Thursday, January 31, 2013

Sen. Johnny Key discusses school choice bill SB65

Johnny Key
Arkansas State Senator Johnny Key (R-District 17) addresses School Choice Bill SB65. He sat down with Americans For Prosperity - Arkansas for an "Under the Dome" update. SB65 is set to come before committee soon and takes on the matter of school choice.


Tags: Arkansas, School Choice, SB65, Senator Johnny Key, Under the Dome, AFP-AR

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Applauding Leadership

Lt Gov Mark Darr
by Arkansas Lt. Gov. Mark Darr: The 89th General Assembly has gotten off to a good start so far in Little Rock. The issue of whether or not to expand Medicaid will be a dominant one this session. I want to applaud the new conservative majority in the Arkansas Legislature for the approach they are taking. We shouldn’t rush to implement something just because the federal government wants us to. We can’t just keep spending money without reforming the system. We need tax reform as well and as a taxpayer, I am glad to see that on the legislature’s agenda.

Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission
I want to congratulate Judge Preston Scroggin from Faulkner County who was just appointed to lead the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission. I know Preston and have respect for his public service and leadership. I have no doubt he'll do a great job in his new position. As a fifth-generation rancher having grown up on farms, he will bring a knowledgeable and experienced perspective to the Commission.

Director for Arkansas Department of Labor
The Governor also just appointed Ricky Belk as the new Director for the Department of Labor. Prior to this appointment, Mr. Belk served as a registered lobbyist for the AFL-CIO. As a right to work state, people are free to either join or abstain from joining a union and it is against the law to discriminate based on someone’s union affiliation. However, the way the law reads, it seems that the Director job itself discriminates on whether someone was in a labor union or similar organization. It reads, “The director shall be a person who, on account of his or her previous vocation, employment, or affiliation can be classed as a representative of employees.” It appears to have been carefully written, but the implication is clear. I think this law needs to be changed. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Arkansas has the second lowest percentage of union members in the country. In 2012, only 3.2 percent of the workforce were members of a labor union or employee association similar to a union. I think if we are going to appoint someone to represent all workers in the state, we shouldn’t have to look for the union label to find a candidate.

Second Amendment Rights And Other Issues
As the national debate over our constitutional right to bear arms continues, I am glad to see that several bills have been filed at the Capitol to reinforce this right at the state level. Rep. Richard Womack has put forth House Resolution 1003 encouraging federal, state, and local officials to continue to defend our Second Amendment rights. This resolution, if passed, will be transmitted to state and federal leadership in Washington and to the leadership of every state legislature in the country.

Senator Bryan King has also introduced gun rights legislation (Senate Bill 71, The Church Protection Act) and an essential voter identification bill (Senate Bill 2) that I hope will pass this session. Senate Bill 2 would require each voter to present proof of identity when voting. Voter ID cards would be issued at no charge to those who need one. The integrity of our election process is sacred and protection against fraud should be something that everyone should be in favor of.

Senator Jeremy Hutchinson is taking the lead on Senate Joint Resolution 2, also known as The Tort Reform Amendment of 2013. We need meaningful legislation to address frivolous lawsuits and I am glad that it has strong bipartisan support.

As I have previously supported, I remain hopeful that an accurate study of our state’s lignite resources can be funded to aid the economic development of this vast energy resource in South Arkansas.

These are key issues that I am both passionate about and supportive of. I intend to speak out on these things in more detail as the session progresses.

Tags: Lt Governor, Mark Darr, Arkansas, Leadership, legislature, Livestock and Poultry Commission, Department of Labor, 2nd Amendment, Tort Reform,

Monday, January 28, 2013

'Who Said It?' America's $16.4 Trillion Game Show

As you know, the House passed the No Budget, No Pay Act last week as a step toward getting America’s debt under control. To help explain the importance of lowering our debt and reducing spending, Rep. Tim Griffin (with the help of Senate Majority Leader Reid and President Obama) has released a new web-video: 'Who Said It?!’ is America's $16.4 trillion game show that you can play at home because -- heck -- you're paying for it.

Tags: Rep. Tim Griffin, Game Show, Who Said It

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Crawford: Roe v. Wade: 40 Years Later

U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR-1): This week marked the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion in our country. Since the court’s ruling, 55 million innocent lives have tragically been lost. To put that into perspective, there are roughly 55 million people living in the states of New York and California combined.

To raise awareness for the Pro-Life cause, thousands of grassroots advocates from across the country are in Washington this week for the Annual March for Life. For the last 40 years the March for Life has been a rallying cry for all of those who believe life begins at conception and that all life has value. I admire the courage of their conviction and I appreciate the voice they are giving to the unborn.

Every representative, every physician and every American needs to be reminded that at the center of our Pro-Life struggle is the protection of all human life. We cannot live in a society where some human life is valued and other life is not.

I stand united with the March for Life delegation and Pro-Life advocates across the country in a belief that all life is precious. All life has value and the casual taking of life is morally wrong. Across our great nation millions of Americans are coming together today to demand that the federal government stop assisting in this great assault on innocent life. The federal government should not spend one single dime on Planned Parenthood or any associated groups. Taxpayer dollars should never be used to take the life of the unborn.

