Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas 2013



Tags: Merry Christmas, 2013 To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Arkansas State GOP Announces Revised U.S. Sen. Rand Paul Event

by Republican Party of Arkansas: HOT SPRINGS — The Republican Party of Arkansas has rescheduled an event in Hot Springs featuring U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky.

The freshman Republican senator was originally scheduled to speak in Hot Springs on Dec. 6, but that event was postponed because of wintry weather in the area. The state party announced Wednesday that Paul will now speak at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 31 at the Hot Springs Convention Center.

Tickets for the event are available through Ticketmaster.

Paul is the son of former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, a former presidential candidate, and was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2010.

The Arkansas Republican Party will hold its state committee meeting on Feb. 1 at the Arlington Hotel in Hot Springs.

Tags: RPA, Arkansas Republican Party, Rand Paul, RPA Convention To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Friday, December 20, 2013

NFIB: Arkansas Ads - Mark Pryor & Obmacare's Failures, Broken Promises and Increased Uncertainty for Small Businesses

LITTLE ROCK, Dec. 19, 2013 – NFIB - The Voice of Free Enterprise today launched a new, $550,000 campaign to educate Arkansans on the difficulties faced by small businesses due to Obamacare’s many failures, broken promises and increased uncertainty.

The ads, which will air statewide on Arkansas broadcast and cable TV and radio beginning today, highlight the harmful effects Obamacare is having on small businesses and employees. They tell the story of John Parke, Chief Operating Officer of Democrat Printing and Lithographing Company in Little Rock, AR, and the challenges his business faces with increasing healthcare costs and politicians in Washington who keep changing the rules, making it even harder on America’s small businesses.
“Even after almost four years, Obamacare is still broken in Arkansas, and broken across America,” said Sylvester Smith, Arkansas State Director for the NFIB. “It’s time for Senator Pryor and everyone who voted for the law to admit it, hit the reset button, and move on before any more damage is done to Arkansas small businesses, workers and families.”

“The worst part about Obamacare is that we just don’t know what’s going to come next,” said John Parke, Chief Operating Officer of Democrat Printing and Lithographing Co, a business that has been in his family for several generations. “Healthcare costs for our business and our employees continue to skyrocket, and we just can’t seem to get a straight answer out of Washington.”

The ads call on Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR), who supported Obamacare’s passage, to stand up for Arkansas small businesses and families and work to fix the broken healthcare law before more damage is done.

To learn more about how Obamacare is affecting American small businesses and families, visit: http://www.nfib.com/business-resources/healthcare
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Voice of Free Enterprise (VFE) is dedicated to promoting free enterprise and entrepreneurship in communities large and small across America. We believe that America’s entrepreneurial spirit is our greatest resource, and must be protected and fostered in order to give our nation’s current entrepreneurs, and the next generation of innovators, job creators and risk takers, the greatest chances to succeed in the ever-changing global economy. VFE is committed to enhancing American free enterprise through education and awareness at the national, state and local levels. As an advocate for all Americans concerned about the current state of small and independent businesses, the VFE will fight to increase opportunities for participation in our free enterprise system, and for responsible, pro-growth government policies that promote American business ownership and entrepreneurship. VFE is affiliated with the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).

Tags: NFIB, Arkansas, Obamacare, broken, Mark Pryor, hurting, small business To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Harry Reid Needs Mark Pryor to Enact a Liberal Agenda Too Extreme for Arkansas

A Vote for Pryor = Eight More Years of Leader Harry Reid
Reid: "Follow me Pryor!"
 Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made clear that he plans to stick around for eight more years as the Senate Leader. Re-electing Democrats like Mark Pryor is a critical part of that plan.

Roll Call reports "Reid is up for re-election in 2016 and has repeatedly said he intends to run again. He reiterated that intention again on Wednesday and indicated he’s looking at serving another full term running the Senate, if Democrats hold onto the majority the entire time."

It's no secret that Harry Reid will do everything in his power to re-elect Democrat Mark Pryor because he knows that a vote for Pryor for Senate equals a vote for Harry Reid as Majority Leader.  Reid is counting on Mark Pryor to be a reliable vote for the liberal Obama-Reid agenda.

"Harry Reid is making clear to Arkansas voters that he and President Obama need Mark Pryor in Washington to enact their radical agenda, said NRSC Press Secretary Brook Hougesen. "A vote for Mark Pryor equals a vote for eight more years of Harry Reid running the Senate, which means higher taxes, ObamaCare on steroids, bigger government, and an attack on Second Amendment freedoms. That's bad for Arkansans."

BACKGROUND
Mark Pryor Voted To Make Harry Reid Majority Leader. “Durbin, Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, Democratic Caucus Vice Chairman Chuck Schumer of New York and Democratic Conference Secretary Patty Murray of Washington were all elected by unanimous vote.” (“Durbin Re-Elected Senate Assistant Majority Leader,” The [Springfield, IL] State Journal-Register, 11/14/12)

Mark Pryor Has Received $29,463 From Harry Reid’s Searchlight Leadership Fund. (Center For Responsive Politics, www.opensecrets.org, Accessed 12/16/13)

In 2008, Mark Pryor’s PAC, Priority PAC, Donated $10,000 To Harry Reid’s Campaign. (Center For Responsive Politics, www.opensecrets.org, Accessed 12/18/13)

