WASHINGTON – Congressman Bruce Westerman (AR-04) issued the following statement Wednesday (April 13) in response to the death of former Fourth District Congressman, Arkansas Supreme Court Justice, and Ouachita Baptist University President Ray Thornton:
“Congressman Ray Thornton was a gifted politician and statesman whose work reached across Arkansas,” Westerman said. “Twice a congressman, he took a stand for justice during one of our nation’s most trying times as a member of the House Judiciary Committee. Between his two tours of service in the House, Ray made his impact in higher education not only in Arkadelphia, but also in Fayetteville and Jonesboro. The universities he led turned out thousands of men and women who have made a lasting impact in too many fields to mention. Though he retired from higher education and Congress, Ray’s dedication to the Natural State continued with his service on the Arkansas Supreme Court. His life was one of service to his fellow man and dedication to his state and nation.”
Thornton served as Arkansas Attorney General from 1971-1973, Fourth District Congressman from 1973-1979, director of Ouachita Baptist University from 1979-1980, president of Arkansas State University from 1980-1984, president of the University of Arkansas from 1984-1989, Second District Congressman from 1991-1997, and Associate Justice on the Arkansas Supreme Court from 1997-2005.