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All in the family


Old habits die hard. We may have a new Republican majority in the legislature, but like the old Democratic majority, it still doesn't hurt to have a lawmaker spouse to land a part-time job during the legislative session.

The list includes nine legislative spouses in the House, three of Democrats and six of Republicans: Janie Baltz (Rep. Scott Baltz, D-Pocahontas), Jamie Linck (Rep. Kelley Linck, R-Yellville) and Dee Holcomb (Rep. Mike Holcomb, D-Pine Bluff), who work with pages; Susan Altes (Rep. Denny Altes, R-Fort Smith), Lawanda Dale (Rep. Robert E. Dale, R-Dover), Linda Carnine (Rep. Les "Skip" Carnine, R-Rogers) and Tara Douglas (Rep. Dan Douglas, R-Bentonville), who work as receptionists; George Overbey (Rep. Betty Overbey, D-Lamar), who works as sergeant at arms, and Tom Fite (Rep. Charlene Fite, R-Van Buren), assistant chief sergeant at arms.

You might remember Tom Fite because he mounted a race for the legislature two years ago. He was removed from the ballot because of a federal court Medicaid fraud conviction. No disqualifier for maintaining order in the House.

The workers are paid from $475 (for Overbey) to $522 (for Baltz) per week.

Among Senate spouses, Deborah Wyatt (Sen. David Wyatt, D-Batesville), Sonja Burnett (Sen. David Burnett, D-Osceola), Deborah Williams (Sen. Eddie Joe Williams, R-Cabot), Jo Lindsey (Sen. Uvalde Lindsey, D-Fayetteville) and Joan Pierce (Sen. Bobby Pierce, D-Sheridan) all are paid $575 a week as tour guides. Ginger Cheatham (Sen. Eddie Cheatham, D-Crossett) gets $575 a week as a VIP hostess. Mandy Dismang (Sen. Jonathan Dismang, R-Beebe) is paid $82.14 for each day she works as assistant to the Senate president pro tempore. Democratic spouses outnumber Republicans on the Senate side five to two.

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