v. City of Fayetteville
  10. ^ "Hutchinson for Governor". Retrieved December 5, 2013.
  11. ^ "Mike Ross Concedes in AR Governor's Race, Hutchinson Declares Win". FOX16. 2014-11-05. Retrieved 2018-02-11.
Arkansas Senate
Preceded by
Johnny Key
Member of the Arkansas Senate
from the 1st district

Preceded by
Jim Hendren
Majority Leader of the Arkansas Senate