As work continues to overturn Roe v. Wade, we must also lay the foundation for a society that does not accept abortion as a form of birth control. Pro-Life advocates have taken up this cause, but work still remains. Open hearts and open minds can heal our nation and change abortions into adoptions. We must join together to pray for the protection of the unborn. The intersection of prayer and action can produce amazing results. I know we can accomplish our goals, and innocent human life can be saved.

Tags: US House, Representative, Rick Crawford, pro-life, March for Life, Roe v. Wade

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Griffin: No Budget, No Pay Act Is ‘Common-Sense’

Says ‘budgets make you prioritize where you put your money,’
and a step toward bringing our debt under control

WASHINGTON – Congressman Tim Griffin (R-AR-02) issued the following statement after House passage of the No Budget, No Pay Act (H.R. 325):
“President Obama’s allies in the Senate haven’t passed a budget in nearly four years. Arkansans know that budgets make you prioritize where you put your money, and that if you don’t do your job, you shouldn’t be paid for it. I agree, and that’s why I support this common-sense step to bringing Washington’s spending under control and preventing America’s looming debt crisis and credit rating downgrade.” Today is the 1,365th day that the Senate has not passed a budget. The House has passed one every year Griffin has served. H.R. 325 would require the House and Senate to pass a budget resolution by April 15, 2013. If either body fails to do so, Members of that body will have their pay withheld until a budget is passed. It also extends the federal government’s borrowing authority through May 19, 2013, but only for what is necessary to “fund...commitment[s] incurred by the federal government that [require] payment before May 19, 2013.”

Since President Obama’s first inauguration, the national debt has increased by more than $5.8 trillion – reaching a new record of $16.4 trillion.

Griffin cosponsored similar No Budget, No Pay legislation in the previous Congress.

Tags: Representative, Tim Griffin, Arkansas, District 2, U.S. House, No Budget, No Pay

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Boozman: New Gun Laws are not the Answer

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) issued the following statement in response to President Barack Obama’s actions on gun control yesterday.
“President Obama’s statements today touched on some areas of common ground, but ultimately his plans rely too strongly on the failed gun-control ideas of the past. While he is likely to find a broad base of support for some of his mental health directives and for providing incentives to hire school resource officers, his push for Congress to bring back the assault weapons ban and to limit ammunition is misguided. New laws are not the answer. Stricter enforcement of the laws on the books is where we need to start.

There is plenty of evidence, both in our country and elsewhere, that proves simply disarming law abiding citizens does not help reduce violent crime. Firearms are the tools, not the cause. If we are serious about reducing gun crimes, we need to get to the root cause which includes addressing mental health issues in our country. That is where we need to focus on finding a solution.”


Tags: Senator, John Boozman, Arkansas, President Obama, gun control, Insert tags

Griffin Rejects ‘Tried-and-Failed, Anti-Second Amendment Policies’ . . .

. . . Griffin wants solutions to curb violence, not ‘feel-good legislation
that leaves our children no safer and Americans less free’

WASHINGTON – Congressmen Tim Griffin (AR-02) issued the following statement in response to President Obama’s announcement of the “Biden Task Force” recommendations regarding gun violence:“Like most Arkansans, I’m concerned about our nation’s treatment of mental illness, our increasingly crude and violent culture, and a criminal justice system that allows repeat offenders to roam the streets. While some of President Obama’s proposals address these issues, his focus on restricting the rights of law-abiding citizens with tried-and-failed, anti-Second Amendment policies is poll-tested but counterproductive. I am the father of two young children, and I am interested in solutions to curb the violence that plagues America, but I’m not interested in feel-good legislation that leaves our children no safer and Americans less free. The so-called ‘Assault Weapons Ban’ did not stop the Columbine tragedy, and no gun control proposal I’ve seen could have made the deranged Connecticut murderer obey the law when he stole firearms and committed his unspeakable rampage.”
Tags: US Rep, Tim Griffin, Arkansas, gun control

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Rights of Arkansans or the Policies of Barack Obama?

Dustin McDaniel Needs to Weigh-In on President’s Attack on 2 nd Amendment

LITTLE ROCK – As President Barack Obama declares war on the Second Amendment rights of Americans, Republican Party of Arkansas Chairman Doyle Webb called on Arkansas’s top law-enforcement official, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, to weigh in on how committed he is to the constitutional rights of Arkansans.

“For a person who once boasted that his ‘idea of gun control is using both hands to aim,’ Dustin McDaniel needs to tell Arkansans whether he supports today’s anti-Second Amendment announcement by President Obama, for whom he has campaigned in the past,” said Webb.

“As he prepared for his last campaign, Dustin McDaniel said he was opposed to a ban on ‘assault weapons,’” Webb said. “Now that he is back in campaign mode and positioning himself for a potential Democratic primary, Dustin McDaniel needs to come clean and tell the people of Arkansas whether he continues to support their constitutional rights or the policies of the person he helped put in the White House,” Webb added.

