David Pryor

washington gridlock finalFormer U.S. Senator, Arkansas (D)

Washington Gridlock

Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Stern Center, Great Room, 7:30 p.m.

Many public commentators are of the opinion that the election of President Obama in 2008 ushered in a new era of extreme partisanship. Senator Pryor will discuss and evaluate the state of politics in our nation’s capital.

The Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues sponsored and planned this event in partnership with the Student Senate Public Affairs Committee.

David Pryor PictureBiography

David H. Pryor was born in Camden, Arkansas.  He received his B.A. from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville and his LL.B. from the University of Arkansas School of Law.
In 1960 he was elected to the Arkansas State House of Representatives where he served three terms.  In November of 1966 he was elected to fill the unexpired term of Congressman Oren Harris and served three full terms in the U.S. House of Representatives.  In 1974 he was elected Governor of Arkansas, a position he held for four years.  In 1979 Governor Pryor was elected to the United States Senate and served until he retired from the Senate in 1996.

Since retiring from the Senate, he became a Fulbright Distinguished Fellow of Law and Public Affairs, a lecturer in public policy at the Blair Center of the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville and a Distinguished Visiting Lecturer in Politics at Lyon College. Pryor was a fellow and subsequent director at the Institute of Politics at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.  He has served on the board of Winrock International and board of directors of the First Commercial Corporation.  In 1999 he volunteered with the International Rescue Committee and assisted in refugee camps in Albania for a three-week period during the Kosovo war.

He is presently a managing director of Herrington, Incorporated, an investment firm in Little Rock in addition to serving as a consultant to the Federal Express Corporation.  He served as an at-large director of the board of Heifer Project International, Inc. Pryor is also a member of the board of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in Washington D.C.  David Pryor was appointed by Governor Mike Beebe to the board of trustees for the University of Arkansas System, and he is currently serving a ten-year term.

Pryor has received an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from the University of Arkansas and Honorary Doctorates from Lyon College, Henderson State University and Hendrix College.  He is past trustee of the William J. Clinton Presidential Foundation and served for two years as the first dean of the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service.

As a senator he chaired the Senate Special Committee on Aging, was a member of the Senate Agricultural Committee and a member of the Senate Finance Committee, chairing the IRS Oversight Committee.  In 1988 he sponsored and passed into law the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights legislation.  For over 10 years he was a member of the Senate Ethics Committee.  He was elected secretary of the Democratic Conference and, in 2008, served as interim chair of the Democratic Party of Arkansas.

In September 2008, his autobiography A Pryor Commitment was published.  The book chronicles his four decades of dedication to politics, government and public service.
David and his wife Barbara are founders of the Barbara and David Pryor Center for Oral and Visual History at the University of Arkansas.

 Video from the Lecture