Arkansas State Senator Keith Ingram (D-West Memphis) announced Friday morning that he will not seek re-election following his current term. Sen. Ingram’s service in the Arkansas legislature spans back to 2009 when he was first elected to the House of Representatives.
“It has been a tremendous honor and a privilege to serve the people of my district, and if you were to exclude this year, I have enjoyed working with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to make Arkansas a better place to live, work and learn,” Ingram said in an official statement. “There isn’t a day I walk the Senate chambers that I don’t think back and appreciate all those who came before me and what it means to be a member of this body,” he added. “I first walked onto the floor of the Arkansas Senate when I was eight years old, and I had a sense of awe for this institution and its elected leaders. I still carry that sense of awe for this institution to this day.”
After serving in the House from 2009 to 2012, Sen. Ingram was elected to Arkansas Senate. He is currently serving as Senate Minority Leader, which he was elected to upon joining the Senate. Since taking office, Sen. Ingram’s legislative priorities have included more robust ethics and campaign finance laws to protect the integrity of elections and policymaking. He has sponsored legislation to clean up the signature-gathering process used by organizations that want to place issues on the ballot.
“The last few years, serving the citizens of District 24 has been a lifelong dream realized,” said Sen. Ingram. “I was raised by parents who understood the need to serve and give back, and as a young man, I was so fortunate to have the opportunity to see public service in action. I worked my first campaign when I was nine, and the first vote I ever cast was in an Arkansas state senate race – for my father.
“I will never forget wandering the halls of the Capitol while my father was working,” he added. “I have seen, first-hand, what effective government can accomplish for our citizens and our communities, and I hope that my work here the last 13 years has had a positive impact on the lives of the men and women who sent me here.”
Sen. Ingram has consistently supported highway programs and economic development in all its facets, from enacting tax incentives to expanding job training and vocational education. He secured numerous grants for communities in District 24. He led the successful effort to prevent the closure of the Interstate 55 Bridge across the Mississippi River into Memphis, a move that would prove critical after the temporary closure of the Interstate 40 Bridge in early 2021.
“My decision to leave the political arena at the end of this year was not one I made hastily,” Ingram said. “From my time as mayor of West Memphis to my early days in the legislature, I was determined to be a builder. And for over 12 years, I’ve tried to do just that. I come from a time when your decision-making was guided by what was best for your district and the state and not what was expedient for the party or one’s next campaign. All too often, the good of the people is held hostage by those who are reckless, selfish, and shortsighted.”
Sen. Ingram’s retirement concludes a decades-long family legacy of service in the Arkansas legislature. His father, W.K. “Bill” Ingram, served in the Senate from 1963 until 1981, when he was replaced by his brother, Kent Ingram, who served from 1981 through 1990. Before his service in the legislature, Ingram served his community as mayor of West Memphis from 1987 to 1995.
Sen. Ingram is a businessman and was vice president of Razorback Concrete, a significant employer in 18 Arkansas cities.
“With my remaining time in the legislature, I intend to continue working to make the Delta a better place to work, learn and live,” said Ingram. “I will continue working to create opportunity for the next generation of east Arkansans with better jobs, a quality education, and affordable and accessible health care.
“As other term-limited legislators and those who have chosen to step aside, I hope that eager, forward-thinking leaders will take our place,” said Sen. Ingram. “The Arkansas legislature does not need more partisan tribal leaders; there are far too many of those walking the halls now. The legislature needs leaders who aren’t there to draw lines but to solve problems, cooperate and seek answers from outside echo chambers. While so many politicians race for the partisan fringes, Arkansans desperately need fresh perspectives to help steer us back to the center before it’s too late.”