Dustin McDaniel Made The Case For Barack Obama in 2008. “We need to have a president who believes and knows that hope is better than fear…” ( YouTube video, 10/24/08)

In 2009, Dustin McDaniel Opposed Reinstatement Of The ‘Assault Weapon’ Ban. “Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel announced today he has co-authored a letter expressing opposition to reinstating a federal ban on assault weapons…” (John Lyon, “McDaniel on assault weapons,” Politics in Arkansas, 6/11/09)

Dustin McDaniel’s Two-Handed Gun Control Stance. “McDaniel, however, is potentially vulnerable on the issue in a statewide race. His father sued Remington Arms and other gun manufacturers after a 1998 Jonesboro, Ark., school shooting that left eight dead. McDaniel was in law school at the time, and said he did some research for the case. During his 2006 campaign for attorney general, McDaniel faced criticism for his stance on guns and his involvement with the lawsuit; he has insisted that he’s pro-Second Amendment … ‘My idea of gun control is using both hands to aim,’ McDaniel has said.” (Elahe Izadi and Jordain Carney, “Lawyers, Guns, and a Sex Scandal: How an NRA Ally Became a Front-Runner for Governor,” National Journal, 1/15/13)

Yesterday, Dustin McDaniel’s Spokesman Touts Second Amendment Bona Fides. “’[McDaniel] believes in protecting law-abiding citizens' Second Amendment rights. That's the kind of leader he has been as attorney general and the kind of leader he will be as governor,’ [Isaac] Wright said.” (Elahe Izadi and Jordain Carney, “Lawyers, Guns, and a Sex Scandal: How an NRA Ally Became a Front-Runner for Governor,” National Journal, 1/15/13)

Tags: Arkansas, Rights of Arkansans, gun rights, 2nd Amendment,Obama policies, anti-gun rights, Dustin McDaniels,

Sunday, January 13, 2013

You’re Invited to the A+ Arkansas Education Summit!

As an Arkansan you know how important fixing our failing schools is to our children's future and to the future of Arkansas. As an active and concerned citizen you know that grassroots support spurs real legislative change.
We need you to help us advocate for education reforms that will give parents and teachers the tools to help Arkansas students succeed.
Join us in a rally for the future of Arkansas with former Governor Jeb Bush on Tuesday, January 29, 2013.
Afternoon events will include a free lunch for those who RSVP by January 25,(Register Now) followed by panel discussions on education reform and our path forward.
Speakers at the Education Summit include Jim Walton, Walter Hussman, Claiborne P. Deming and Bill Dillard III.
To see a full list of speakers and event details visit www.APlusArkansas.org
Seating is limited. RSVP by January 25 for this free event at www.APlusArkansas.org or call 501-259-3921 today.
Thank you, and I look forward to seeing you there!
Education Rally 9:15 am
Capitol Rotunda, Little Rock, AR
Keynote Speaker: former Governor Jeb Bush
Education Summit 11:30 am
DoubleTree
424 West Markham Street, Little Rock, AR

Tags: Educational Summit, Gov. Bush, Walter Hussman, Claiborne P. Deming, Bill Dillard III, A+ Arkansas,, Arkansas,

Thursday, January 10, 2013

What Should the Arkansas Legislature Achieve This session?

Ron Bartels
Hot Springs, Arkansas
by Ron Bartels, Op-Ed: What Should the Arkansas Legislature Achieve This session?

Repeal of the Capital gains tax. (It prevents many employers from coming to Arkansas. It is a penalty for prosperity. Texas does not tax prosperity, we do.)

Freeze on hiring until we have reduced the number of employees by attrition, by at least 20,000. (Kansas has a population similar to our but runs their state government on 20,000 fewer employees and they are probably bloated at that.)

ESAs. (Education saving accounts, like Arizona has pioneered that covers from kindergarden through high school. (Provides parental choices and unspent funds roll over to college or vocational tuition.)

Pay freezes on public employees who are above their peers in pay grade until such a times as public employees are paid on par with private employees. (It is unfair to tax payers to be paying public employees 35% to 50% more than comparable private employees.)

Convert all defined benefit public employee pension plans to defined contribution pension plans to keep the taxpayers who fund the state from going broke. (Arkansas Public Pensions will soon become a crisis and we can't afford another crisis.

Opt Arkansas out of ObamaCare entirely.

Promote security. Expand conceal carry to gun-free zones throughout the state.

Register undocumented aliens before any public service is rendered. (Quit hiding the millions being spent here inside the general categories of line items so we the people who are paying these bills will know just how severe this problem is. We can't fix hidden problems and develop better policy without adequate knowledge. The pro big government want to keep this hidden because they know we will remedy the problem when we know how bad it is.)

Switch Arkansas from welfare to workfare. Require all able-bodied people with financial needs to be constantly on the lookout for employment and reward them for their success. (Let them work part-time with reduced benefits just to reduce our costs as taxpayers while building their self esteem.)

Require better disclosures on psychotropic drugs. Consider limitations on what purposes physicians can prescribe psychotropic narcotics. Require a custodian to supervise the consumption of all psychotropic narcotics to detect additional deviant behaviors. (These are the people committed the mass executions, not guns.)