REID'S AGENDA ON:
TAXES
Harry Reid Said “Everybody” Was “Willing To Pay More” Taxes. “‘The only people who feel there shouldn’t be more coming in to the federal government from the rich people are the Republicans in the Congress,’ Reid said. ‘Everybody else, including the rich people, are willing to pay more. They want to pay more.’” (Niels Lesniewski, “Reid: ‘There’s Not Going To Be A Grand Bargain,’” Roll Call, 10/24/13)

OBAMACARE
Harry Reid Said ObamaCare “Has Been Wonderful For America.” REID: “First of all, Obamacare, whatever comes up the Republicans throw that in. You realize they’ve voted to repeal it 40 times. What’s happened 40 times, of course, it’s failed. Obamacare has been wonderful for America …” (NBC’s, “Meet The Press,” 7/14/13)

Harry Reid Continues To Defend The “If You Like It, You Can Keep It” Lie. REID: “Remember what the president said, ‘If you like your insurance, you can keep it.’ There is nobody in America who has the same insurance they had when he said this. We’ve had three different years. Their policies were only for one year. …” ANCHOR: “That was so damaging, a lot of people said, for the president to go out and say you will be able to keep your coverage if you like it. There were thousands of people who found out that was not actually possible.” REID: “But I still go back and say what I said earlier: What he said was true. If you want to keep the insurance you have, you keep it. The problem is, we did not put the bill into effect that way, there are a lot of administrative things to kick in. And there have been three changes in anyone’s policy since then. It’s not the same policy.” (KSNV, 12/3/2013)

Harry Reid Said ObamaCare Is Just A Step Toward Single-Payer Health Care. “‘What we’ve done with Obamacare is have a step in the right direction, but we’re far from having something that’s going to work forever,’ Reid said. When then asked by panelist Steve Sebelius whether he meant ultimately the country would have to have a health care system that abandoned insurance as the means of accessing it, Reid said: ‘Yes, yes. Absolutely, yes.’” (Karoun Demirjian, “Reid Says Obamacare Just A Step Toward Eventual Single-Payer System,” Las Vegas Sun, 8/10/13)

SECOND AMENDMENT
Harry Reid Said The Senate Was Not Finished Pushing New Gun Control Legislation. “Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Friday that Democrats will continue to push for new restrictions on gun ownership, in a floor speech he delivered just one day before the one-year anniversary of the Newtown, Conn., shooting that left 26 dead. ‘Last December I promised the families a meaningful conversation about how to change America's culture of violence,’ Reid said. ‘I want everyone within the sound of my voice to know that the conversation is not over. ‘The American people will prevail on this issue.’” (Pete Kasperowicz, “Reid Says Gun Debate Isn't Over,” The Hill, 12/13/13)

Harry Reid Supports An Assault Weapons Ban. “Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), a lawmaker who has been endorsed by the National Rifle Association in the past, came out on Wednesday in support of strong gun control measures, including a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. He called for "courage" from his colleagues to join him in backing the gun legislation that will be up for a vote in the Senate Wednesday afternoon, and sharply criticized conspiracy theorists who ‘believe in black helicopters’ and are spreading misinformation about the bill.” (Amanda Terkel, “Harry Reid Comes Out For Ban On Assault Weapons, High-Capacity Magazines,” Huffington Post, 4/17/13)

Tags: Harry Reid, Mark Pryor Extreme agenda, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Governor Beebe's Gall

by Darrell Geurin, Letter to The Editor: According to a recent article in the Jonesboro Sun, Governor Mike Beebe wants “good people” to run for office. He also indicated that some of the legislators citizens elect are ideologically rigid and will not listen to facts, a thinly veiled reference to conservative Republicans. Is this not a case of the pot calling the kettle black?

Leftist journalist John Brummett wrote in an article that Beebe has such tight control of the state Democratic Party that “it won’t go to the bathroom without a hall pass from his office.” And Beebe refused to take “no” for an answer in regards to the health exchanges in our state. That's what I call rigid ideology. How much more partisan can one get than that? Why have elections? Sounds like Boss Hogg politics to me.

Another left-wing journalist, Max Brantley, wrote in a blog that State Representative Linda Tyler quietly shepherded the defeat of 10 “radical” anti-abortion bills in 2011. (Remember that any abortion bill is considered radical by the Leftists). Rep. Tyler could not have done this by herself, since the Democrats can’t go to the bathroom without Beebe’s approval. Beebe has had to use strong partisan tactics to keep every Democrat in line. The Dems all voted as a block on every controversial bill in the last session and on all but one in the 2011 session - on an anti abortion bill.

Beebe seems to be in lock step with President Obama and has not even criticized Obama for all the lies to the American people, most notably about being able to keep your health care plan and your doctor. Even Leonard Pitts, the Pulitzer Prize winning black journalist, said Obama lied to the American people. It’s an established fact.

Some pundits have suggested that Obama is sympathetic to the Muslim cause. It is interesting that the concepts of lying and deception are accepted in the Muslim culture - if it furthers their cause. The terms they use for this are taqiyya and kitman. Taqiyya involves deception and keeping one's convictions secret while kitman is concealing one's intentions. Both are basically lying. Obama was steeped in Islamic culture during his childhood and he still puts Islam on a pedestal. And Beebe has followed in lock-step with everything Obama has decreed including Obamacare.

The private option is just Obamacare in disguise. Beebe went to great lengths to implement Obamacare in Arkansas, starting early on by pulling a coup to get the Republican speaker, Davy Carter, elected by getting all Democrats and a few Republicans to vote for Carter. Carter then helped Beebe seal the deal on Medicaid Expansion.

