Arkansas State Senator
A native of Rector, Arkansas, Colonel Bookout was the SGA Vice President and an ROTC Distinguished Military Graduate from Arkansas State in 1955, with a BA in History and Political Science and a commission as an Armor officer. He served for three years with the First Armored Division and then returned to Jonesboro and joined the Arkansas National Guard, serving for 30 years and retiring in 1988 with the Legion of Merit, and the Arkansas Distinguished Service Award. Colonel Bookout began his political career in 1966 when he was elected to the Arkansas State House of Representatives. He went on to serve three terms in the House and twelve terms in the Senate for a total of 30 years service to the people of Arkansas. During his legislative career he was floor leader for several Governors, he was elected president pro term in 1989, and he later served as Majority Leader of the Senate. As a freshman legislator, Colonel Bookout was one of the original sponsors of the legislation to elevate Arkansas State College to University status in 1967. Over the next three decades he helped secure appropriations for most of the buildings on campus, including the Convocation Center, the Stadium and the Library, and for the first doctoral program. In 1997 he was honored as a Distinguished Alumni of Arkansas Stated University. One of Colonel Bookout's most rewarding accomplishments was as the sole sponsor for the bill that created the Arkansas State Academic Challenge Scholarship which, as of 1997, has provided over $28 million to over 11,000 Arkansas students.