More psychotropic drug control, less gun control. (The second amendment says nothing about hunting, it refers to the militia and the militia is defined as the people under Title 10, Section 311 of the United States Code. Except those who are physically, criminally incompetent, all males aged 17-45 are mandatory members, similar to to the citizens of Switzerland. Females are optional and males 46 up are optional.)

Arkansas should require responsible firearms training of all citizens before the age of 18, except those exempt for health, (physical or mental) criminal, religious or conscience purposes.

Arkansas Sheriffs should be required to screen and approve all warrants, liens, seizures, repossessions, foreclosures and/or arrests of citizens in their counties, but any outside law enforcement agency to make sure the constitutional rights of that county's citizens are upheld.

Amend the Arkansas Constitution so that State Senators Represent their own County, not a gerrymandered area that changes every ten years. County governments are constantly getting screwed over by state government and the legislature and that will not stop until we make this change. Representatives represent the people while Senators will represent the counties. Representatives should each present no more than 200,000 citizens so that the people are better represented and lobbyists lose power over the people.
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Ron Bartels is an active Arkansas conservative. You may follow him via his Facebook account.

Tags: Ron Bartels, op-ed, Arkansas. legislature, actions needed

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Speaks Seeks Re-election As Arkansas 1st District Republican Chairman

Judge Mickey D. Pendergrass (on left) listens to
1st Dist Chair Benny Speaks at a GOP Rally
by Bill Smith, Editor: Today, in a letter to members of the Arkansas 1st Congressional District Republican Committee, Chairman Benny Speaks, of Baxter County, announced that he is seeking reelection. He said,"The 1st. Congressional District has accomplished a lot the past few years. However, there is much to be done in order for each of our counties to reach their potential.

I do not claim to have brought about this growth alone. Many of you have worked for years to get the First District where we are. Your financial support as well as the on the ground support for our candidates has made this happen and I thank you for that. We have re-elected our U.S. Congressman and increased all our office holders significantly across the District.

Being your Chairman has been an honor and a privilege. Getting to know so many of you and sharing the up and down times has been a wonderful experience. Along the way, we have accomplished a lot.

According to the RPA rules, I am allowed to serve one more term as your District Chairman. I am asking for your support for reelection to this office when we hold our district elections at the District meeting which will be held at ASU in Newport on February 23rd."
Speaks is an active member of the Baxter County Republican Committee and worked diligently supporting candidate in the 2012 elections with the result being the election of Republicans to almost all the elected offices in Baxter County government. Speaks has previously served as President of the Baxter County Men's Club, as Baxter County Republican Arkansas State Committeeman and served on the Arkansas Republican Party Executive Committee. In 2000, he was an alternate delegate to the Republican national Convention and was awarded the Baxter County Committee Lifetime Republican Service Award in 2008.

Tags: Benny Speaks, 1st Congressional District Republican Committee, Arkansas, election of officers, Chairman, 2013-2014

RPA 2012 Year In Review

RPA Chairman Doyle Webb - Little Rock, Arkansas: We at the Republican Party of Arkansas would like to wish you and your families a Happy New Year! While we have a great year ahead of us in 2013, I would like to take some time for us to reflect on the significant Republican accomplishments made across the state and the many blessings we received in 2012.

December
On December 1, at our Winter State Committee meeting, over 300 Republicans from across Arkansas gathered in Hot Springs to celebrate “A New Day In Arkansas” and party officer elections were held.

All of our officers were re-elected. I was elected as RPA State Chairman for a third term as well as Duane Neal of Bentonville serving as First Vice Chairman, Robin Lundstrum of Springdale as Second Vice Chairman, John Parke of Little Rock as Treasurer and Jennifer Parks of El Dorado as Secretary.

Several individuals and counties were presented with special awards of recognition:
  • Friend of the Republican Party of Arkansas: Dave Elswick, radio host, KARN News Radio
  • Taste of Arkansas: Polk County GOP for their famous smoked chicken served at their annual dinner
  • Best First Annual Event: Hot Spring County GOP for their fish fry attended by nearly 200
  • Best Tusk Club Event: Washington County GOP
  • Best Annual Event: Benton County GOP for their annual Lincoln Day Dinner
  • Best of the Districts: First Congressional District
  • Best Overall: Sebastian County GOP
November
Republicans made history in Arkansas on November 6 by overcoming 138 years of democrat control and electing Republicans to lead in the Arkansas Legislature! Today, Republicans hold 21 out of 35 seats in the Senate and 51 out of 100 seats in the House.

On the National level, with the election of Tom Cotton in the Fourth Congressional District, we now have four Republican Congressmen representing our great state in Washington, D.C. Arkansans carried the state for Governor Mitt Romney with nearly 61 percent of the vote.

The evening of November 6, the RPA held a “Countdown to Victory” Election Night Watch Party in West Little Rock at the Embassy Suites. Honored guests included U.S. Senator John Boozman, Congressman Tim Griffin, Lt. Governor Mark Darr, House Republican Leader Rep. Bruce Westerman, current elected state legislators and legislative and local candidates.

Our success today is the culmination of decades of work from individuals with a vision to build a real two-party system in Arkansas. To document this historic journey, we’ve compiled a series of short videos to share with you. Click here to watch.