And Beebe has the gall to call conservatives partisan!
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Darrell Geurin lives in Lynn, Arkansas. His letter to the editor was also submitted to the Jonesboro Sun.

Tags: Letter to the Editor, Arkansas Governor, Mike Beebe, gall, private option, Obamacare in disguise, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Sen. Boozman to Vote Against Budget Deal And Stand With Military and Veterans

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) released the following statement in opposition to the budget agreement expected to pass the Senate later today:

I appreciate the efforts of both sides to find common ground and avoid another shutdown. However, I cannot support a measure that immediately increases spending and ultimately busts the budget caps that were put place to get us on the path to fiscal responsibility.

Sequestration, while not the ideal way to address spending, has actually worked. As a result, we have been able to reduce discretionary spending for two straight years for the first time since the end of World War II. While we should look for a better method to achieve savings than across-the-board cuts, this agreement falls short of achieving significant savings.

One way the budget agreement finds savings comes at the expense of every retired serviceman and woman. The agreement reduces the cost-of-living-adjustments (COLAs) for retired servicemembers under the age of 62. There are better ways to find savings than reducing the retirement compensation of individual military retirees by as much as $72,000. It’s simply not appropriate to ask our military retirees for more sacrifice while we continue to ignore our real spending problem.

While I appreciate the effort to restore regular order to the budget process, we have to get serious about our spending problem. I hope that we can do that during the appropriations process in the coming year. We can’t keep kicking the can down the road and continue the ‘spend now in return for promises later’ mentality.

Tags: John Boozman, vote, budget deal, Stands with Veterans To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Pryor Vote For Budget Amendment Vote And Against Military Veterans

  Senator Pryor votes to cut military retirement benefits by $6 billion instead of standing up to liberal leadership
Little Rock, Arkansas — U.S. Senator Mark Pryor voted Tuesday evening to block an amendment by Senator Jeff Sesssions (R-AL) that would have removed $6 billion in cuts to military retirees from the Ryan-Murray budget being considered by the Senate.

As reported by The Hill, the current version of the Ryan-Murray budget proposal cuts military retiree benefits by $6 billion. The amendment offered by Senator Sessions would have restored the funding to veterans retirement benefits, as reported by . The amendment failed 46-54, with embattled Democrat Kay Hagan (D-NC) siding with Senate Republicans.

Senate candidate Tom Cotton's campaign manager Justin Brasell took Pryor to task for his vote, saying: “It’s shameful for Senator Pryor to put party politics and loyalty to Harry Reid above his responsibility to our nation’s wounded warriors. Those who put their lives on the line to defend our freedoms shouldn’t be on Senator Pryor’s chopping block so he can pay for more big-government programs.”

The $6 billion in cuts to military retirees are achieved by cutting the cost-of-living adjustments for these retirees under age 62 to inflation minus 1 percent. The Military Officers Association of America says that military personnel who serve 20 years could lose tens of thousands of dollars because of these cuts. They estimate that an E-7 retiring at age 40 today would experience a loss of $83,000, and an O-5 would lose $124,000.

Sessions’ amendment would pay for the cuts by closing a tax loophole that allows illegal immigrants to receive tax payments through the Additional Child Tax Credit. Currently, illegal immigrants cannot collect tax benefits that require a Social Security number, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit. However, the Additional Child Tax Credit does not require a Social Security number, and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration expects to issue $7.4 billion in ACTC payments this year to individuals without a valid Social Security Number.

In an interview Friday on The Sean Hannity Show, Congressman Cotton cited these cuts to military retirees as one of the reasons he voted against the budget. Senator Sessions, the author of the amendment, made a passionate plea on the Senate floor Friday evening urging its passage.
Discussing the budget deal, Senator Sessions told The Daily Caller: “Today, Reid and his majority quashed the ability of any Senator to offers amendments to the spending deal that emerged from the House. They voted to undermine their own ability as Senators to offer amendments and do legislative work in the clear light of day,” Sessions said in a statement after his motion was voted down. They voted to block the Senate from working to improve this tax-and-spend deal,” he added. “Finally, by blocking my amendment, they voted to cut pensions for wounded warriors. Senators in this chamber have many valid ideas for replacing these pension cuts, including my proposal to close the tax welfare loophole for illegal filers, and all deserved a fair and open hearing. But they were denied.”

The section of the budget that would have been removed by the Sessions amendment begins on page 53 of the budget and runs through page 55. It can be viewed here.

Tags: Mark Pryor, votes, Against, Veterans, budget deal  To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Boozman and Cotton Work to Protect Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. from Chinese Factory Actions

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) and Congressman Tom Cotton (AR-4) urged administration officials to protect the interests of Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. in China ahead of meetings of the U.S.-China Joint Committee on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) in Beijing that begin tomorrow.

Cooper is an Ohio-based global tire manufacturer with 2012 revenues of $4.2 billion and major U.S. manufacturing facilities in Arkansas, Ohio and Mississippi. Cooper has a large, majority-owned joint venture manufacturing facility, Cooper Chengshan (Shandong) Tire Company (CCT), in Rongcheng, Weihai City, Shandong Province in China, which accounts for roughly 25 percent of Cooper’s worldwide production.

The letter sent to Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Mike Froman calls for action in resolving Cooper’s joint venture in China.

