Paul Bookout joins St. Bernards staff as Administrative Director

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Paul Bookout has joined the staff at St. Bernards Healthcare as administrative director for system relations and government/public affairs.

The long-time Jonesboro resident, who represents District 14 in the Arkansas Senate, will be responsible for developing and maintaining relationships with key corporate stakeholders, representing St. Bernards on community boards and civic groups. He will assist with strategic planning and development of public policy and advocacy as it relates to healthcare. And he will take the lead in collaborating with healthcare systems and other entities to advocate positions on a variety of healthcare issues.

Bookout also will help assess needs and develop partnerships to further the formal mission of St. Bernards – providing Christ-like healing to the community through education, treatment and health services. In addition, he will assist the St. Bernards Development Foundation in a supportive role.

"We are pleased to have Paul as a part of our organization," Chris B. Barber, president and chief executive officer of St. Bernards Healthcare said. "He brings a broad perspective, years of experience and leadership that has been proven in this region and in the entire state."

He is serving as the president pro tempre of the 88th General Assembly which convened in January of 2011. He served in the Arkansas House of Representatives from 1999 through 2004 and was elected to the Senate in a special election in 2006 after the death of his father, longtime state senator and former president pro tempre of the General Assembly Jerry Bookout.

Legislative committees on which Bookout serves include Senate Revenue and Taxation, State Agencies and Governmental Affairs, Senate Efficiency, Joint Budget, Arkansas Legislative Council, Joint Interim Committee on Legislative Facilities and Legislative Joint Audit.

During the 87th General Assembly, he served as an assistant pro tempre and as chairman of three committees – Joint Budget-Special Language, Arkansas State Game & Fish Commission Oversight Committee and Arkansas Legislative Council-State Game & Fish/State Police. He also served as vice chairman of the Arkansas Legislative Council Personnel Subcommittee and held membership on 14 other legislative committees, including Senate Insurance and Commerce, Joint Energy, Joint Budget and Senate Transportation, Technology and Legislative Affairs.

He as been active regionally and nationally, working with legislators as a member of the Energy Council, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Council of State Governments and the Southern Legislative Conference. He currently serves on the Budget and Review Committee and Legislative Effectiveness Committee of the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Associates Advisory Council of the Council of State Governments and the Agriculture and Rural Development and Human Services and Public Safety Committees of the Southern Legislative Conference.

Born in El Dorado, he earned a bachelor's degree from Arkansas State University and worked for more than 20 years as a licensed funeral director.

Bookout also has served on the executive board of the Jonesboro Comprehensive Learning Center, the board of the David E. Puryear Center and the St. Bernards Hospice Advisory Board.

He and his wife, Sherry Flanigan Bookout, have two children, Morgan, 22, and P.J., 19. Morgan will be completing her bachelor's degree in the fall at Arkansas State University, and P.J. will be a freshman at ASU this fall. His mother is Loretta Langford Bookout.

The Bookouts are active members of First Baptist Church.

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