Benton lawmaker tests positive for virus

Rep. Lanny Fite, R-Benton, is shown in this file photo.

State Rep. Lanny Fite, R-Benton, became the third state lawmaker to test positive for covid-19 since the regular session started Jan. 11.

Fite informed House Speaker Matthew Shepherd, R-El Dorado, about his positive test on Wednesday morning, House spokeswoman Cecillea Pond-Mayo said.

Fite said he learned Wednesday morning that he tested positive for the coronavirus on the previous day. The result came after he tested negative on Friday.

He said he sits next to Rep. Milton Nicks, D-Marion, in the House and he suspects he was exposed to the virus by Nicks. Nicks informed Shepherd that he tested positive for the coronavirus a week ago.

Nicks could not be immediately reached for comment by telephone on Wednesday morning.

Fite said he has been in quarantine since Nicks tested positive for covid-19.

“I am not having any symptoms right now.” he said. “I feel fine.”

Fite, 70, is the 21st state lawmaker to publicly acknowledge testing positive for covid-19 in the past four months.

Since the pandemic arrived in Arkansas in March, 25 state lawmakers have said they tested positive for covid-19. The Legislature has 135 members.