Barbara Nix (1949–)

Barbara Ann Nix served as member of the Arkansas House of Representatives from Benton (Saline County). Nix taught for the Benton Public School District for thirty-eight years before running as a Democrat in 2008 for a seat in the Arkansas General Assembly. Nix left teaching in 2009 after winning a seat in the House of Representatives. She served one term.

Barbara Ann Farley was born on June 2, 1949, in Leavenworth, Kansas, to Ruth Farley and U.S. Army sergeant Embra Farley. Her father was stationed in Kansas at the time of her birth, but when she was three years old, he began working for Alcoa and moved the family to Benton. She has one brother, Paul Farley.

She graduated from Benton High School in 1967. She earned a BS in education in 1971 from what is now the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) in Conway (Faulkner County). That same year, she began teaching at Angie Grant Elementary, then called Eastside Elementary, in Benton, where she taught sixth grade for fifteen years. In 1982, she married former coach and Razorback football player Robert Albert (Bobby) Nix. They had a son, Richard, and a daughter, Kris.

Barbara Nix began teaching at Benton Junior High School in 1986. She taught at the junior high until her retirement and was certified to teach career orientation, history, and English. In 2003, Nix’s husband died.

In 2008, Barbara Nix ran as a Democrat for a seat representing District 28 in the Arkansas House of Representatives against Republican David McCoy. Nix won with 7,088 votes to McCoy’s 5,512. In 2009, Nix retired from teaching.

During her term in office, Nix was the primary sponsor on six House bills and co-sponsor on many more. She served as chairperson on two committees and as co-chair on seven committees. She supported acts that provided help to victims of domestic abuse and the disabled, funded improvements to roads and schools, and supported government agencies like the Arkansas State Library and the Department of Arkansas Heritage. She also was the primary sponsor on a bill that acknowledged the achievements of Saline County native and major league baseball star Cliff Lee. On February 20, 2009, Nix signed a citation recognizing the contributions of the W. A. Ashley Family to Benton’s Ralph Bunche Community.

In 2012, Nix announced that she was running for a second term in the House against Republican Kim Hammer. Hammer won the election by a narrow margin of 1,676 votes. Nix left the House in 2012 but continued to be involved in her community, serving on the Arkansas Education Association’s Board of Directors and the Benton Athletic Memorial Museum Board; she is also a member of the Benton Education Association. Some of her memorabilia and that of her husband are on display in the Benton Athletic Memorial Museum at Benton High School.

For additional information:
“Barbara Nix.” (accessed January 29, 2018).

“Representative Barbara Nix.” Arkansas State Legislature. (accessed January 29, 2018).

Cody Lynn Berry
Benton, Arkansas


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