Sebastian Leaders

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Jeffries, Peggy Sue Newlon

Peggy Jeffries was a senator from Fort Smith (Sebastian County) in the Eightieth and Eighty-first Arkansas General Assemblies, serving from 1995 to 1998. Although she served only one term, she was a significant forerunner of the extreme Republican Party lawmakers who would take over state government more than a decade after she left.  Peggy Sue Newlon was born on June 4, 1940, in St. James, Missouri, to Thelma Geneva Edgar Newlon, who was a homemaker, and Graydon Hopkins Newlon, a truck driver with England Brothers Truck Line who also had a career as a construction foreman with Southwestern Bell Telephone Company. Due to her father’s work, she attended first grade in Fayetteville (Washington County) and fifth grade in Mena (Polk County) but otherwise attended Fort Smith public schools at Trusty Elementary and Fort Smith Senior High School (Northside), graduating in 1958. In high school, Peggy …

Kizer, Bernice Lichty Parker

Bernice Lichty Parker Kizer was a lawyer and a path-breaking state legislator and judge in Arkansas in the second half of the twentieth century. After almost fifteen years in the Arkansas General Assembly, Kizer stepped down to seek election as a probate judge. Her subsequent victory made her the first woman in state history to be elected to a judgeship. Bernice Lichty was born on August 14, 1915, in Fort Smith (Sebastian County) to E. C. Lichty and Opal Lichty. She graduated from Fort Smith High School in 1932 and worked for two years as a grocery checker at Fort Smith’s first self-serve grocery store in order to save money for college. She initially attended Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri, …