Publisher and Politician Warwick Sabin Stays on the Issues

Arkansas Business 20th Annual 40 Under Forty
The original Class of 2003 profiles
2013 Updates from this week's digital edition of Arkansas Business.

Warwick Sabin was already an experienced political hand when he decided to run for political office.

It’s probably a good thing Sabin knew what he was getting into.

In his first term as District 33 representative, Sabin was part of not only one of the longest General Assembly sessions in state history but also one of the most challenging. Plus, Sabin continued to serve as publisher of the Oxford American literary magazine.

“There’s no doubt it’s difficult to do both,” said Sabin, a member of the Arkansas Business 40 Under 40 Class of 2003. “I’m not alone in that.”

Sabin has been a speechwriter for a U.S. ambassador, press secretary for former U.S. Rep. Marion Berry, a campaign manager for Mike Hathorn’s run for Congress and helped raised $200 million to build the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock.

Serving in an elective office himself seemed like a natural progression for Sabin, 36. “I’ve just been motivated by a desire to improve the state of my community,” Sabin, a Democrat, said. “I try to get involved in as many ways as I can.”

Sabin, elected last fall, set forth his goals to promote economic development, improve education, protect the environment and promote ethics and good government.

While the legislative session was the longest, at 100 days, since 1931 and opened with a flurry of partisanship over the Republican majority’s bills on abortion restrictions and voter ID, Sabin was pleased with many results. The Legislature voted to expand Medicaid and approved financing for construction of the Big River Steel mill in northeast Arkansas, and Sabin is happy to have gotten an ethics reform amendment on the ballot for 2014. All this made the “nonstop” 19-hour days worth it.

“Everything I was doing was interesting and rewarding,” said Sabin, a Manhattan native and University of Arkansas graduate who also studied at Oxford University. “I just consider myself fortunate I have a job I like and can fulfill my interest in public service.”