Representative Henry “Hank” Wilkins, IV, of Pine Bluff, is serving his third term in the Arkansas House of Representatives, where he represents District 17. He has also served five terms in the Arkansas Senate.
During the 89th General Assembly, Rep. Wilkins serves on the Public Health, Welfare And Labor committee. He also serves on the Insurance And Commerce committee as well as the Joint Budget Committee where he is Vice Chairperson.
For the 88th General Assembly, Rep. Wilkins served as vice chair of the House Judiciary Committee. He also served on the House Insurance and Commerce Committee and on the Joint Budget Committee. As former chairman of the Arkansas Legislative Council, Wilkins was the first African-American in Arkansas history to hold that position.
Rep. Wilkins is active with several regional and national organizations, including the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL); the Council of State Governments (CSG); and the Southern Legislative Conference (SLC).
Rep. Wilkins has authored legislation on a variety of topics addressing important issues such as education, seatbelts and racial profiling. He received the 2010 Lifesavers Award
sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for his leadership and commitment to saving lives and reducing injuries in Arkansas.
Additionally, he was named 2010 Friend of Children by the Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families for his dedication to passing a primary seatbelt law, appropriating funds to support substance abuse treatment for children and families, as well as his longstanding history of supporting the needs of low-income, minority and vulnerable populations in Arkansas.
In 2001, Pine Bluff Housing Authority renamed a building on its campus the Henry “Hank” Wilkins, IV Community Center in honor of Rep. Wilkins. He is past president of the Arkansas Legislative Black Caucus and founding member and past president of the Arkansas Legislative Black Caucus Foundation.
Born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, Wilkins attended Pine Bluff public schools and is a graduate of Pine Bluff High School. He obtained his bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan. Following college, he attended law school at the University of Arkansas School of Law and in 1977 became pastor of Saint James United Methodist Church of Fayetteville. He entered seminary and received a Masters of Divinity degree from Saint Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, Missouri. He taught for 17 years in the Perkins School of Theology Course of Study at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. He also taught for several years in the Saint Paul School of Theology Course of Study in Kansas City. He has been pastor of Saint James Church in Pine Bluff since 1994.
Wilkins has been president of the parent-teacher association in three different public schools, president of the Dallas Chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, secretary of the National Black Methodists for Church Renewal (BMCR) and member of the BMCR National Board of Directors for nearly 20 years.
He was honored by his graduate theological seminary in 2000 with a coveted DistinguishedGraduate Award and in 1998 received a Doctorate of Humane Letters from Philander Smith