Profile: Jackson T. Stephens (with Mary Anne)

Chairman, Stephens Group Inc. <br>Little Rock, Arkansas

Photo: Getty Images

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


In the late 80’s, billionaire financier Jackson T. Stephens and his wife Mary Anne were described as “Mr. And Mrs. Republican in Arkansas.” And little has changed.

Stephens founded Stephens Group, one of the largest investment firms off Wall Street, with his brother, the late W.R. “Witt” Stephens. And both became power players in Arkansas politics — just on different sides of the partisan divide. Witt Stephens was a die-hard Democrat and influential supporter of Bill Clinton during his rise to prominence. Jackson Stephens chaired former President Bush’s 1988 campaign in Arkansas and helped organize his inaugural.

Stephens attended the Naval Academy at Annapolis, where he met and became friends with a midshipman from Georgia, Jimmy Carter. Still, that friendship didn’t extend to political support. Stephens was an outspoken backer of President Ronald Reagan. In a rare interview in the early 80’s, Jackson declared that Reagan was giving the country “exactly what we need. Some of us call it tough love.”

Lately, it’s been Stephens’ son, Steve Stephens, who has been making waves in Arkansas politics. Through much of 2001, the younger Stephens was rumored to be considering challenging Gov. Mike Huckabee in the 2002 Republican primary. He eventually dropped the idea, but not before angering some Arkansas Republicans, who openly wondered whether the Stephens family were drifting away from the party.

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate