Posted 6/17/2013 12:00 am
Arkansas Business 20th Annual 40 Under Forty
• The original Class of 1995 profiles
• 2013 Updates from this week's digital edition of Arkansas Business.
A defeat in what appears to be her last election hasn’t left Blanche Lincoln dwelling on the past.
“The best is yet to come,” said Lincoln, 52, the former U.S. senator. “It just keeps getting better.”
Lincoln was the U.S. Representative from Arkansas’ 1st District when she was an Arkansas Business 40 Under 40 honoree in 1995. In 1998 Lincoln, a Democrat, became the youngest woman elected to the Senate when, at 38, she defeated Fay Boozman.
The farmer’s daughter became chair of the Senate Agricultural Committee, the first woman to do so. She was the second woman to have a seat on the finance committee before losing her re-election bid to John Boozman in 2010.
Lincoln is still in Washington, now as a special policy adviser with Alston & Bird LLP of Atlanta, and was recently named to Alliantgroup’s Strategic Advisory Board, where she works alongside several former lawmakers.
In February, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. hired Lincoln — free to lobby on Capitol Hill after the required two-year “cooling off” period — as an outside consultant.
“They’re a great company. They’ve worked real hard to be part of the solution out there,” Lincoln said of Wal-Mart’s sustainability efforts.
At Alston & Bird, Lincoln has worked with the Waterway Council, the National Federation of Independent Businesses and the National Retail Foundation.
In the Senate, Lincoln helped establish the Delta Regional Authority and worked on notable legislation like the Child Tax Credit and the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act — something that contributed to her political demise.
Lincoln bemoaned the cost and time drain of running for office that, she said, keeps politicians from getting to know each other more personally.
She recalled Dale Bumpers, who vacated the Senate seat she won in 1998, telling her: “I just wish you could have known the Senate that I knew.”
Asked if she might run again someday, Lincoln said, “I’m not running. But I miss the problem-solving, bringing people together to take the steps to solve the problems we face.”
Instead, Lincoln, mother of twin 17-year-old boys, was looking forward to an early summer family reunion in Helena.
“I’ve got a horde of people coming,” she said. “I may have to put some of them outside.”