Here are excerpts from the letter sent today:
“We write today with deep concern about a serious issue Cooper Tire & Rubber Company is facing at its joint venture in China which has put the entire company at risk, including more than 5,000 jobs in the United States, and which has serious implications for all American businesses with interests and investments in China. We respectfully request your assistance in resolving this urgent matter.”

“Cooper has been facing a series of actions in violation of its rights as the majority owner of the joint venture…These actions have included, initially, two 5,000-employee work stoppages and, subsequently, labor actions including forced occupation of the CCT production facility; denial of access for Cooper and its appointed members of CCT management to the facility, financial data, and personal property; workers’ refusal to input financial and production data into CCT systems in accordance with internal operating procedure; workers’ refusal to produce Cooper-branded products; and the unlawful appropriation of company chops and registration documents.”

"In response to these actions, Cooper has requested assistance from Chinese government authorities at all levels, has appealed to local police, and has attempted to seek justice in local courts of law, but the situation continues. Cooper management has made multiple attempts to ... reach a resolution. ... At this point, the situation remains unresolved and Cooper has suffered considerable losses."

Background:

Since June 2013, one of Cooper’s international factories in Shandong Province, China has faced constant work stoppages and other actions threatening the whole company. Cooper operates the facility as a joint venture with a Chinese partner.

Efforts to resolve this issue have been unsuccessful and the consequences continue to worsen. The production process has not been restored to its previous state, and Cooper has suffered considerable losses. One of the most critical issues that Cooper currently faces is that it is being denied access to the joint venture’s financial and operational information. Without this information, Cooper is unable to file its financial report for Q3 2013 as required by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. This has forced Cooper to be in violation of its U.S. and global regulatory obligations, which could potentially have broad impacts on its U.S. operations and its 5,000 U.S. workers.

The letter was also signed by Senators Mark Pryor (D-AR), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Rob Portman (R-OH), Thad Cochran, (R-MS) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Congressmen Jim Jordan (OH-4), Bob Latta (OH-5) and Alan Nunnelee (MS-1).

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Monday, December 16, 2013

ICYMI: Tom Cotton on Fox News' Hannity

 Little Rock, Arkansas — Congressman Tom Cotton and Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz (UT-03) appeared on Fox News' The Sean Hannity Show Friday night to discuss President Obama's false promise that "if you like your health care plan, you can keep it," under Obamacare. This false promise has been echoed by Cotton's opponent, Senator Mark Pryor, who told Arkansans that Obamacare would "protect and expand an individual’s choice of doctors and insurance plans without any government interference."
During the interview, Cotton said: "Even a so-called fact checker like Politifact knows that the President’s promise that you can keep your healthcare plan if you like it was the lie of the year. Mark Pryor says he just learned that a few months ago with the rest of us, yet he voted for Obamacare and he voted for the very regulation that is causing people to lose their health insurance, so I guess he didn’t know or didn’t understand what he was voting for.

Tags: Tom Cotton, Fox News, Hannity Show To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Merry Christmas From Washington

by Rep, Rick Crawford, Arkansas 1st District: It is hard to believe that another year is completed, and that another year is just around the corner. If you are like me, you are always shocked at how quickly time flies. For Stacy and me, Christmastime is one of our favorite times of the year. The time we are able to spend with our family and friends reminds us of the many blessings God has given us.

Christmas is also a time when I take a step back and look at the many gifts that I have been given, especially my wife, Stacy, and my two kids, Will and Delaney. Another gift I am thankful for is the country that we all live in and call our home. I am mindful of the gift that was given to our forefathers as they were working to form this new nation, and the lengths they took to ensure that there would be a nation whose founding principles would include the inalienable rights endowed upon us by our Creator – life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

The gift that this nation has been to generations of Americans and also to countless generations around the world is something for which I am grateful. The direction and path that we take as a nation is a responsibility that each of you has entrusted to me as your Congressman and it is not a responsibility I take lightly. I am thankful every day for the opportunity to serve in this capacity, and to work on behalf of the people of the First District.

While I am thankful for the work our forefathers put in to creating and establishing our great nation, I am even more thankful for the gift of God’s son, whose life and work was much of the inspiration to our forefathers as they tirelessly and purposefully fought to establish a new nation, under God, whose focus and goals would be that of liberty and justice for all.

We customarily celebrate this time as the birth of the Messiah to an average family in a below average setting. In a manger, surrounded by barn yard animals, the Son of God came as a gift of to an otherwise dark world. This gift came in the form of a man who would bear the sins and burdens of mankind. While we were entirely unfit to accept this blessing, our merciful Creator loved us enough to carry that which would crush us.

Stacy and I hope that you and your family will enjoy this Christmas with your family and loved ones. We hope that you and your family will be blessed in the new year and that the gift of this great nation, and the gift of God’s Son, will continue to be a blessing to you in your life.

Tags: Congressman, Rick Crawford, AR-01, Christmas, 2014 To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Pryor’s Plummeting Polls

Holly Wilson, Communications Director, Republican Party of Arkansas: We hope that everyone stayed safe and warm this past week during the great icepocalypse of 2013. To help you thaw out we have some of the week’s hottest highlights for you here!

Pryor’s Plummeting Polls
With less than a year to go before Election Day, Tom Cotton is leading Mark Pryor by 7 points! Politico's James Hohmann reports that "Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor trails his Republican challenger, Rep. Tom Cotton, by seven points among likely voters in Arkansas, 48-41%.... Cotton is ahead among independents by 21 points and among women by 4 points." Pryor tied himself to Obamacare doubling down on his support for the plan only months before its rocky implementation began. Arkansans aren’t buying his false claims of its success and his polls are plummeting as a result.

