The Herald Leader in Siloam Springs reports today that a section of U.S. Highway 412 will soon bear the name of their own State Rep. Jonathan Barnett. Although the Highway Commssion voted to rename this strech in January, he tells the paper that he had no idea of the plans.
“The Highway Commission named that without my knowledge,” Barnett said.
Barnett served as an appointee of Gov. Mike Huckabee on the Highway Commission from January 1999 to January 2009, where he advocated improving this bypass along Highway 412 in his hometown just over the Oklahoma border. Barnett owns Barnett Construction located on this same stretch of highway.
Barnett was elected to the House of Representative in 2008. In the previous legislative session, he was the driving force behind the proposal to raise the state sales tax by half a cent to fund highway improvements. The proposed highway tax increase will appear on the ballot 2012.
However, Barnett’s plans for 2012 are still unclear. Republican Robin Lundstrum told the Tolbert Report last month that she is strongly considering challenging Barnett in the GOP primary next May. In addition, Barnett has been mentioned as a possible candidate for the State Senate district where Sen. Kim Hendren is term-limited. Hendren’s son, Jim Hendren,
is also considering running has announced on Facebook he will seek the seat.
Last month, Barnett told me, "I am keeping all my options open."