Arkansas Economic Development Commission


Sen. Missy Thomas Irvin named 2017 Rural Advocate of the Year

image of Missy Irvin holding a plaqueState Sen. Missy Thomas Irvin has been named Arkansas Rural Advocate of the Year for 2017.

The honor was presented to Irvin today by Amy Fecher, executive vice president of operations for the Arkansas Economic Development Commission and a former director the Arkansas Department of Rural Services. She presented the award on behalf of AEDC’s Division of Rural Services and the Arkansas Rural Development Commission at their annual Rural Development Conference held May 23-25 at the Hot Springs Convention Center.

“Senator Irvin is most deserving of this award,” Fecher said. “She has spent her entire professional career working to improve the quality of life for all Arkansans both in the Arkansas Legislature and through her numerous volunteer commitments.”

Irvin is serving her second term in the Arkansas Senate representing Senate District 18, which is comprised of Cleburne, Searcy and Stone counties and portions of Baxter, Faulkner, Fulton, Marion, Van Buren and White counties. She is the current chairman of Senate City, County & Local Affairs, vice chairman of Joint Energy for the 89th General Assembly. Regionally and nationally, Senator Irvin works with legislators from across the nation as a member of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the Southern Legislative Conference (SLC). With NCSL, she is a member of the Energy, Transportation and Agriculture Standing Committee and with SLC, she is a member of the Economic Development, Transportation & Cultural Affairs committee.

Irvin’s extensive volunteer activities include coordinating the first three years of the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life for Stone County, coordinating After Dark in the Park with the Ozark Folk Center, and supporting the Music Roots program. She serves on the health advisory committee for the Mountain View School District and has served as a parent representative for the school in the implementation of their EAST program. She served as president of the Mountain View Youth Soccer Association, as a vice president for the Arkansas State Soccer Association, and as an AAA-registered volunteer soccer coach.

She is a recipient of a Presidential Award for her volunteer work in the community and was named the 2010 Coach of the Year by the Arkansas State Soccer Association for commitment to coaching girls recreational soccer. She is a member of Farm Bureau, the Mountain View Chamber of Commerce, and Chapter DK of P.E.O., a philanthropic educational organization that supports women in education. She is a past president of Chapter DK, Mountain View.

Last year’s recipient was Rex Nelson, one of the state’s most high-profile writers and speakers. Past recipients have included many outstanding Arkansans who have been dedicated to rural Arkansas: former U.S. Senators Dale Bumpers and David Pryor, Secretary of Agriculture Butch Calhoun, State Senators Larry Teague, Randy Laverty and James Scott, State Representatives Sam Angel, Phil Jacobs and Johnnie Bolin, Lake Village Mayor Jo Ann Bush, Annett Pagan, Donna Kay Yeargan, Former ARDC Chairman Bruce Leggitt, Sip Mouden, Randy Young, and Bob Summerville.

For more information, please contact AEDC’s Division of Rural Services at 501-682-6011, or 1-800-ARKANSAS, or visit or