On November 30, we held our annual TUSK Club Christmas Celebration in the Crystal Ballroom of the historic Arlington Hotel in Hot Springs. This Celebration was attended by over 140 of our major contributors. Barbara and I were pleased to host a reception immediately preceding the dinner.

October
On October 27, nearly 300 guests gathered at the Rivermarket Pavilion in downtown Little Rock "In the Red Zone" with Gov. Huckabee to rally GOP supporters just days before the November 6 election!

September
National Chairman Reince Priebus was a special guest at a Romney/Ryan fundraising lunch in Northwest Arkansas on September 18. National Committeewoman Jonelle Fulmer, National Committeeman Jonathan Barnett, Finance Director Alisha Curtis and I represented the State Party at the event.

I spoke to over 100 motivated College Republicans at the University of Arkansas campus on September 20.

The Arkansas Federation of College Republicans (AFCR) hosted Alabama Congressman Artur Davis, a speaker at the National Convention, at a fundraising event in Little Rock on September 24 at the RPA Headquarters.

August
On August 4, RPA TUSK Club members gathered for a private luncheon at the Rockefeller home on Petit Jean Mountain for our annual Summer event. The luncheon was graciously hosted by Lisenne and Will Rockefeller. Among the attendees were Congressman Tom Cotton, Congressman Ed Bethune, RPA officers and National Committee Members along with several members of the Arkansas Legislature.

The 2012 Republican National Convention was held at the Tampa Bay Times Forum from August 27 trhough August 30. The convention hosted 2,286 delegates and 2,125 alternate delegates from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and five territories. Delegates and Alternates were elected to represent Arkansas and cast their votes for Republican presidential nominee Gov. Mitt Romney. The Arkansas Delegation to the GOP Convention was comprised of 36 delegates and 33 alternate delegates. I especially want to thank the tireless work of the RPA staff, Katherine Vasilos, Megan Tollett and Alisha Curtis in organizing, implementing, and raising the necessary funds for the many outstanding delegation activities.

July
Congressman Rick Crawford and I held the grand opening of the Northeast Arkansas Republican Victory Center on July 21 in Jonesboro! This office assisted in helping elect Republican candidates in the first Congressional District.

Our first annual Reagan-Rockefeller Dinner (formerly known as the Governor’s Dinner) was held at the Hot Springs Convention Center the evening before our State Convention. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal headlined the photo reception and dinner on July 27.

The 2012 biennial State Convention was held at the Hot Springs Convention Center on July 28. The Convention's purpose was to approve a party platform, ratify new state committee members, consider resolutions presented by delegates and select our state's members of the Electoral College. It was attended by nearly 1,000 delegates, alternates and guests from across the state. We are proud to have a platform that opposes new taxes, supports traditional marriage and includes bold, conservative reform to create a more efficient and effective government. Most importantly, we are proud to have a platform that represents Arkansas values.   Click here to read and download a copy of this important document.

June
We welcomed George P. Bush on June 7 at a fundraising reception in downtown Little Rock held at Juanita's Cantina. Mr. Bush is the grandson of former President George H. W. Bush and National Co-Chair for Maverick PAC!

On June 22, the Republican Party hosted a free GOPAC candidate training for local and state candidates at the LR Regional Chamber of Commerce. This training included topics such as Get Out the Vote (GOTV), fundraising, messaging, among many others.
We held a beach-themed fundraiser at the Robinson Center entitled "A Night in Tampa" at which we previewed the 2012 Republican National Convention the evening before our Summer State Committee Meeting!

On June 23 the Summer State Committee meeting took place at the Wyndham Hotel in Little Rock. At-Large Delegates and Alternates to the Republican National Convention were elected as well as a new National Committeeman and National Committeewoman. Jonelle Fulmer of Fort Smith was elected as National Committeewoman and Representative Jonathan Barnett was reelected as National Committeeman.
During the noon recess of the State Committee Meeting, we hosted a “Roses for Reta” luncheon honoring our National Committeewoman Reta Hamilton for her lifetime of service to the Republican Party.

May
On May 1, the RPA sponsored a Rockefeller Centennial Birthday event in the Rotunda of the Capitol marking the 100th Birthday of former Arkansas Republican Governor Winthrop Rockefeller. The event was complete with balloons, cupcakes, refreshments and a large Birthday card for all to sign! In celebration of his lasting legacy, the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute hosted a series of educational events across the state.

The Primary Election was held on May 22 in Arkansas. Republicans had a turnout of 151,016 voters which is up 6,316 since the 2010 Primary Election. The total Democratic turnout declined to 163,493 in the 2012 Primary resulting in a loss of 171,907 voters from the 2010 Primary Election.

April
On April 11, the Political Animals Club hosted their monthly luncheon at the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion with a debate between Democratic Party Chairman Will Bond and me (of course I won).

The RNC State Chairman’s meeting was held in Scottsdale, Arizona in April. Communications Director Katherine Vasilos and Finance Director Alisha Curtis attended the meeting for training in their respective areas.  National Committeewoman Reta Hamilton, National Committeeman Jonathan Barnett and I represented the state. A highlight of this meeting was a photo reception with Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney.

