Cleveland A Soft Spoken House Leader

January 20, 2003
Posted at: 4:25 p.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- New House Speaker Herschel Cleveland can be spotted more easily by his trademark red suspenders than by his demeanor.

The 56-year-old Democrat from Paris is known for being soft spoken. But, when it came time to choose a new House speaker, colleagues asked Cleveland to pursue the post. Cleveland is leaderfor the House at a time of a tight budget, and when legislators have to craft a plan ordered by the state Supreme Court to improve public schools.

Cleveland says his varied work experiences have given him a good perspective on what average Arkansans face on a daily basis. Over the years, Cleveland has worked throwing newspapers, and at a service station, grocery store, on gas pipelines and electric lines, at a chicken plant, and as a door-to-door salesman.

He's also been a bookkeeper, a cattleman, a business owner, a municipal judge and now, a lawyer. Cleveland says he's worked with folks from all walks of life, and that he can read legislation with an eye toward how it will affect the state's residents.

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