Henry “Hank” Wilkins V wants to succeed his father, Henry “Hank” Wilkins IV, in the Arkansas House of Representative’s District 17 chair.
The elder Wilkins cannot seek re-election because of term limits.
The younger Wilkins, a Democrat, announced his candidacy for the post Friday, saying, “I am excited about the chance to further the legacy of great public service that citizens of this area have come to expect, appreciate and enjoy from my family.”
Wilkins’ brother, Wesley Wilkins, works with crime victims through the office of the state attorney general. His mother, Phyllis Wilkins, is a member of the Pine Bluff School Board. His father is a former state senator. Wilkins’ grandparents, Josetta Edwards Wilkins and Henry Wilkins III, both served as state representatives. An uncle, Jean C. Edwards, was a state senator. And another uncle, Rodney E. Slater, was the U.S. secretary of transportation under President Bill Clinton.
“Pine Bluff is home,” he said. “I love this city and I’m thankful for every opportunity to give back to the community where I grew up, live and work.”
Wilkins is coordinator of the Region 12 Prevention Resource Center, which provides substance abuse prevention services in Jefferson, Arkansas, Cleveland, Grant and Lincoln counties. A 2004 graduate of Harvard University and 2000 graduate of Pine Bluff High School, Wilkins is a member of St. James United Methodist Church, where his father is pastor and the younger Wilkins assists in administrative duties, mentors college and high school students, coordinates the technology ministry and is a choir member.
Describing himself as an advocate for community and public service, Wilkins said he’s been “blessed” to work on several state boards and commissions, including the Martin Luther King Jr. Commission, the Legislative Task Force for Substance Abuse Prevention and the Prevention Enhancement Grant Workgroup.
In addition to his work with the public, Wilkins said he is “passionate” in doing his utmost “to improve the quality of life for the people of our community, to strengthen employees’ marketable skills so they can get jobs, and to bring a diversity of good, high-paying jobs” to the city.
“Working together, we can create an environment of hope and a good future for our young people while ensuring that crime, violence and drugs are addressed with a comprehensive strategy,” he said. “Additionally, I am driven to enhance the spirit of entrepreneurship and investment in Pine Bluff, to see businesses grow and prosper, and to see individuals receive the kind of financial literacy, tools and support that will increase personal wealth, begin to grow this city and better the entire state.”