Charlene Fite

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Edna Charlene Barnes Fite

Arkansas State Representative
for District 80
Assumed office 
Preceded by Linda Collins-Smith

Born August 4, 1950
Place of birth missing
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Thomas Lile "Tom" Fite
Children Five children
Residence Van Buren, Crawford County
Arkansas, USA
Alma mater University of Tennessee

University of Arkansas

Occupation Educator
Religion Southern Baptist

Edna Charlene Barnes Fite, known as Charlene Fite (born August 4, 1950),[1] is an educator from Van Buren in western Arkansas, who is a Republican state representative for District 80, which includes the northern part of Crawford County, a portion of Van Buren, and Cedarville and extends through the Ozark National Forest into Washington County (Cane Hill, Lincoln, and Prairie Grove).[2][3]


Charlene Fite received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, Tennessee.[3] She received a master's degree from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, .[4]

Since 2000, Fite has been employed as a school psychology specialist by the public schools in Fort Smith. She was previously a special education teacher in Fort Smith except for one year in the middle 1990s in Pulaski County.[4]

A member of the First Baptist Church of Alma in Crawford County, Fite formerly served two terms as a board member of the Arkansas Baptist Executive Committee. She is a former officer of the Crawford County Republican Party.[4]

Political life

Fite's husband, Thomas Lile "Tom" Fite (born 1944), was the Republican legislative candidate in 2010 in the former District 83. His name 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." Democratic Representative Leslee Milam Post won the election by default.[2]Tom Fite's name remained on the ballot but his votes were not counted.[5]

In the 2012 Republican primary in the newly-drawn District 80, Fite defeated Terry Bibbs, 1,106 votes (54.2 percent) to 936 (45.8 percent). She then topped the Democrat Jack Norton in the general election, 6,173 votes (57.4 percent to 4,575 (42.6 percent). The District 80 seat was vacated by the Republican Linda Collins-Smith, who instead ran unsuccessfully for the state Senate in District 19. Meanwhile, Leslee Post was unseated in District 82, to which she was transferred, by the Republican Bill Gossage of Ozark in Franklin County.[6]

Fite is a member of these House committee: (1) Advanced Communications and Information Technology, (2) Aging, Children and Youth, Legislative and Military Affairs, and (3) Judiciary.[4]

Representative Fite in 2013 joined the required majority to override the vetoes of Democratic Governor Mike Beebe to enact legislation to require photo identification for casting a ballot in Arkansas and to ban abortion after twenty weeks of gestation. She co-sponsored both of those measures. Fite similarly supported related pro-life legislation 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. She voted for a proposed spending cap in the state budget, but the measure failed to gain approval by two votes in the House. She co-sponsored amended state income tax rates. She co-sponsored the bill to empower officials of religious institutions to engage in the concealed carry of firearms. Fite backed similar legislation to permit university officials to carry concealed weapons in the name of campus safety. She co-sponsored legislation to prohibit the governor from regulating firearms in an emergency. Fite opposed legislation to make the office of prosecuting attorney in Arkansas is nonpartisan. She voted for a law, 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. She voted to prohibit the closure of public schools based on declining enrollments over a two-year period, but the measure was defeated.[7]


  1. Edna Fite. Retrieved on December 9, 2020.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Charlene Fite Running for State Representative, District 80. (August 25, 2011). Retrieved on November 23, 2020.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Charlene Fite, R-80. Arkansas House of Representatives. Retrieved on January 6, 2014; material no longer accessible on-line.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Charlene Fite's Biography. Project Vote Smart. Retrieved on November 23, 2020.
  5. District 83. Retrieved on November 23, 2020.
  6. District 80. Retrieved on November 23, 2020.
  7. Charlene Fite's Voting Records. Project Vote Smart. Retrieved on November 23, 2020.