Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Affairs, Product Safety and Insurance Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) testifies before the Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee on Capitol Hill September 12, 2007 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
PINE BLUFF, Ark. - U.S. Senator Mark Pryor will give the keynote address during Spring Commencement Exercises for the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.
The free, public event will be held Saturday, May 11 at 3:00 pm in the Pine Bluff Convention Center Arena.
Pryor was first elected to public office in 1990 as a member of the Arkansas State House of Representatives. In 1998 he was elected Arkansas' Attorney General where he toughened laws against drunk drivers, enacted legislation to protect children on the Internet, prohibited unwanted telemarketing calls, and helped establish the Morgan Nick Alert System to locate missing and exploited children. In 2008, Pryor was elected to serve a second term in the U.S. Senate where he received more votes than any statewide elected official in Arkansas history.
During Pryor's first term as Senator, Pryor earned a reputation as a "voice of reason," working with both Democrats and Republicans to pass meaningful legislation for Arkansas and our nation. His bipartisan efforts have resulted in millions of highway dollars for Arkansas, the first increase in fuel economy standards in over 20 years and better benefits for our nation's troops while they are in combat and when they return.
Pryor serves on six Senate Committees, including the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee. He was recently named Chairman of the Subcommittee on Agriculture Appropriations-a position that will allow him to prioritize funding for federal programs that benefit Arkansas farmers, producers, and rural communities, and keep Arkansas's agricultural sector strong.
As a member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, Pryor is helping Arkansas address emerging transportation, technology and communications challenges. As Chairman of the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet, one of Pryor's main priorities is helping rural communities meet growing infrastructure needs, including the disparity in broadband services.
Pryor also serves on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee; the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee; the Senate Rules Committee; and the Senate Ethics Committee.
Pryor previously served on the Senate Armed Services Committee where he served as a tireless advocate for Arkansas' military personnel, their families and installations throughout the state. He authored the Tax Relief for Americans in Combat Act, now law, which enables soldiers to collect combat pay and take full advantage of other tax provisions, such as the Child Tax Credit. He also shepherded the SACRIFICE Act into law so families receive more timely and reliable medical information when their loved ones are injured in combat. Additionally, the law increased funding to help military medical units provide soldiers with the best care possible when they are wounded on the battlefield.
Pryor was born in Fayetteville on January 10, 1963 and grew up in both Arkansas and the Washington D.C. area. He received a B.A. in History and his law degree from the University of Arkansas and worked in private legal practice for over ten years. He has a son and a daughter, Adams and Porter.