Last weekend the House of Representatives lost a true champion of education, a smile we could all depend on in tough times, and above all a friend to all of us who serve in this Chamber.
Rep. Sheilla Lampkin passed away on July 23. She had just recently announced she was battling ovarian cancer.
She was serving her third term in the House representing District 9 which covers portions of Drew and Ashley counties.
Rep. Lampkin was a school teacher for 30 years, 20 of those years she spent teaching special education. She continued her interests in education by serving on the House Education Committee for two terms. She was vice-chair of that committee for the 90th General Assembly.
Before being elected to the House she volunteered as the museum director of the Drew County Museum helping to secure funding to rehabilitate and restore historic buildings.
We all saw her at her best when the House hosted Girls State every summer. Just weeks before her death, she proudly showed the girls of this year’s class her shirt and hat she wore at Girls State more than 50 years before. She loved teaching young women about public service and the importance of civil debate.
During her service in the legislature, she sponsored legislation to ensure that state employees who were parents of developmentally disabled adults could use their educational leave time for their children over the age of 18.
She also sponsored legislation which allowed DHS to place children in their care with families or individuals who had strong emotional ties to the child. Previously, DHS could only place children with relatives or foster families.
In a video she recorded two years ago she said "I just want to give back and do something to make Arkansas a little better."
Rep. Lampkin accomplished that. It was a privilege for all of us to know and serve with her.