Aug 29, 2009

A Visit With Prissy Hickerson


Walking into the home of Mary Hickerson you’ll find it to be a well-kept family home like hundreds of others in the Texarkana area. In all the time I’ve known Mary Hickerson she has never been one to brag about her past work she has done for the State of Arkansas. Instead of boasting or bragging about her history, Mary has chosen to push her mementos of service into a small corner office. Once you move into that office, you’ll find an array of awards, signed photographs, and a couple of matted newspaper articles. It’s a small sample of the collection that Mary maintains stored away in boxes that required prompting from me for her to share. Mary served the state for ten years as the Arkansas Highway Commissioner and I knew there was more history there. Everyone more commonly knows Mary Hickerson as Prissy and she has been a busy woman over the years working for Arkansas.

On more than one occasion, Prissy has stood up for the people of Texarkana and the surrounding areas. If you like the smooth riding, four-lane highway, which stretches from Texarkana to within miles of the Louisiana border, then you have Prissy to thank for that. In fact, the highway’s name is the Hickerson Highway. Other work has included the Texarkana rest stop on the outskirts of town where travelers from the west get their first dose of information about Arkansas. Friendly employees, an incredible building, and clean restrooms greet them as they travel into our state.

As I had the opportunity to read through some of Prissy’s newspaper articles, awards, and plaques, I found an interesting one that noted she was “Standing Up” for Texarkana. It concerns a time during her tenure as Highway Commissioner when another member of the commission wanted to divert 47 million dollars away from projects in the Texarkana area. Commissioner Hickerson stood up and passionately defended the areas right to the money that had been awarded. The end result of Prissy’s willingness to fight for Texarkana meant the money remaining in the Texarkana area. This money in turn produced jobs in the area, road improvements, and revenue to help support the economy. Another article in a paper refers to Prissy as the “Highway Woman”. That article went on to show her push and support to gain money and jobs for the I-49 project, a project that is still producing jobs in the Texarkana and surrounding areas.

Unfortunately, like many other positions in Arkansas, Prissy was faced with a term limit. Once her time as Highway Commissioner was complete, she returned home where she stored away her vast number of accomplishments and has worked diligently with her husband in his dental practice. Fortunately for Arkansas and Texarkana, Prissy could not stay satisfied long. As the current representative’s time continues to draw to a close, it has become apparent to Prissy that Texarkana needs someone strong to continue as District 1’s Representative. Although Prissy has not announced her candidacy yet, she has been exploring the options, building a website, finding backers, and preparing for a run. Her concern is that Texarkana needs continued support to keep jobs in the area and to bring new jobs into the area. Fortunately for Texarkana, if Prissy does decide to run, Texarkana will have a Representative who has already brought millions of dollars into the Texarkana economy. That Representative, Prissy, would now be fighting for Texarkana to bring more jobs, more funding, and an improved economy to the area in the Arkansas House of Representatives.

Prissy may be reached through the web at PrissyHickerson.com