Our Honorary ChairsUnited States Senator, Arkansas
Senator Blanche L. Lincoln made history on November 3, 1998, when she became the youngest woman ever elected to the United States Senate. She is only the second woman to win a U.S. Senate seat representing Arkansas, following in the footsteps of Hattie Caraway, who was elected in 1932. Lincoln was sworn in as Arkansas’ 32nd U.S. Senator on January 6, 1999.
Since then, Lincoln has worked closely with colleagues from both sides of the aisle to advance issues critical to the future of Arkansas and America. Lincoln brings a common-sense approach to solving problems, working to build consensus between political extremes to get things done. As a young mother, Lincoln brings a fresh, pragmatic perspective to policy debates while striking an effective balance between public service and family life. Lincoln achieves that balance by working for results rather than publicity. “She’s not somebody that you see on Hardball and Crossfire every night because she’s got another life,” notes political commentator Charlie Cook, founder of The Cook Political Report.
Since 1999, Lincoln has compiled one of the most independent voting records in Congress on key issues such as taxes, the environment, education, health care, and agriculture. On virtually every issue, she works in a bipartisan fashion with her Republican and Democratic colleagues to craft the most effective public policy solutions. In addition, Lincoln has worked closely with the five other members of the Arkansas Congressional delegation and other state officials to encourage federal investment in Arkansas agriculture, transportation, and communities.
Lincoln is also a strong advocate for rural America, which she believes is too often discounted or ignored in political debates. In a Congress dominated by urban and suburban representation, Lincoln has emerged as the voice of farmers and rural families. She has fought throughout her career to establish the Delta Regional Authority (DRA), a one-stop resource to spur economic development in the communities of the lower Mississippi Delta region. The DRA became a reality in December 2000, and Lincoln continues to work to create fresh opportunities in the Delta.
In January 2001, Lincoln became the third woman to ever serve on the powerful Senate Finance Committee. Lincoln is the fifth Arkansas Senator in history to serve on the Finance Committee, joining the ranks of Senators James K. Jones (1893-1903), Joe T. Robinson (1917-1919), J. William Fulbright (1961-1974), and David Pryor (1983-1997). Lincoln’s Subcommittee assignments for the Finance Committee include the Subcommittees on Health Care, International Trade, and Taxation and IRS Oversight.
Lincoln also serves on the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee, the Special Committee on Aging, and Select Committee on Ethics. In addition, she serves as a member of the Senate Social Security Task Force and the Rural Health Caucus.
She is a member of the Senate New Democrat Coalition, a group of moderate Democrats committed to seeing results from government and who take a moderate approach to the legislative process. Lincoln is also a founding member of the Senate Centrist Coalition, a bipartisan group of Senators who recognize the importance of governing from the center.
In 2000, Senator Lincoln joined with eight other female senators to co-author “Nine and Counting,” a book about their experiences in public service and in the U.S. Senate. When the number of women in the U.S. Senate rose to 13 in 2001, a new paperback edition of the book was published to reflect their growing numbers. With the beginning of the 108th Congress in January 2003, the number of female Senators grew to 14.
Lincoln was first elected to public office in 1992 as a Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing the First Congressional District in Arkansas, and marking the first time a woman had ever won this post. She was a founding member of the “Blue Dog” Coalition, a group of socially-moderate, fiscally conservative Democrats.
Hailing from Helena, Arkansas where her mother, Martha Kelly Lambert, still resides, Lincoln comes from a seventh-generation Arkansas farm family. Her father, Jordan Lambert Jr., passed away in October 2002. Lincoln received a bachelor’s degree from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College in Lynchburg, Virginia and studied at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. Blanche and her husband, Dr. Steve Lincoln, are the proud parents of twin boys, Reece and Bennett Lincoln.