March
In March, the Fiscal Session came to a close and Gov. Beebe’s $4.7 billion budget was passed by Arkansas Democrats. We are proud to have conservative legislators who remained committed to passing a balanced budget that reduces spending, cuts waste, fraud and abuse and most importantly addresses a looming Medicaid shortfall.

February
The candidate filing period was held February 22 through March 1 with a record number of Republicans filing for office at the local, state and federal levels. The state Republican Party filed a total of 124 candidates for state and federal races. This included all four Presidential candidates, six congressional candidates, 83 candidates for the State House and 31 State Senate Candidates. As you know, we competed in all four congressional races, 74 House races and 25 Senate races.
To kick off the filing period, we hosted a “Filing for a Majority” fundraising reception at Next Level Events located in downtown Little Rock attended by over 150 guests including candidates.

January
In January, National Committee members Jonathan Barnett, Reta Hamilton and I attended the Winter RNC meeting in New Orleans with staff members, Political Director Megan Tollett and Victory Director Michael Lambert.

We had a productive year making history in Arkansas! In addition to all of the above, our staff and I spent countless hours assisting candidates, raising funds, and growing our local county committees. Much of my time is spent traveling the state meeting one on one with potential donors and recruiting candidates. Good relationships are a key factor in my role as State Party Chairman. I look forward to working with you in the year ahead to pave the way in making history yet again in 2014 by defeating US Senator Mark Pryor, electing a new Republican Governor, all Constitutional officers, electing more Republicans to the Arkansas Legislature and to local offices. I look forward to us building a true Conservative Majority!

Tags: RPA, Republican Party of Arkansas, Chairman, Doyle Webb, 2012 in Reviw

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Crawford: Beginning the 113th Congress

Crawford family with Speaker John Boehner
at the swearing in ceremony for 113th Congress
Rep. Rick Crawford: After weeks of uncertainty regarding the so-called ‘fiscal cliff’ the House of Representatives voted this week on a plan from the Senate that would avert the cliff. For the last two years I have sounded the alarm about the need to address our nation’s $17 trillion national debt. The Congressional Budget Office has predicted the Senate’s deal will add nearly $4 trillion to the national debt over the next ten years. Ultimately I could not vote to support the Senate fiscal cliff plan because it did not do anything to address our nation’s spending problem.

Additionally, this week the House of Representatives held a vote to impose a pay freeze on Members of Congress. As so many families in our district are struggling to make ends meet, Members of Congress should not receive pay increases. I voted in favor of a freeze on congressional salaries.

Also this week the 113th Congress was sworn in to office. My wife Stacy, son Will and daughter Delaney were in town this week for the ceremony.

Crawford Column: Debt Not Addressed in Senate's Fiscal Cliff Plan
On the first day of 2013, the House of Representatives voted to pass the Senate’s so-called deal to avert the ‘fiscal cliff’. The Congressional Budget Office has predicted the Senate’s deal will add nearly $4 trillion to the national debt over the next ten years. Ultimately I could not vote to support the Senate fiscal cliff plan because it did not do anything to address our nation’s spending problem. Permanent spending controls are needed to ensure this Congress, and all future Congresses, do not spend our children and grandchildren into oblivion.

The Senate’s deal to avert the ‘fiscal cliff’ will make it harder to grow the economy and create jobs. Small business owners and family farmers, not just the wealthiest of Americans, will now have to decide how to pay an increased tax burden. Chances are they will be forced to let employees go, cut hours and benefits, and postpone hiring new workers. Not to mention this deal does nothing to address the biggest burden facing America’s economic growth, our mounting national debt.

Included in the fiscal cliff legislation was a short-term extension of farm policy. Congress cannot expect farm families to continue producing the safest, most abundant and affordable food supply on the planet without the certainty provided under a long-term Farm Bill. The House Agriculture Committee passed a fiscally sound, bipartisan five-year Farm Bill in June that would provide producers with the ability to plan well into the future. The short-term policy extension included in the fiscal cliff deal will hurt producers in Arkansas and around the country.

After weeks of uncertainty and political games, many people will be relieved that their taxes won’t go up. However, in the months ahead workers will be hurt when employers pass on to them one of the largest tax increases in the last two decades. This deal just kicks the can further down the road by postponing dealing with our debt crisis. Worst of all, this deal adds to our national debt at a time when we should be focused on passing permanent spending controls.

As the House and Senate now begin the task of looking for ways to pay down our debt, I will continue calling on my colleagues to end the failed fiscal policies that have left our nation with a $17 trillion national debt. The only way we can truly avoid going over the real fiscal cliff is by making fundamental and permanent reforms to end Washington’s spending addiction.

Tags: Representative, Rick Crawford, Arkansas, 1st District, 113th Congress, debt, fiscal cliff

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Moore: Gambling With People's Lives on Obamacare

Editor Comment: Yes we do share articles by non-Republican conservatives. In the below article, Mark Moore has made excellent points about the situation in Arkansas. In addition, remove the reference to Gov. Beebe and insert President Obama and the remarks clearly apply nationally. If you wish to share a comment with Mr. Moore about his article, please follow the link to the original source.

