Meet David Whitaker

A graduate of the University of Arkansas’ School of Law, David Whitaker felt that he had found his home when he arrived in Fayetteville.

David served aboard the USS Observation Island while in the United States Air Force.

The youngest of three children, the son of a career sailor in the U.S. Navy, David moved around quite bit as a child. He graduated from Granby High School in Norfolk, VA, but spent his early years growing up in southern Georgia.

No stranger to the military life, and with a brother and sister both serving in the Navy at the time, David joined the Air Force in 1983 where he was trained as Russian Linguist whose work in military intelligence saw some of the last days of the Cold War. After six years of service, David had achieved the rank of Staff Sergeant, and was honorably discharged in 1989. His military career included assignments in Texas, Japan, at Fort Meade outside of Washington, D.C., and—appropriately for the son of a sailor, but somewhat oddly for an Airman—nearly a year on a ship in the Bering Sea.

Five days after separating from the Air Force, David returned to Virginia to continue his education at the University of Mary Washington as a geographer which included an internship in the book division of the National Geographic Society. Soon after he graduated from college, his mother was diagnosed with cancer.

With his sister and brother still raising small children, David moved to Florida and assumed the caregiver role for his mother as she was uninsured and could not afford to pay for in-home care. She passed away two years later, and with the encouragement of a mentor who saw his potential, David decided to attend law school.

The Whitaker family, left to right: Olivia Bowen, Lisa Whitaker, David Whitaker, and Melissa Bowen.

During his first year at the University of Arkansas School of Law, David met Lisa Raney, a pharmacist and mother of two daughters, Melissa and Olivia Bowen. They soon married and made a home together with Olivia who was still at home, and Melissa who was already a student at U of A.

During law school, David clerked for the Washington County Prosecuting Attorney, and served on the Law School’s honor council. After passing the bar exam, he returned to the Prosecutors office, where he was Coordinator of the Washington County Domestic Violence Task Force. In 2001, David became the Assistant City Attorney for the City of Fayetteville.

David spends an afternoon volunteering at the Fayetteville Animal Shelter with Democrats Work NWA.

David’s commitment to public service is strong. He was chair of the Washington County Democrats. He has served on both the state and executive committees of the Democratic Party of Arkansas. Feeling that veterans suffered under-representation, David was the founding chair of the Veteran’s Caucus of the Democratic Party of Arkansas to put veteran’s issues at the forefront of the Democratic agenda.

David and Lisa live with their two dogs and three cats near the campus of the University of Arkansas, and look forward to frequent visits from Olivia and Melissa. He received a BA from Mary Washington in 1992 and JD from the University of Arkansas in 1999. He has taken an active role in the leadership of the Arkansas Bar Association by representing Washington County in the House of Delegates and as past chair of the Government Practice Section and Law School Committee.