David Pryor, former governor and senator of Arkansas, dies at age 89

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Former Arkansas governor and US senator, David Pryor, speaks, Nov 5, 2008, in Little Rock, Ark. (AP)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark, April 21, (AP): Former Arkansas governor and US sen David Pryor, a Democrat who was one of the state’s most beloved political figures and remained active in public service in the state long after he left office, has died. He was 89.
Pryor, who went undercover to investigate nursing homes while a congressman, died Saturday of natural causes in Little Rock surrounded by family, his son Mark Pryor, said. David Pryor was a heart attack and stroke survivor who was also hospitalized in 2020 after testing positive for COVID-19.
“I think he was a great model for public service. He was a great role model for politicians, but just for everyone in how we should treat each other and how we can make Arkansas better,” Mark Pryor, a former two-term Democratic US senator, said.
David Pryor was considered one of the party’s giants in Arkansas, alongside former President Bill Clinton and the late US Sen Dale Bumpers. He also served in the US House and the Arkansas Legislature, and remained active in public life in recent years, including being appointed to the University of Arkansas’ Board of Trustees in 2009. He also attended the inauguration of Republican Gov Sarah Huckabee Sanders in January 2023.
“David would be like a fish out of water if he were out of public service,” Bumpers, who served 18 years with Pryor in the Senate, said in 2006. “It’s his whole life.”
In a statement Saturday, Clinton called Pryor “one of Arkansas’ greatest servant leaders and one of the finest people I have ever known,” saying he “fought for progressive policies that helped us put the divided past behind us and move into a brighter future together.”
“David made politics personal – from his famed retail campaigning to his ability to calmly and confidently explain tough votes to his constituents,” Clinton said. “He was honest, compassionate, and full of common sense. He really loved the people he represented, and they loved him back.”

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