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Herb Rule, former Arkansas legislator and US House candidate, dead at 87

Herb Rule, a former Democratic Arkansas legislator and one-time House of Representatives candidate, died Monday, according to family members. He was 87.

Family and friends will gather next week to remember Little Rock attorney Herbert C. Rule III, a former state legislator, one-time candidate for U.S. Congress and leader on the Little Rock School Board.

Rule died Monday, family members said in posts on social media and to news outlets. He was 87.

A cause of death was not provided.

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"In the midst of the tornado and trauma this weekend, we said goodbye to my grandfather Herb Rule," Camille Rule, his granddaughter posted Monday on Facebook. "He was a Yale Alumni, choral singer, performer, active member at Second Presbyterian Church, tennis player, community member, and loved his grandkids. He passed peacefully, and we are so glad he’s in a better place, no longer suffering."

Ruebel Funeral Home confirmed Wednesday that services for Rule are set for Saturday, April 15, at Second Presbyterian Church in Little Rock. Further details were not immediately available.

In 1966, Rule, a Democrat from Little Rock, challenged state Rep. Paul Van Dalsem, a Republican from Perryville, for a seat in the Arkansas House. Van Dalsem was chair of a House committee that targeted integrationists and "subversives" and pushed some of the segregation bills through the legislative body for Gov. Orval E. Faubus, according to the Encyclopedia of Arkansas.

During the campaign, Van Dalsem in a speech to a civic group made a now-famous comment about the large number of women working for Rule, saying women should be kept barefoot and pregnant.

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"We don’t have any of these university women in Perry County, but I’ll tell you what we do up there when one of our women starts poking around in something she doesn’t know anything about. We get her an extra milk cow. If that don’t work, we give her a little more garden to tend to. And then if that’s not enough, we get her pregnant and keep her barefoot," he said.

Rule used that comment to his advantage and frequently, during the campaign, brought out female staff members dressed in shifts and without footwear. Rule, a young lawyer, was elected to the seat by a landslide and served two terms.

He also practiced law at the state's first law firm, now known as the Rose Law Firm, for 48 years, some of which was with Hillary Rodham Clinton. He also was a champion of integration and school reform and served on the Little Rock School Board from 1978 to 1984.

In 2012, at age 74, Rule unsuccessfully challenged then-U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin, for Arkansas's 2nd District seat, garnering just over 39% of the vote.

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