Mark Pryor Earns "Lie of the Year" Award
President Obama and Mark Pryor this week won PolitiFact's “Lie of the Year” award for falsely promising Arkansans "if you like your health care, you can keep it" under ObamaCare. Every year PolitiFact celebrates the most ridiculous claim made that year. The clear winner for 2013 is President Obama and Mark Pryor's lie. We guess congratulations are in order?

Special Event and Winter State Committee Meeting
Unfortunately, due to the inclement weather last week we decided to postpone our special event with Senator Rand Paul and our Winter State Committee Meeting, but safety must always come first! We are pleased to announce, however, that Senator Paul graciously agreed to accommodate his schedule for this change and we will announce the new dates as soon as confirmed. Stay tuned!

Tags: Mark Pryor, plummeting polls, Lie of the Year To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Mark Pryor Earns "Lie of the Year" Award

Pryor Spouted ObamaCare Lie At Least Twice to Arkansans

 WASHINGTON, D.C. - President Obama and Mark Pryor (D-AR) this week won PolitiFact's “Lie of the Year” award for falsely promising Arkansans "if you like your health care, you can keep it" under ObamaCare.

Every year PolitiFact lionizes the most ridiculous claim made that year. The clear winner for 2013 is President Obama and Mark Pryor's lie.  Congratulations or something.

The fact is - this is and always has been - an intended consequence of the Affordable Care Act. Mark Pryor supported the very ObamaCare rule that's responsible for the health insurance cancellations that have caused so much consternation over the last few months. Even though millions of Americans face the possibility of losing their health insurance, Mark Pryor refuses to accept responsibility for his deciding vote in favor of ObamaCare.

"Mark Pryor is finally getting the recognition and notoriety he deserves for his years of repeatedly deceiving Arkansas voters about ObamaCare," said NRSC Press Secretary Brook Hougesen. "After all the deceptions, lies and broken promises about ObamaCare, Arkansans are wondering whether they can trust anything that Mark Pryor says.”

BACKGROUND
Democratic Senator Admits All Democrats Knew Americans Would Lose Their Health Care Plan. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand: "We All Knew" Obama’s Promise Wasn’t True. (ABC's "This Week", 11/17/2013)

Top House Democrat Admits Democrats Knew Americans Would Lose Their Coverage Because Of ObamaCare. "House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer conceded to reporters today that Democrats knew people would not be able to keep their current health care plans under Obamacare and expressed qualified contrition for President Obama’s repeated vows to the contrary. 'We knew that there would be some policies that would not qualify and therefore people would be required to get more extensive coverage.'" (National Review Online, "Top Dem Admits: ‘We Knew’", 11/29/2013)

Senate Democrats Voted Unanimously To Support The ObamaCare Rule That's Responsible For The Cancellation Of People's Health Insurance. "In September 2010, Senate Republicans brought a resolution to the floor to block implementation of the grandfather rule, warning that it would result in canceled policies and violate President Barack Obama’s promise that people could keep their insurance if they liked it....On a party line vote, Democrats killed the resolution, which could come back to haunt vulnerable Democrats up for re-election this year....The rule set up the criteria for what insurance plans would be grandfathered, or exempted, from the new Obamacare requirements."  (CNN, "Senate Democrats supported rule that led to insurance cancellations", 10/31/2013)

Mark Pryor Promised Arkansans At Least Twice That They Could Keep Their Insurance If They Liked It. (YouPromised.Org, Accessed 12/12/2013)

Tags: Mark Pryor, Lie of the Year To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

U.S. Senator Pat Toomey Weekly Republican Address - Flaws And Consequences Of Obamacare

‘The problem with Obamacare isn’t just a glitch. It’s fundamental and it’s taking away our freedom. At the heart of the program is the idea that the government should decide your health coverage – what you require and how much you should pay. Never mind what you want, what you need, and what you can afford.’ ~ Sen. Pat Toomey
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In the Weekly Republican Address, Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania talks about how the President’s deeply flawed health care law is causing millions of Americans to lose the insurance plans they liked and pay higher premiums and deductibles under new Obamacare plans. He tells of a constituent with multiple sclerosis who was recently kicked off of her insurance plan because of Obamacare. The woman now has a choice of two plans – one that will allow her to keep her doctor and the other that will pay for her medication. “Neither plan will do both,” says Toomey. “These are the kinds of painful and unfair choices millions of people now face” thanks to Obamacare.
Transcript:“I’m Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey.

“These days, lots of Americans think Members of Congress are out of touch, and you know, at times there’s some truth to that.

“But there’s at least one instance in which many Members of Congress are feeling the very same pain that the rest of America is feeling. And that’s with this new health care law.

“Now, I don’t think anyone should be forced onto Obamacare. But as a Senator, Obamacare forced me and my family onto an exchange for health coverage.

“Just last week, my wife, Kris, tried to sign up on the health exchange website that’s available to us.

“Now, my wife is a very sharp woman, she’s a former computer software consultant.

“She’s also an amazing person and a great mom, but that’s another story.

“When Kris went onto the website, she typed in all our personal information and that of all our three children.

“And then, when she tried to browse the various plans, the website denied her. She tried again, and it still didn’t work. When she called someone and asked for help, she was told the system just wasn’t working right now and it was best to try again later.