Ark. Gov. Mike Beebe
By Mark Moore, Arkansas Watch: OK, so that may actually be "The Sun King" Louis the XIV.   But the two actually seem to have a very similar governing philosophy. Neither seems to think much of getting any real input from a legislature, even on the largest questions. So which of the two uttered the famous quote "I am the state"? Ahh, it could have been either I guess.

No question looms larger at the moment for state government than whether or not to expand Medicaid to cover adults who make up to 130% of the poverty level in income.    The move is a major component of Obamacare.

Some Republicans have suggested that the question is so important that rather than have it dominate the session, perhaps it should be dealt with in a separate, special session dedicated to that purpose.

His majesty, er, the Governor, has expressed displeasure at the idea, unless it is a three-day pro-forma affair, with the results worked out beforehand in a series of back room deals.

Peasants of the Realm, let's have no more talk of open debate, the only light you need shed on this question comes from the Radiance of your Divine Sun King himself!

The idea that mere legislators should have serious input on important legislation seems to produce discomfort. After all, the legislature is "the people's branch." Why, those legislators are so close to the ground that they often hear from citizens in Nowhere County without even a lobbyist being present! No wonder they sometimes come to session with seditious ideas!

Those on the left, perpetual adolescents that most of them are, hear that the Federal government is offering "free money" if only Arkansas will agree to expand the welfare state again.  To them, its a no brainer.  Free money, you take it.  Free sex, you take it. Free drugs, you take it.

Adults of course, understand that there is no "free." There is always a cost, and there are always risks. What does not always exist, particularly among the perpetual adolescents, is a realistic consideration of what the costs and the risks are before they jump. The stage we are now in politically will be familiar to many parents. It is the stage when the adolescents are frustrated, impatient, and outraged when grown-ups stop to consider all the consequences instead of just "going for it."

They have been enabled by a RAND study which showed that when a state increased its Medicaid coverage the death rate for those under 65 decreased by 6.1%. If the same applied here this would equate to, so I am told, from 1,000 to 2,300 Arkansans having their lives extended. With the adolescent propensity to leap on any fact available to radiate indignation and a shallow sense of moral superiority against whoever is between them and their having their own way, this is enough evidence to conclude that a vote against expanding Medicaid is a vote to kill poor people.

It is not that simple of course, although saying that often produces angry objections from the left.  To them it is that simple.  If there is a problem, throw other people's money at it in the form of government largesse until it goes away. They have no patience for more nuanced and complicated answers, even if their own answers are utter failures which cannot be sustained.

For example, an adult considering whether or not to take on such an obligation might ask whether the fiscal condition of the entity offering to pay for the expansion is healthy enough that we can be sure they will not renege on their commitments. In the case of FEDGOV, the obvious answer is "no." The perpetual adolescents are screaming at legislators to "take the free money" oblivious to the fact that the person promising the money doesn't have it.

Washington D.C. is isolated from reality and suffers from a bad case of "normalcy bias". They think things will be the same as they've been for years because that's the way things have been for years. It's somewhere between circular reasoning and delusion.  It is also a frequent mistake made by persons without a lot of experience or perspective (i.e. adolescents). FEDGOV presses on with lavish promises and massive expansions just like they still have money. They don't, and foreigners will decide when our last national credit card has been maxed out.

Many of our wiser state legislators are wondering if they should launch major new commitments based on the promise of funding from the most indebted institution in all of human history. Suppose you knew a man who used to be rich, but was now living off of credit in a state of denial about his present financial position. If he offered to fund a joint venture with you, would you re-arrange your life so as to take the offer?

You see the RAND study did not even address the issue of whether or not future funding was likely. Nor did it consider what might happen to existing patients on Medicaid if the system breaks from expanding it beyond realistic available resources. Many have viewed public welfare programs as a "safety net."  Using this analogy, the strength of the net is related to the ability of taxpayers to fund it and the number of welfare recipients is the load on the net. What happens to those currently in the net if the net breaks due to more people piling onto it? What happens to those newly dependent on the system only to have it break down?

What I am saying is that the reality is not nearly as simple as "expand the system or you are voting to kill people." That sort of thinking is for perpetual adolescents. Rational adults must factor in the probability that the imagined funding for the expansion will actually materialize and be sustained.  Additionally, they will consider the risk to those currently served should the funding, and thus the system it supports, suffer catastrophic collapse due to arrogant miscalculations about the real vs. imagined capabilities of our would-be saviors from D.C. Teenagers think they can handle anything. Accident insurance tables tell a different story.

The truth may be just the opposite of the conclusion implied by the RAND study. Rather than providing longer life to more people, an unsustainable attempt at expansion might cost more years from more lives than doing nothing. Leftists may be literally betting the lives of those currently on Medicaid that Obama knows what he's doing. If one's confidence in the Resident does not rise to that level, then caution is advised.

All this presumes, or at least does not challenge the idea, that the government ought to be in the business of providing health care to citizens paid for by taxes forcibly collected from other citizens. That's not my philosophical position, but its where most people are now and given where we are now I think its what we have to do, so I analyzed the policy from that viewpoint. But real adults could consider even deeper questions. For example, would it be "moral" to make all citizens of Arkansas permanent slaves in order to lengthen the life of one person for ten years? If it would not, then what about lengthening the lives of two people for ten years? Still not a good deal?

