Mulberry Mayor Gary D. Baxter, who is a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, has announced his intent to run for District 75 state representative.
District 75 covers Mulberry, Kibler and Dyer in Crawford County and all or parts of Greenwood, Lavaca, Central City, Barling and Chaffee Crossing in Sebastian County.
Baxter will run as a Republican to replace incumbent state Rep. Charlotte Douglas.
Baxter said he plans to assist on bringing jobs and industry to all of District 75 and will be accessible to all of his constituents.
“As mayor of Mulberry, I have been instrumental to bring in industry and improve city streets, water and sewer systems, senior centers and city parks,” Baxter said. “I feel my greatest accomplishment was securing of the only processing plant in the United States totally dedicated to processing edamame.”
American Vegetable Soybean and Edamame Inc. represents a more than $10 million facility investment with more than 100 employees. A 2014 expansion brought an additional 41 jobs. Mulberry became the “Edamame Capital,” with the yearly Edamame Festival bringing large crowds to the area.
“With my experience in recruiting industry and jobs, I believe that will make me an asset to District 75 and the Arkansas House of Representatives,” Baxter said. “My vision for our region includes completion of Interstate 49 and the intermodal port on the Arkansas River as evidenced by a letter I recently wrote to President Trump requesting him to direct the completion of these projects.”
Baxter served more than 27 years active duty military, holding 11 ranks and serving as instructor master navigator and flight evaluator throughout the United States and in several overseas locations.
He was a professor of aerospace studies at the University of Arkansas and commander of the Air Force ROTC Detachment 30 at the University of Arkansas. He served six years as minister of administration and education at First Baptist Church in Lavaca and seven years as executive pastor of Summer Grove Baptist Church in Shreveport, La. He developed and administered a more than $4 million budget and $16 million building program and directly and indirectly supervised 139 employees including 10 ministers.
Baxter is serving his second four-year term as mayor of Mulberry.
Baxter grew up in Crawford County and graduated from Arkansas Tech and received his master’s degree in management from Webster University. He also is a graduate of the Community Development Institute Central and University of Central Arkansas where he received the coveted Ernest L. Whitelaw award as the top graduate. He is currently president of the board of directors for Western Arkansas Planning and Development District and has served as vice president for the board of directors of Crawford County Senior Citizens Council and as executive committee board member and vice president District 4 for Arkansas Municipal League.
He is an executive board member and second vice president of the Fort Smith Regional Alliance and a board member of the Crawford County Conservation District. Baxter is a lifetime endowment member of the National Rifle Association, life member of Bass Anglers Sportsman Society and life member of the Military Officers Association of America. He is a member of American Legion Post 149, Lions Club, and Community Outreach Committee for Arkansas Tech - Ozark Campus. He and Kay are members of Kibler Baptist Church.
He has been married to his wife, Kay, for 52 years. They have one son, one daughter and seven grandchildren. He and Kay are members of Kibler Baptist Church.