If someone like U.S. Rep. Marion Berry ran for office in Arkansas today, he or she would have to figure out how to fit into one party or another. It probably would be harder than it was when he served in Congress.

Berry died Friday after a long illness and a long career in public service. He represented eastern Arkansas’ 1st District for 14 years from January 1997 until January 2011. In addition to his seven terms in Congress, he worked in the Clinton presidential administration, served on the Arkansas Soil and Water Commission, and served on the Gillett City Council. A row crop farmer, he was well-known for hosting a party to raise money for Arkansas State University scholarships prior to the annual Gillett Coon Supper, both of which attracted political types from across the state.

Steve Brawner is a syndicated columnist published in 18 outlets in Arkansas. Email him at brawnersteve@mac.com. Follow him on Twitter at @stevebrawner.

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