Jackson Hewitt Tax Service
L.J. BryantL.J. Bryant of Newport still has an eye toward public service even though he lost last week's election for Arkansas Commissioner of State Lands after besting a veteran legislator in the Democratic primary earlier this year.
"We need folks from our generation to step up and lead and be in public service," Bryant said.
Growing up in rural Jackson County, Bryant got his first taste of politics at the general store, where customers would mill around discussing issues or problems.
At 15, Bryant served in the Jonesboro office of the Democratic Party of Arkansas. And in the spring of 2007, he was the legislative liaison to the president of the state Senate. In 2008, he ran for a seat in the Arkansas House of Representatives but lost the election.
Bryant graduated from Hendrix College in Conway in 2008 with a degree in political science. He co-owns three Jackson Hewitt Tax Service locations in Jonesboro and serves on the governing board of Big Brothers Big Sisters of North Central Arkansas.
He said the secret to his success was "being lucky to have the support of a lot of good folks ... who have always encouraged me."
Bryant said he's going to focus on his business now, but if his supporters want him to run for another office in 2012, he'll do it.
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