An Arkansas Politics Hall of Fame may be an idea whose time has come

by Roby Brock ([email protected]) 867 views 

New Political Animals Club President Shane Broadway thinks the time is right to explore an Arkansas Politics Hall of Fame. His club counterparts around the state agree and so do the leaders of the Department of Arkansas Heritage and Arkansas Parks and Tourism.

In a Sunday statewide interview on Talk Business & Politics, Broadway and host Roby Brock discussed the concept, which only one other state – Louisiana – has instituted.

“I really like the idea because of that history… I’ve been trying to find a way, now that I’m taking over Political Animals, but I’ve been thinking about it for awhile of how we preserve a lot of the history of these elected officials, senators, all the way down to congressmen, who have served and preserve those documents and photos,” said Broadway, who serves as VP for University Relations for the Arkansas State University System.

He’s also a former Speaker of the House, State Senator and director of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education. In 2010, he narrowly lost a race for Arkansas Lt. Governor. Last week, Broadway took over as the central Arkansas Political Animals Club president from Rex Nelson, who has previously been supportive of the idea.

The possibilities for a hall of fame are endless. The hall could be incorporated into a museum to honor Arkansas’ rich political legacies, which include many players on the national stage from Clinton to Rockefeller. In addition to memorabilia being donated and displayed from Arkansas politicos, a hall of fame could be helpful in preserving the mountains of papers that are archived at universities and colleges around the state.

“There’s so much history there. And so, I think the idea of a hall of fame is especially intriguing,” Broadway added.

Recruiting a class of inductees would not be difficult considering the state’s generations of political players both in front of the cameras and behind the scenes. And of course, an Arkansas Politics Hall of Fame would be not only a highlight for state heritage, but it could serve as a major tourism draw.

“I think the concept of an Arkansas Politics Hall of Fame has a lot of merit and we’d welcome the opportunity to explore it,” Department of Arkansas Heritage Director Stacy Hurst tells Talk Business & Politics.

“This is such a great idea,” said Kane Webb, Director of the Arkansas Parks and Tourism Department. “I can’t believe it wasn’t done 20 years ago. Of course, Arkansas should have a political hall of fame.”

For now, Broadway plans to talk more with his club president counterparts around the state as well as Hurst and Webb to get an effort off the ground.

You can watch his full interview in the video below and feel free to share your comments, too.