Stanley Jason Rapert (born 1972) is an American politician from the state of Arkansas, who since 2011 has been a Republican member of the Arkansas State Senate for District 35 in the central portion of his state.
In 1990, Rapert married Laurie Ellen Tyler of Pocahontas in Randolph County. The couple moved to Conway, where they both attended the University of Central Arkansas, where he majored in Political Science and Sociology. He worked for United Parcel Service while attending college.
Rapert was elected in 2010 to the Arkansas State Senate, representing the 18th district. As a result of decennial redistricting, he sought reelection in the 35th district in 2012, when he defeated Democrat Linda Tyler. In the general election held on November 4, 2014, Rapert won a four-year term in the state Senate by defeating Democrat Joel Pearson, 13,483 votes (57 percent) to 10,267 (43 percent).
In February 2017, Rapert introduced legislation to remove Bill and Hillary Clinton's names from the Clinton National Airport, stating several Arkansans "said they were uncomfortable with the Clinton name."
Position on reproductive law
Rapert authored a bill to ban all abortions in Arkansas after twelve weeks of pregnancy. Then-Governor Mike Beebe (D) vetoed the bill as unconstitutional, but "the Republican-led Legislature overrode his veto." In 2013, a federal judge stopped the law from being implemented, saying it was likely unconstitutional. In January 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the State's petition for a writ of certiorari to review the case. The State of Arkansas was ordered to pay over $97,000 in attorneys' fees and costs to the prevailing plaintiffs before the Supreme Court decision was finalized.
Position on use of U.S. military power
In February 2015, Rapert stated that the United States should use nuclear weapons in response to the threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. The post sparked a "lively debate...rang[ing] from agreement to ridicule" on social media: Wonkette replied sarcastically to this stance, as did Daily Kos, and Esquire.
Position on minorities
At a 2011 Tea Party rally, Rapert said, "we're not going to allow minorities to run roughshod over what you people believe in". Rapert later claimed that his remarks about minorities were taken out of context. The "minority" comments Rapert made in 2011 referenced both Barack Obama and a ballot initiative (Arkansas Proposed Initiative Act No. 1 (2008)) stricken as unconstitutional that prohibited unmarried cohabitating couples from adopting. The Arkansas act had been criticized for prohibiting gay couples from adopting.
On June 30, 2015, the Jason Rapert for Arkansas Senate Facebook page announced, in response to a post suggesting that the rights of minorities are not subject to majority wishes, that "we the majority grant you rights by choice." Later on that same day, the Facebook page accused Max Brantley and the Arkansas Times as a whole, of reporting that Rapert does not "recognize God has endowed us with natural rights that are given by God that no man can take away."
Position on LGBT issues
While running for the Arkansas General Assembly, Rapert stated: "Traditional marriage in our society has always been between one man and one woman. I support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that protects that right now and forevermore." As a member of the Arkansas Legislative Council, a powerful committee in the Arkansas General Assembly, Rapert proposed a non-binding resolution to "urge the Arkansas Supreme Court to overturn a circuit judge’s ruling striking down Arkansas’ same-sex marriage ban." Rapert initially proposed impeaching the judge who issued the ruling, but later stated he wanted to establish a system of judicial recall.
On June 7, 2015, Rapert took to Facebook to "urge everyone to contact the Conway City Council and Mayor Tab Townsell in opposition to allowing activists to march through the streets of Conway on a Sunday to mock Christian values and accuse Christians of being bigots", in protest of the Conway Gay Pride Parade that was scheduled to take place later that same day, which he deemed an anti-Christian activity. According to The Chicago Sun-Times, responses to the Facebook post were "largely mocking".
Following the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges that legalized gay marriage, Rapert stated that the Court's ruling was "unconstitutional." Rapert encouraged public officials "to refuse to comply with an unjust ruling that violates religious freedom and states rights."
Gun tweet controversy
In early September 2015, after having been approached by a local constituent at a store, Rapert posted a tweet that read, "Not smart to come up and harass somebody in a parking lot who's carrying a handgun. Better be glad you decided to walk away #armed&ready", which became the center of a controversy on social media. Rapert said that the tweet was not referring to the incident with that constituent.