Perhaps the answer should be that it is immoral to make slaves of someone, even to add years to one's life, and the number slaved vs. the years saved does not morally matter. Yet this is the slippery slope we find ourselves descending because we have been able for a half a century to grow the welfare state on credit.  In the recent past we could say "yes" on credit and help people at once while deferring till later the thorny question of who was going to have to spend years of their life slaving away to pay the bill. We are running out of credit, and further purchases of welfare will soon have to be paid for on a cash basis.

And I am not saying that we have to accept current under-65 death rates either. I am only saying that we have to find other, more subtle, ways of lowering such rates. Such ways are often beyond the power of the blunt instrument of government to deliver. Primary among them would be an increase in personal morality and responsibility. An increase in private charity could reduce such death rates, but implementation of this outcome is hampered in part by a wide-spread belief that only government solutions are real solutions.  Any solution more subtle than smothering the problem in a dump-truck load full of taxpayer dollars is scoffed at by perpetual adolescents.

The battle will be fierce, I hope the grown-ups stand their ground.
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Mark Moore is a writer and the moderator of Arkansas Watch.  He was a former independent candidate for Arkansas State Representative, District 95.

Tags: Obamacare, Arkansas, Gov. Beebe, Federal Government. FEDGOV, Arkansas Watch, Mark Moore

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Tom Cotton Thanks Mike Ross for His Service

Also Expresses Gratitude for Support during Transition
Washington, DC -- Rep.-elect Tom Cotton today made the following statement to express his gratitude for Rep. Mike Ross: "I want to thank Mike Ross for his service to Arkansas and our country, as well as his support for a smooth transition. In both the state Senate and the Congress, Mike leaves a legacy of service and civility. I am personally grateful for the advice and support Mike and his team provided over the last two months. With their help, my team is ready to serve our fellow Arkansans starting tomorrow. I encourage all Arkansans to join me in thanking Mike for his service and wishing Mike and Holly the very best as they begin a new chapter in life."

Tags: Arkansas, 4th Congressional District, Rep. Mike Ross, Rep-elect Tom Cotton

Arkansas Delegation Votes On Fiscal Cliff Bill

How did the Arkansas Delegation voted on the Fiscal Cliff bill? Without any commentary, here are their votes on the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012:
Rep. Mike Ross (D-AR-4)
Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR-1)
Rep. Steve Womack (R-AR-3)
Rep. Tim Griffin (R-AR-2)
Sen. Mark Pryor (D)
Sen. John Boozman (R)
Yea
Nay
Yea
Nay
Yea
Yea

Tags: Arkansas, votes, Fiscal Cliff bill

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Increase Pay For Members of Congress Is ‘Misguided’

Griffin Cosponsors Bill to Reject Obama's Executive Order Pay Raise for Congress
Calls President Obama’s plan to increase pay for Members of Congress ‘misguided’

U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin
ARRA News Service - WASHINGTON – Congressman Tim Griffin (AR-02) issued the following statement after cosponsoring legislation to block President Obama’s Executive Order that gives a pay raise to Members of Congress:“Just as I’ve refused my Congressional pension, I’ve never accepted a pay raise since becoming a Member of Congress, and I won’t accept one now.  This is simply another one of President Obama’s misguided Executive Orders, and I urge my colleagues to pass this legislation that will continue Congress’s self-imposed salary freeze.”On December 27, 2012, President Obama signed an Executive Order rescinding the federal pay freeze effective March 27, 2013.  Griffin is an original cosponsor of legislation introduced by Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-08) that would prevent Congress from receiving the pay raise ordered by President Obama.  The House is likely to hold a vote on the bill this week.

Griffin has voted repeatedly to keep Congressional salaries frozen.  Griffin supported H.R. 3835, which passed the House in February 2012, and would freeze congressional and federal civilian salaries through 2013.  It awaits a vote in the Senate.

H.Con.Res. 112, which passed the House in March 2012 with Griffin’s support, extended the freeze through 2015.  It also awaits action in the Senate.

In August, The Washington Post reported: “In a letter to House and Senate leaders, the president reiterated his support for ending the pay freeze [for federal employees] with a 0.5 percent raise, to take effect Jan. 1, 2013, that he proposed early this year….  Under a law passed in 2010, salary rates are frozen for 2011 and 2012, although employees still can get raises upon promotion, as a performance reward or as they advance up the steps of their pay grades.”

According to National Journal, “The 1990 Federal Employees Pay Comparability Act allows the president through an executive order to set a pay raise for government employees if Congress doesn’t specify one and doesn’t pass legislation prohibiting it.”

Tags: Barack Obama, pay raises, members of Congress, Congress, Tim Griffin, H.R. 3835, stopping the pay raise To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Top Story in Arkansas (2012) - Rise of Arkansas Republicans

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - In 2012, Arkansas Republicans grabbed a majority in the state House and Senate and all congressional seats up for election.

The rise of Republicans in Arkansas was voted the top story in 2012 in Arkansas by Associated Press members. . . . [Read Full Story]

Tags: AP, Arkansas, top story of the year, Rise of Republicans, 2012 election