Two ATU Alumni to Serve in U.S. Congress

Two Arkansas Tech University alumni were elected to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives during elections on Tuesday, Nov. 6.

Steve Womack (photographed, left), ATU Class of 1979, was elected to his fifth consecutive term as the representative for the Third Congressional District of Arkansas.

Kevin Hern (photographed, right), ATU Class of 1986, was elected to his first term as the representative for the First Congressional District of Oklahoma.

It is believed to be the first time that two ATU alumni have been elected to serve in the U.S. Congress concurrently.

The only other known Arkansas Tech alumnus to hold a seat in Congress was the late Boyd Anderson Tackett, who represented the Fourth Congressional District of Arkansas from 1949-53. Tackett graduated from what was then known as Arkansas Polytechnic College in 1932.

A 2014 inductee into the ATU Hall of Distinction, Womack earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications from Arkansas Tech and a commission as a second lieutenant in the Arkansas Army National Guard upon completing the ATU U.S. Army ROTC program.

Womack spent more than a decade in the radio business before accepting a position as executive officer for the U.S. Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program at the University of Arkansas. Womack has served in a variety of command and staff assignments for the National Guard, including battalion commander in Sinai, Egypt, following the events of Sept. 11, 2001. He was named to the Arkansas Officer Candidate Hall of Fame in 2011.

Mayor of Rogers for 12 years beginning in 1998, Womack was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010. He was voted his peers as chairman of the House Budget Committee on Jan. 11, 2018.

A 2018 inductee into the ATU Hall of Distinction, Hern began his career working in the aerospace industry for Rockwell, writing computer programs to automate tasks for businesses and selling real estate. He even tried his hand at hog farming before investing his life’s savings in the purchase of two McDonald’s locations in Muskogee, Okla., in 1999.

Today, Hern has the franchise for 10 McDonald’s restaurants in the Tulsa, Okla., area that employ more than 400 individuals. He has served in various regional, divisional, and national leadership positions with the McDonald’s franchise leadership team.

Most recently, Hern served five years as the as the chief financial officer for the 3,500 U.S. franchisees. He resigned as CFO in December 2016 and began his ultimately successful campaign to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Chairman of the finance committee for the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority from 2011-15, Hern has served as a state board member for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Oklahoma and Future Farmers of America of Oklahoma. He has also served as finance committee chair for the Oklahoma Republican Party.