“Well, I’ll tell you, I really wish this were a case of a Member of Congress just out of touch. Unfortunately, it’s not.

“The fiasco my wife just faced with the health care website is being experienced by Americans across the country when they try to sign up for health insurance.

“If this were just a matter of a slow-moving computer glitch, well then maybe that would be excusable. But it’s much more than that.

“It’s been reported that that perhaps as many as one-third of those who have been able to complete the online enrollment process might not actually have insurance coverage at all. Apparently, the enrollment information isn’t always being transmitted to the insurers in a large number of cases.

“Can you imagine going to your doctor or to a hospital in January only to find out you’re not actually insured?

“Well, the President says his team is working out the kinks in the website. Now, I hope that’s true

“It sure seems like there’s a long way to go. But let’s assume that the website problems eventually get fixed. Sadly, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

“Before Obamacare became law, the President often told everyone that, and I quote, ‘if you like the health insurance you have, you can keep it, period.’ End quote.

“Well, millions of Americans are now finding out that was never true. The fact is, Obamacare was designed to cancel many plans that people had and people liked – the President now admits as much.

“But this is creating excruciating choices. I recently heard from a woman from Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. She has multiple sclerosis – has for years – and Obamacare kicked her off an insurance plan that worked for her for many years.

“Yes, she can get a plan in the new health care exchange. In fact, it turns out there are two options available to her. One of the options would let her keep her doctor. The other would pay for her medication. And neither plan will do both.

“These are the kinds of painful and unfair choices millions of people now face.

“Now, if you have not yet been directly harmed by Obamacare, consider yourself fortunate.

“But take the time to listen to your friends, family, and neighbors. They’ll tell you stories of lost coverage, higher costs, enrollment errors, not to mention lost jobs and fewer hours working. It’s a disaster for our country, and it’s only going to get worse.

“But this is the holiday season, and we should offer some hope and good cheer. The truth is, there are good reasons for hope, if we can just change direction.

“There are common-sense, bipartisan solutions to our health care problems that don’t require Obamacare’s wholesale government take-over of the system.

“Now, in a nutshell, we can make insurance more accessible, more affordable, and more responsive to individuals and families. And put patients and their doctors in charge of health care decisions, instead of politicians and government bureaucrats.

“We can help those with preexisting conditions purchase affordable insurance.

“I’d like to give individuals the same tax benefits enjoyed by employers buying insurance for their employees.

“We can make it easier to carry health insurance from job to job or to purchase it across state lines.

“We can help small businesses pool together to get quality coverage for their workers at lower prices.

“We can rein in frivolous medical malpractice lawsuits that drive up medical costs for everyone.

“The problem with Obamacare isn’t just a glitch. It’s fundamental and it’s taking away our freedom. At the heart of the program is the idea that the government should decide your health coverage – what you require and how much you should pay. Never mind what you want, what you need, and what you can afford.

“But working together, we can put an end to the dropped coverage and higher costs that the Obamacare law is forcing on so many.

“I think Americans should be free to choose the insurance coverage that’s right for them. That choice should not be in the hands of the Obama Administration or at the mercy of malfunctioning government websites.

“Thanks for listening. And Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy holiday season to everyone.”


Tags: Senator. Pat Toomey, Pennsylvania, Obamacare, flaws, consequences To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Scandal: Arkansas Legislators Hide Longer Term Limits in "Ethics" Amendment

Arkansas Politicians are Hoping to Trick the Voters Again
by Philip Blumel, President, U.S. Term Limits: As I write this email, Arkansas legislators are plotting to weaken their own term limits in the sneakiest way possible. The General Assembly has referred an anti-term limits amendment to the Nov. 2014 ballot. If passed by the voters, it would lengthen House term limits from 6 years to 16 and Senate term limits from 8 years to 16. But here's what's really unthinkable...

The amendment's title doesn't mention term limits at all. That's right. It's called the "Arkansas Elected Officials Ethics, Transparency, and Financial Reform" amendment. If you ask me, there's nothing ethical or transparent about using such a deceptive title to swindle the voters.


TERM LIMITS QUOTES
"This proposition is a prime nominee for the next Shame of Arkansas.
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Editorial, 10/27/13

"Arkansans are not interested in continuing 'plantation politics' or 'tricks by politicians' be they republicans or democrats."
Bill Smith, ARRA News Service


The amendment summary also claims to be "establishing term limits," an obvious trick intended to fool voters who don't know that term limits were established in Arkansas with 60 percent of the vote in 1992, and defended changing them with 70 percent in 2004.

Knowing these facts, it's really no surprise that the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, in an October 27th editorial, named this amendment its "Outrage of the Year."

Here's the good news: We / YOU still have time to stop this unethical bill from becoming an unethical law.

There's no sense in forcing Arkansans to spend time and money to defeat it at the ballot box, so we're calling for the General Assembly to recall it from the ballot when the new session begins in February.

Join the effort by calling your State Senator and House member personally to request that they help remove this scam from the ballot.

Only a true grassroots movement will get it done.
---------------------
On Facebook: LIKE Save AR Term Limits -- On Twitter: Follow @ARTermLimits

Tags: scandal, Arkansas, Legislators, hidden longer term limits, Ethics bill, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Timeline of “Keep Your Plan” Promise Casts Doubt Over Mark Pryor’s Version of Events

Senator Pryor claims he found out about cancellations “along with pretty much everybody else” despite news reports and CBO warnings years ago
Little Rock, Arkansas — Earlier this month, Senator Mark Pryor claimed that he found out about the wave of insurance cancellations brought on by Obamacare “along with pretty much everyone else.” But a timeline of the events leading up to the wave of insurance cancellations casts serious doubt over the honesty of Pryor’s claims.

