Cecile Herndon Bledsoe (born June 26, 1944) is a business executive from Rogers in Benton County in northwestern Arkansas, who is a Republican member of the Arkansas State Senate, having represented District 3 since 2013. From 2009 to 2013, she represented Senate District 8. Bledsoe has also represented two different districts in the Arkansas House of Representatives, the 96th and the 23rd, with service dating back to 1999.
A native of Lyons in Toombs County in southeastern Georgia, Bledsoe is a 1968 graduate of the University of Georgia at Athens, with a degree in journalism. She is the vice president and assistant manager at a surgical clinic. Bledsoe and her husband, Dr. James Harper Bledsoe, a surgeon, have three children, Gregory Harper Bledsoe, Sam Bledsoe, and Tricia Bledsoe.
Bledsoe is a member of the Southern Legislative Conference, the National Conference of State Legislatures, and the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). She is a former member of the Pea Ridge National Military Park Foundation and the Northwest Arkansas Agency on Aging. Bledsoe is affiliated with the Benton County Republican Women's Association and is a founding member of Grace Point Church of Northwest Arkansas, a Baptist congregation in Bentonville.
In 2010, Bledsoe, whose state Senate seat was not up for election that year, was a candidate for Arkansas's 3rd congressional district seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. She was defeated in the Republican primary by Steve Womack, then the mayor of Rogers. In the congressional race, Bledsoe carried the endorsement of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List and former Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska. The U.S. House seat was vacated by the Republican John Boozman, who was instead elected to the United States Senate, having unseated the Democrat Blanche Lincoln.
In 2013, Senator Bledsoe voted to override the vetoes of Democratic Governor Mike Beebe to ban abortion after twenty weeks of gestation and to require the presentation of photo identification when casting a ballot in Arkansas. She also sponsored legislation to forbid abortion from being included on the state insurance exchange. Bledsoe voted to amend state income tax rates and co-sponsored a measure requiring recipients of unemployment compensation in Arkansas to submit to testing for narcotics. She also voted to reduce weekly unemployment checks. Bledsoe opposed the legislation to make the office of prosecuting attorney in Arkansas nonpartisan. She voted against legislation, signed into law by Governor Beebe, which allows up to five hundred gallons per month of unpasteruized milk to be sold directly from the farm to consumers. She opposed the legislation which would have established a racial impact statement regarding crime bills.
In 2011, Bledsoe voted for the congressional redistricting act. She opposed the banning of cell phones from school zones. She voted for the Capital Gains Reduction Act and to reduce excise taxes on natural gas and electricity. In 2009, she sponsored legislation to permit unlicensed assistants to perform simple medical procedures. That same year she voted with a large Senate majority to raise the tobacco tax in Arkansas.