Ed Bethune grew up in Arkansas and joined the Marines when he was eighteen years old. He rose to the rank of sergeant. When his enlistment ended, he earned a B.S.B.A. and a Juris Doctorate from the School of Law at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.

In 1978, against all odds, he won a seat in the United States House of Representatives, the first Republican to hold that seat in 104 years. He served three terms in Congress.

He and his wife Lana have two children and eight granddaughters and they reside in Little Rock, Arkansas.

In 1990, Ed and Lana attempted to sail their 31-foot sailboat across the Atlantic Ocean. On their sixth day at sea, they encountered a fierce storm with 35-foot waves that led to a harrowing rescue by the U. S. Coast Guard.

In 2011 Bethune wrote his memoir: Jackhammered, a Life of Adventure and in 2014 he finished the novel, Gay Panic in the Ozarks. His third book, a novel set in Arkansas during World War II, was published in 2016.



Lawyer; Member of the United States Congress, Second District of Arkansas; Special Agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Prosecuting Attorney; Chairman, Federal Home Loan Bank Board, 9th District.


Forty years as an attorney: Business litigation, personal injury litigation, white-collar criminal defense, federal regulatory and ethics law in Washington, D. C. and Arkansas. Practice included, over the last ten years, representing various Members of Congress in proceedings before the House Ethics committee, including the Speaker of the House; the Majority Whip of the House; and the Majority Leader of the House.

General Counsel for the Federal Bureau of Investigation Agents Association, 1988 to 2005. Served as Special Agent of the FBI from 1964 to 1968 in Washington, Indianapolis, Chicago, and New York metropolitan areas.

Partner, Bracewell & Giuliani, an international law firm, Washington, D. C. office, 1994 to retirement in 2006.


Elected to the United States House of Representatives, Second District of Arkansas, in 1978; reelected in 1980 and 1982.

Member, Committee on the Budget; Committee on Banking, Finance and Urban Affairs; and, Committee on Small Business.

Elected President of Republican class of new Members of Congress in 1978; reelected to that post in 1979. That class included Newt Gingrich and Dick Cheney.

Republican nominee for U. S. Senate, Arkansas 1984. Lost to Senator David Pryor.

Chairman of the Arkansas Republican Party, 1986-1988

Awards and Honors

Conservation and Wilderness Awards, Arkansas Wildlife Federation. Lead sponsor of the Arkansas Wilderness Act, signed into law by President Reagan in 1984.

Distinguished Alumni Award of University of Arkansas School of Law. Distinguished Award of University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

Chosen in 1978 to be a member of the Chowder and Marching Club, a small Republican leadership group in the House of Representatives. Still an active member of the club, which includes most Republican leaders in the House and Senate. The group meets each Wednesday evening that Congress is in session.

Nominated to be a Federal Judge, Eastern District of Arkansas, by President Gerald Ford, June 1976.


Born December 19, 1935 in Pocahontas, Arkansas.

Married Lana Douthit of Little Rock January 24, 1959. Lana is very active, as a leader, in a number of congressional spouse organizations in Washington, D. C., and civic organizations in Arkansas. In 1989 she served as the Social Secretary for Vice President Dan Quayle and Mrs. Quayle.

Daughter, Paige Nassetta is married to Chris Nassetta, Chief Executive Officer of Hilton Worldwide. They live in Arlington, Virginia and have six daughters.

Son, Sam Bethune, is career naval officer assigned to Yorktown, VA. He married Alison Anthony, the daughter of Democratic Congressman Beryl Anthony of Arkansas, and they have two daughters.

Author three books: A memoir, Jackhammered, a Life of Adventure, published in 2011, and a novel, Gay Panic in the Ozarks, published in 2014. Another novel set in rural Arkansas during World War II will be on the market in the Summer of 2016.

Sailing enthusiast. Lana and Ed were rescued after six days at sea by the U. S. Coast Guard in 1990 when their 31-foot sailboat, Salute, was overcome by 35-foot waves while attempting to cross the Atlantic Ocean from Norfolk, Virginia to Portugal.

Enjoys golf, biking, reading, travel, and writing.


Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, 1961.

Juris Doctorate, University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, School of Law, 1963.


Enlisted man, United States Marine Corps, 1954-1957. Honorable discharge as Sergeant. Service in Korea, 1954-1956.