Timeline:
June 15, 2009:  In a speech to the American Medical Association, President Obama explicitly promises Americans could keep their plan and their doctors, if they liked them.

August 18, 2009: An early analysis from Factcheck.org was very clear that many Americans would not be able to keep their current insurance, as President Obama promised.

October 17, 2009: Senator Pryor’s support is called “critical” to passing Obamacare in the Senate. (Jane Fullerton, “Pryor, Lincoln Seen As Key In Passing Health Bill,” Arkansas Democrat-‐Gazette, 10/17/09).

December 7, 2009: A report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office in December 2009 estimated that 10 million would lose their coverage under the president's healthcare plan.

December 24, 2009: Senator Mark Pryor casts the deciding vote for Obamacare and tells Arkansans in a press release that Obamacare will “protect and expand an individual’s choice of doctors and insurance plans without any government interference.”

March 23, 2010: President Obama signs Obamacare into law.

July 2010: According to an NBC News report, a July 2010 government estimate showed that 40 to 67 percent of customers wouldn't be able to keep their current plans.

September 29, 2010: Senator Mark Pryor votedfor the rule CNN has said is “largely responsible” for the wave of health insurance cancellations.

March 12, 2012: A revised CBO report estimated that 3 to 5 million Americans would lose their current insurance coverage. All the while, President Obama was promising that folks could keep their current plans, if they liked them.

September 28, 2012: Senator Pryor says in an interview with Arkansas Business: “Are we going to be able to stick with our plan, the answer is yes.”

October 3, 2012: During the first presidential debate in Denver, Colorado, President Obama reiterates his claim that Americans could keep their own insurance and doctors.

August 6, 2013:  Mark Pryor says of Obamacare, “It’s been an amazing success story so far.”

August 8, 2013:  Pryor says of Obamacare, “I think you can look and see it’s already starting to work. It is working.”

October 28, 2013: During an October press briefing, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney finally admits that all Americans couldn't necessarily keep their current insurance.

November 7, 2013: After weeks of political pressure for his broken promises, President Obama apologized for his misleading claim in an interview with NBC News.

November 8, 2013: Senator Mark Pryor dodges a question from Arkansas News Bureau reporter John Lyon and denies sharing any of the blame for misleading Arkansans

December 4, 2013:  At the Political Animals breakfast, Senator Mark Pryor is asked, “When did you know that people were going to lose their healthcare plans, and why didn’t you warn Arkansans?” He answered: “Well, I think I found this out along with pretty much everybody else. You know, when we were working on the legislation, one of the premises was if you like your healthcare, you can keep it. And although that is true for a majority of people who are in group plans, ect., that's not true for everybody. And I found this out kinda simultaneous with everybody else.”

Senator Mark Pryor voted for Obamacare and for the regulations that caused 50,000 Arkansas families and millions of other Americans to lose their health insurance that he and President Obama promised they could keep.

Cotton campaign manager Justin Brasell: “The obvious question is, Senator Pryor, what did you know and when did you know it? Arkansans deserve an explanation.”
------------
Tom Cotton is the Congressman for the Fourth District of Arkansas. Tom is a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, an Army Ranger, and a Bronze Star and Combat Infantryman Badge recipient. Tom is a graduate of Harvard and Harvard Law School and has worked as a business consultant at McKinsey & Co. A sixth-generation Arkansan, Tom lives in Dardanelle, where he grew up on his family's farm. For more information about Tom’s campaign, visit tomcotton.com.

Tags: Mark Pryor, Obamacare lies, timeline To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Clemmer Challenges Opponents On Budget Control Act

State Rep. Ann Clemmer: A No Vote on Ryan-Murray Budget
Bryant, Ark. (Dec. 12, 2013) – State Representative Ann Clemmer, a candidate for Arkansas’s Second Congressional District, challenged her opponents to join her in taking a position on the Ryan-Murray Budget being voted on Congress this week.

“We've heard this story before and I don't see how we can fall for it again. You don’t have to be the Ghost of Christmas Future to know how this turns out,” stated Representative Clemmer.

“I understand the need to get the budget passed, but once again we see congress kicking the can down the road-not addressing out of control spending and the mountain of debt we are under,” noted Clemmer.

Clemmer continued, “This budget deal doesn't reduce the deficit for 7 more years- that's three election cycles and a new president. We can't fix this problem overnight, but increasing spending now breaks the spending caps just put in place two years ago.”

“These are the kind of tough votes our next Congressional representative is going to have to make. It is important the voters of this district know where their candidates stand,” added Clemmer.

State Representative Clemmer was the first candidate in the Second Congressional District race to sign the Americans for Tax Reform’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge.

Tags: Ann Clemmer, candidate, US Representative, District 2, 2014 Election, Budget Control Act, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

How To Take Out Harry Reid

 Elect Republicans in 2014 to the Senate Like Tom Cotton to Stop Harry Reid!

Tags: Tom Cotton, 2014 elections, Arkansas, US Senate To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Early Polling Favors Cotton Over Pryor

  A new poll that was released late last night on the Arkansas U.S. Senate2014 race. James Hohmann over at Politico has the scoop on a poll that shows Tom Cotton leading Senator Mark Pryor by a margin of 48%-41% with 9% undecided.

