Monte Hodges (center) is pictured with Blytheville Middle School eighth-graders who are part of Paula Lipscomb and Veda Struble’s block one American Studies class. Hodges, a 1990 graduate of Blytheville High School, is in his third term as the District 55 State Representative for Northeast Arkansas.
By DAVID COOKE
Blytheville Schools PR Dir.
It would seem Monte Hodges could almost drive from Blytheville to Little Rock blindfolded considering the time he spends in both places. Although employed locally at Southern Bancorp, he can also be found for months at a time at the Capitol Building, in his third term as a member of the House of Representatives, District 55, helping the citizens of Northeast Arkansas.
However, Hodges is always available to talk with Blytheville School District students when he comes to the schools in September as part of “Take Your Legislator to School” month. Three years ago during the Regular Session the Arkansas General Assembly passed the resolution designating September as “Take Your Legislator to School Month”. The bipartisan initiative was motivated by a need for members of the General Assembly to fully understand the issues and challenges facing public schools in their districts, as well as the innovative solutions educators are developing.
Hodges, a member of the Blytheville High School Class of 1990, served one term on the Blytheville City Council, which helped him make up his mind to run for the State House of Representatives. “I first had a desire to want to serve, and I decided I could do a lot in my present position by becoming an advocate for helping others,” he stated. “What I helped do on the City Council gave me the confirmation to continue serving in a larger office politically.”
Blytheville Middle School principal Mike Wallace is always happy when Hodges comes to his school because of the “positive rapport” he has with the students. “Rep. Hodges enjoys interacting with our students and, as a result, there is a mutual trust and respect that is quite evident,” Wallace stated. “It is obvious to me Rep. Hodges takes his commitment to his constituents very seriously. He is always willing to help any way he can at the Middle School.
Hodges, who will volunteer at all of the four schools at various times this year, spent time Sept. 11 with the eighth-graders who are in Block One of “American Studies” taught by Paula Lipscomb and Veda Struble.
Hodges went on to say that he is particularly interested in helping make an impact in the northeast corner of Arkansas. “Northeast Arkansas has had a tendency to go unnoticed by others in the state for too many years, and I want to do what I can to make certain the people here receive the necessary support from this state,” he added.
While at BMS his purpose was to help motivate the students and help them aim to be the best they can be, whether it be academics, sports or just becoming their best on a daily basis. Hodges recalled that he came through the Blytheville School District and that it’s important he give back to his school.
Hodges doesn’t mind submitting bills that he believes will help Blytheville and the surrounding area, but he is perfectly fine with allowing others to have the spotlight too. “Certainly, it is easier when I am not carrying the lead on this,” he said. “But if I can co-sponsor or support a bill that makes life a little better for Northeast Arkansas, it’s still a ‘win’. Anything that makes a positive statement for our area is good for the constituents.”