Bill Gossage

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Billy Dale "Bill" Gossage

Arkansas State Representative
for District 82
Assumed office 
Preceded by Lori Benedict

Born August 30, 1957
Ozark, Franklin County
Arkansas, USA
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Latonya D. "Tonya" Gossage
Children John Jacob Gossage
Alma mater Arkansas Tech University

University of Arkansas

Occupation Educator
Religion Assembly of God

Billy Dale Gossage, known as Bill Gossage (born August 30, 1957),[1] is an educational administrator from his native Ozark in Franklin County in northwestern Arkansas, who has been since 2013 a Republican state representative for District 82, which encompasses parts of Franklin, Crawford, and Madison counties.[2][3]


Gossage graduated in 1979 with dual bachelor's degrees in History and Political Science from Arkansas Tech University in Russellville. In 1991, he received a master's degree in Counseling from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. Since 2001, he has been an assistant superintendent in the Ozark School District. Previously from 1993 to 2001, he was a high school principal and counselor for the Ozark system. From 1981 to 1992, he was a counselor for the County Line School District, also located in Franklin County.[2][3]

He is a member of the Assembly of God Church in Paris in Logan County. He is also affiliated with the Chamber of Commerce, Gun Owners of America, the National Rifle Association, the Farm Bureau, and the Arkansas Cattleman's Association.[2]

He and his wife, Latonya D. "Tonya" Gossage (born 1966), have a son, John Jacob Gossage (born 1988).[2]

Political life

In 2012, Gossage was unopposed for the Republican nomination in House District 82. The seat opened when Republican Lori Benedict ran for reelection in reconfigured District 61 but was defeated by the Democrat Scott Balz. Gossage himself unseated the previous representative from District 83, the Democrat Leslee Milam Post, 6,804 votes (63.5 percent) to 3,909 (36.5 percent).[4]

In 2010, Post had been elected by default when the Republican candidate, Thomas Lile "Tom" Fite (born 1944), was disqualified from the ballot by a judge in Pulaski County who declared that Fite's guilty plea in 1984 to Medicaid fraud constituted an "infamous crime."[5]Though Tom Fite's name remained on the ballot, his votes were not counted.[6]In 2012, Fite's wife, Republican Charlene Fite, an educator from Van Buren, won in the reconfigured District 80 seat encompassing parts of Crawford and Washington counties.[7]

Gossage serves on these House committees: (1) Advanced Communications and Information Technology, (2) Aging, Children and Youth, (3) Legislative and Military Affairs, and (4) Revenue and Taxation.[3]

Representative Gossage voted to override the vetoes of then Democratic Governor Mike Beebe to enact legislation requiring photo identification for casting a ballot in Arkansas and to ban abortion after twenty weeks of gestation; he was a co-sponsor of both of these bills. Gossage supported other pro-life measures too: to ban abortion whenever fetal heartbeat is detected, to forbid the inclusion of abortion in the state insurance exchange, and to make the death of an unborn child a felony in certain cases. On Second Amendment matters, Gossage co-sponsored legislation to allow the concealed carry of firearms on church and university properties and to prevent the governor from regulating firearms in an emergency.[8]

Gossage co-sponsored legislation to amend state income tax rates. He voted for a spending cap on the state budget, but the measure failed by two House votes. He voted to make the office of prosecuting attorney in Arkansas nonpartisan. He voted for the bill, signed by Governor Beebe, to permit the sale of up to five hundred gallons per month of unpasteurized whole milk directly from the farm to consumers. He backed a measure to prohibit the closure of public schools after a two-year enrollment decline, but the measure was defeated on the House floor.[8]

Gossage endorsed former U.S. Representative Asa Hutchinson for governor in the 2014 Republican primary. Hutchinson went on to win his nomination and then to defeat the Democratic gubernatorial nominee, Mike Ross. Hutchinson won a second term in 2018.


  1. Bill Gossage (Dale). Retrieved on November 24, 2020.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Bill Gossage's Biography. Project Vote Smart. Retrieved on November 24, 2020.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Bill Gossage, R-82. Retrieved on January 6, 2014; material no longer on-line.
  4. District 82. Retrieved on November 24, 2020.
  5. Charlene Fite Running for State Representative, District 80. (August 25, 2011). Retrieved on November 24, 2020.
  6. District 83. Retrieved on November 24, 2020.
  7. District 80. Retrieved on November 24, 2020.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Bill Gossage's Voting Records. Project Vote Smart. Retrieved on November 24, 2020.