Dan Sullivan (Arkansas politician)

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Dan Alan Sullivan​

Arkansas State Representative
for District 53 (Craighead and
Greene counties)​
Assumed office 
January 2015​
Preceded by Homer Lenderman​

Born April 15, 1950​
Unknown ​
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Maria Stewart Sullivan (married 1982)​
Children Matthew Stewart Sullivan​

Ann Sullivan Ojeda​

Residence Jonesboro, Arkansas, USA​
Alma mater Arkansas State University (Jonesboro)

Northeast Missouri State University​

Occupation Businessman; former educator​
Religion Church of Christ

Dan Alan Sullivan (born April 15, 1950)[1] is an educator-turned-businessman from Jonesboro, Arkansas, who is a Republican state representative for District 53 in Craighead and Greene counties in the northeastern portion of his state. ​He is serving his third two-year term in the legislature.


​ Sullivan holds a Bachelor of Education degree, with focus on Science from Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, at which he played basketball in the early 1970s for the Arkansas State Red Wolves, since renamed the Indians.[2] He earned a Master of Education degree from Northeast Missouri State University, renamed Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri.[3]/>

As the principal at South Elementary School in Jonesboro, Sullivan suspended an eight-year-old boy for three days after the child pointed a chicken finger at a teacher and said, "Pow, Pow, Pow." Sullivan said that the child had made a threat, which "depends on the tone, the demeanor, and ... the intent. It's not the object in the hand, it’s the thought in the mind." The incident drew national attention.[4]​ ​ After a quarter-century in education, Sullivan in 2004 joined the staff, with duties also including lobbying, of Ascent Children's Health Services, an entity engaged in children's developmental disorders and mental health care. In 2013, he became the Ascent chief operating officer. He has also been a board member of the state Chamber of Commerce.[3]

In 1982, Sullivan married Maria Stewart (also born 1950), a native of Monette in Craighead County. The couple has two children, Matthew Stewart Sullivan (born 1984 in Memphis, Tennessee), a 2006 graduate of Missouri State University in Springfield, who played on the golf team,[5] and a daughter, Ann Sullivan Ojeda.[2]

The Sullivans are member of the Southwest Church of Christ in Jonesboro, at which he is an elder or shepherd.[6][7] They are both active in WolfLife, a ministry on the ASU campus. Mrs. Sullivan is also an ASU graduate.[8]

Political life

On November 12, 2013, Sullivan lost a Republican runoff election for the District 21 seat in the Arkansas State Senate to John Cooper, a retiree of American Telephone & Telegraph from Jonesboro, who then won the special election in January 2014 for the remaining months in the term of the Democrat Paul Bookout of Jonesboro. Bookout resigned from the Senate after the Arkansas Ethics Commission fined him $8,000 for diverting campaign money for personal use. A third candidate in the special Senate race, Charles L. "Chad" Niell (born c. 1961) of Jonesboro, endorsed Sullivan in the runoff against Cooper.[8]​ Sullivan then unseated Democrat Homer Lenderman of Paragould in the November 4 general election in which Sullivan's party swept most of the offices in Arkansas. Sullivan polled 3,830 votes (52.9 percent) to Lenderman's 3,416 (47.1 percent).[8][7]

Representative Sullivan is assigned to the legislative committees on: (1) Joint Performance Review, (2) Aging, Children, Youth, Legislative and Military Affairs, (3) Public Health, Welfare and Labor.[9]

In February 2015, Sullivan joined dozens of his fellow Republicans and two Democrats in co-sponsoring legislation submitted by Representative Lane Jean of Magnolia, to reduce unemployment compensation; the measure was promptly signed into law by Governor Asa Hutchinson.[10]

In March 2015, Representative Sullivan proposed legislation to expand the concealed carry of weapons in Arkansas to include schools, churches, polling places, bars, and government buildings. It remains illegal to bring guns to courthouses, jails, airports, and other placed prohibited by federal law.[11] That same month, Sullivan sponsored legislation on the House floor which would have allowed tele-medicine companies to offer services within the state, as now permitted in forty-nine states. The measure lost in the House, forty-one to twenty-one, with two abstentions. According to Sullivan, his bill addresses the performance of "certain primary care activities ... and diagnoses over the phone and over video.” The bill excluded exchanges via email or text messaging and required that physicians in Arkansas make the diagnoses.[12]Stephen Magie, a Democratic representative from Conway in Faulkner County, expressed opposition to Sullivan's measure because some of the providers would not have an established relationship with a patient and lack familiarity with the medical history of the patient.[12]

Sullivan opposes the Common Core State Standards Initiative because he considers the measure state control from Washington, D.C. He has a concealed carry permit. He is pro-life, believes that human life begins with conception, and opposes taxpayer funding of abortion.[8]


  1. Dan Sullivan. Mylife.com. Retrieved on July 3, 2020.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Max Brantley (August 26, 2013). Update: Two candidates announce for open Senate seat in Jonesboro. The Arkansas Times. Retrieved on July 3, 2020.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Dan Sullivan. arkansashouse.org. Retrieved on July 3, 2020.
  4. "Dan Sullivan and the Thought Police," Our Voices Arkansas, October 14, 2013.
  5. "Matt Sullivan Bio," missouristatebears, accessed April 6, 2015; material no longer on-line.
  6. Dan Sullivan's Biography. Project Vote Smart. Retrieved on July 3, 2020.
  7. 7.0 7.1 David Ramsey (October 30, 2014). Who Will run the Arkansas House? The races that will determine control of the Arkansas House Distrct 53. The Arkansas Times. Retrieved on July 3, 2020.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Arkansas House of Representatives elections, 2014. ballotpedia.org. Retrieved on July 3, 2020.
  9. Dan Sullivan. arkansashouse.org. Retrieved on July 3, 2020.
  10. HB 1489 - Reduces Unemployment Benefits - Key Vote. Project Vote Smart. Retrieved on July 3, 2020.
  11. Arkansas bill to allow guns at bars, polling places, Capitol. KSLA-TV (CBS in Shreveport, Louisiana) (March 4, 2015). Retrieved on July 3, 2020.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Aditi Pai (March 24, 2015). Arkansas legislators vote down pro-tele-medicine bill. Mobil Health News. Retrieved on July 3, 2020.