LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) _ Sen. Tim Hutchinson, a Southern Baptist minister who stressed family values in his campaigns, filed for divorce Tuesday from his wife of nearly 29 years.

Hutchinson, 49, the first popularly elected Republican U.S. senator from Arkansas, cited unspecified problems in papers filed in his hometown of Bentonville.

``There have been tremendous strains on our marriage during the past few years and we sought extensive counseling prior to taking this action,'' Hutchinson said of his wife Donna in a statement from Washington.

Hutchinson's brother, Asa, is a member of the House of Representatives.

Hutchinson, a former state legislator elected to the Senate in 1996, is touted on his World Wide Web site as a ``dedicated advocate for American families.''

Responding to questions submitted by The Associated Press in 1996, Hutchinson said ``the breakdown of the American family'' was one of the two biggest problems facing the nation.

Hutchinson's term expires in 2002.