State Representative Sheilla Lampkin of Monticello died of ovarian cancer on Saturday at the age of 70. Earlier in the week, Lampkin announced she was withdrawing her re-election effort due to the malady.
First elected to the state House in 2010, Lampkin was in her third term seeking a fourth. Lampkin, a Democrat, comfortably carried the district encompassing parts of Drew and Ashley counties with 55.4 percent of the vote in 2015. Democratic officials say the party will seek to nominate a candidate for the House District 9 race by the Secretary of State’s August 25th certification deadline. Republican Jim Hall is running for the seat.
Lampkin was a public school teacher for 30 years in south Arkansas and the former chair of the Arkansas History Commission before seeking legislative office. She most recently served as vice chair of the House Education Committee - one of the few committees where Democrats have enough numbers to steer debate.
Lampkin also was on the Arkansas Legislative Council, Joint Advanced Communications and Information Technology Committee, and the House Agriculture, Forestry and Economic Development Committee.
The long-time south Arkansas resident was born August 23, 1945 in Rohwer, one of two Arkansas towns that held thousands of Japanese-Americans in internment camps during World War II. She later attended high school in nearby Dumas. Lampkin earned her bachelor’s degree at Arkansas A&M (now UA-Monticell) and her master’s in special education at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.
The House Democratic Caucus released a statement on Lampkin’s passing and legacy.
"The Arkansas House of Representatives Democratic Caucus is deeply saddened to hear of the loss of Representative Sheilla Lampkin of Monticello. Representative Lampkin lived her life as a public servant. She began her career as a classroom teacher with a passion for students especially those in special education, dedicating over thirty years of service to the students of Drew and Desha Counties. After retiring, she spent six years as a member of the Arkansas House of Representatives where she served as Vice Chair of the House Education Committee. "
House Minority Leader Michael John Gray (D-Augusta) also offered thoughts on his colleague.
"Representative Lampkin was a legislator that led with her heart always striving to do whatever she could to help people and her compassion for children and families in her district set an example for every member of the General Assembly. She greeted everyone with a smile and always wanted to know how she could help. The people of Drew and Ashley Counties have lost a wonderful neighbor, the children of Arkansas have lost a dedicated advocate, and we've all lost a tremendous friend. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family."
As did RepublicanHouse Speaker Jeremy Gillam of Judsonia.
During my first term in the House, I had the privilege of being assigned a seat in the chamber next to Rep. Lampkin. She became not just a colleague but a dear friend.
I cannot count the number of times she brought gifts for my children and checked in with our family.
It was with this kind of generosity that she served District 9 and the entire state.
Before serving in the House, Rep. Lampkin taught school children. It was her passion for 30 years. The vast majority of those years she taught Special Education.
We all saw her shine most when she was able to share her love of public service with the students of Girls State every summer.
Until the day of her death, she never stopped teaching life's most important lessons.. to listen, to serve, and to love.
For those of you interested in diving into the laws governing special nominations, the Secretary of State's office provides the following:
Title 7 Elections
Chapter 7 Nominations and Primary Elections
Subchapter 1 -- Methods of Nomination
A.C.A. § 7-7-104 (2016)
7-7-104. Vacancy in nomination -- Alternative methods for filling -- Tie vote.
(a) Except as provided in subdivision (b) of this section, nominees of a political party to fill a vacancy in nomination, as defined in § 7-1-101, shall be declared by:
(1) Certificate of the chair and secretary of any convention of delegates held within twenty-five (25) days of the Governor's letter certifying vacancy; or
(2) (A) A special primary election called, held, and conducted in accordance with the rules of the party.
(B) A special primary election may be called only if the special primary election can be called, held, conducted, and certified and certificates of nomination filed at least seventy (70) days before the general election.
(b) (1) In case of a tie vote for the same office at a general primary election, a vacancy in nomination for that office shall exist.
(2) (A) Nominees of a political party to fill a vacancy in nomination resulting from a tie vote for the same office at a general primary election shall be declared by certificate of the chair and secretary of an appropriate convention of delegates held within twenty-five (25) days of the Governor's letter certifying a vacancy.
(B) A convention of delegates shall be conducted in accordance with the rules of the party.
(c) (1) When a vacancy in nomination occurs as a result of death or when the person who received the majority of votes cast at the preferential primary election or the general primary election notifies the state committee of the political party of his or her intent to refuse nomination due to serious illness, moving out of the area from which elected as the party's nominee, or filing for another office, the state committee of the political party shall notify the Governor within five (5) days after the date of death or the date the party was notified of intent to refuse nomination as to whether the party chooses to fill the vacancy in nomination at a special election or a convention.
(2) If the party fails to notify the Governor within the five-day period, the vacancy in nomination shall not be filled nor shall the vacancy in nomination be filled if it occurred for any reason other than death, serious illness, the candidate's moving out of the area from which elected as the party's nominee, or filing for another office.
(d) (1) If the party notifies the Governor within the time prescribed in subsection (c) of this section of the desire to have a special primary election, the Governor shall issue a proclamation within five (5) days calling the special election and establishing the deadline for filing as a candidate for nomination, drawing for ballot position, and issuing and filing certificates of nomination. The special primary election shall occur no earlier than thirty (30) days nor later than sixty (60) days after the filing deadline. The candidate who receives the most votes in the special primary election shall be declared the nominee. There shall be no runoff election. In the event of a tie for the most votes, the nominee shall be determined by lot in a public meeting of the appropriate party committee.
(2) When the certificate of nomination is filed for a nominee who is filling a vacancy in nomination, the filing authority shall immediately certify the name of the nominee to the appropriate county board of election commissioners.
(e) (1) If the party notifies the Governor that it desires to fill the vacancy in nomination by convention, the convention shall occur no later than twenty-five (25) days after the notice is provided to the Governor.
(2) A convention shall be conducted in accordance with the rules of the party.
(f) (1) If the party's nominee is not selected in time to file his or her certificate of nomination with the appropriate party authority at least seventy-six (76) days before the general election, the nominee's name shall not appear on the general election ballot but the name of the person who vacated the nomination shall appear on the ballot, and votes cast for the name of the person appearing on the ballot shall be counted for the nominee but only if the certificate of nomination is duly filed at least forty-seven (47) days before the general election.
(2) (A) If votes for a nominee whose name does not appear on the ballot are to be counted under subdivision (f)(1) of this section, the county board of election commissioners shall post a notice at each affected polling place stating each election in which a vote for the person appearing on the ballot shall be counted for the nominee.
(B) A copy of the notice shall be included with the instructions sent to absentee voters.
HISTORY: Acts 1969, No. 465, Art. 1, §§ 5, 10; 1971, No. 261, §§ 3, 4; 1972 (Ex. Sess.), No. 42, § 1; 1975, No. 700, § 1; A.S.A. 1947, §§ 3-105, 3-110; Acts 1997, No. 1082, § 3; 2005, No. 2145, § 12; 2007, No. 1049, § 22; 2011, No. 203, § 2; 2011, No. 1185, § 8.