While the entire polling memo can be viewed here, below are a few of the high points:

Head-to-Head: Mark Pryor: 41%, Tom Cotton: 48%, Undecided: 9%

President Obama Approval: Favorable: 35%, Unfavorable: 61%

Obamacare Approval: Favorable: 29%, Unfavorable: 62%

Amazingly, when asked for comment by Politico, Pryor deputy campaign manager Erik Dorey
tried to discredit the poll not by attacking the polling firm or by attacking the polling methodology, but by...wait for it...attacking OTHER POLLSTERS that have done work for the same group that commissioned this poll.

We’ve seen plenty of reaches from the Pryor campaign this year, but that one is certainly one of the more hilarious. Dorey’s statement reminds me of the famous scene with Kevin Bacon’s character from Animal House.

Tags: Polling, Mark Pryor, Tom Cotton, US Senate race, 2014, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Momentum

by NRSC: As we get closer to Election Day, it’s clear that Republicans are poised to take back the majority in 2014.

Poll after poll reaffirms that Republicans have the edge in key states across the country. Take a look:

Michigan: Even a liberal PPP survey shows Republican Terry Lynn Land leading Gary Peters by 2 points. And that’s a +5 Dem sample, when it should be more like +1 / 2 Dem.

Arkansas: Polls show Tom Cotton leading Democratic Sen. Mark Pyror by 7 points, and Cotton is winning independents by 21 points and women by 4 points.

Louisiana: Democratic incumbent Mary Landrieu is one of the most vulnerable Senators this cycle. Her support is dropping rapidly -- most recently by more than 10 points amid the Obamacare disaster.

North Carolina: A recent Civitas poll showed that half of North Carolina voters would not vote for Kay Hagan. Even a liberal PPP survey (Disclaimer: PPP is a Hagan donor) shows Hagan’s approval ratings underwater.

Iowa: The numbers out of Iowa show Bruce Braley is beatable by any Republican candidate. The DSCC revealed just how panicked they are by touting a poll showing Bruce Braley in a statistical dead heat with a primary field they’ve been mocking for months.

The polls show Republicans are tied or ahead in the seats listed above, and we haven’t even discussed our double digit leads in West Virginia, South Dakota and Montana.

That’s right – a GOP majority is within our grasp.

  It is Time for America to Limit a Run-Away administration!

Tags: INSERT TAGS To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Pryor Supports Extreme Candidate... Too Radical For Even Harry Reid

 In a surprising move, Mark Pryor has thrown his political weight behind a fringe, extreme candidate that is too far outside the mainstream for even Harry Reid.

Mark Pryor claims that he isn't a liberal, but the decision to host a political fundraiser to benefit Rick Weiland, perhaps the most extreme liberal senate candidate in the country, reveals that he is open to an agenda that most Arkansans would view as dangerous.  
Weiland's campaign is so far outside the mainstream that Harry Reid can't even bring himself to support it, telling Politico, "He's not my choice."  Weiland's agenda includes:
  • ObamaCare on steroids, including the public option
  • Single payer, socialized health care 
  • Higher taxes for millions of Americans
  • New gun control measures
  • Higher taxes on American energy producers which would destroy jobs
"Mark Pryor's support for this extreme liberal candidate shows just how far outside the mainstream he has become with Arkansas voters," said NRSC Press Secretary Brook Hougesen. "Supporting Rick Weiland reveals that Mark Pryor supports an agenda that is not only too radical for Arkansas, but too radical for even Harry Reid, which is saying something."   
Weiland Supports Liberal Health Care Proposals Like The Single Payer Or Public Option

Weiland Supports A Single-Payer Health Care Plan, Or Medicare For All. “We have to deal with health care reality, not what might have been, and the reality today is that ‘universal medicare for all’ is just not in the cards. What I propose is not universal Medicare for all, it is simply that any citizen who so chooses be entitled to buy into Medicare at a fair market price (a price that absolutely guarantees no current Medicare recipient can be adversely affected). This is the so called ‘single payer option’ that could have helped keep the insurance industry honest, but that was driven out of the Affordable Care Act to the great detriment of, and at great cost to, the American public.”
(David Montgomery, “Weiland Endorses Universal ‘Medicare For All,’” Argus Leader, 8/2/13)

Weiland Does Not Support Repealing ObamaCare, And Actually Wants To Add A Public Option To ObamaCare. “Weiland is the only Democrat in the race and thinks there is no turning back on the Affordable Care Act. While he thinks some changes still need to be made, he says the program is here to stay. ‘The Affordable Care Act is law. If there are problems, and I’m sure there will be, I would like to see a public option and allow people to buy into Medicare, we should work that through the legislative process and negotiation and compromise and then let the majority rule,’ Weiland said.” (Ben Dunsmoor, “The Evolving Issue Of Obamacare,” KELO, 10/8/13)

Weiland Supports Higher Taxes

Weiland Supports Eliminating The Cap On The Social Security Payroll Tax – A $100 Billion Annual Tax Increase. “Social Security: Weiland said the U.S. should remove the cap on what people pay into the program as a way to put the program on a better financial basis.”
(Lance Nixon, “Weiland: Big Money Is Hurting Public Policy,” Capital Journal, [Pierre, SD], 10/11/13; Dylan Matthews, “Research Desk Responds: Could Raising The Income Cap Save Social Security?” The Washington Post, 6/28/10)

Weiland Supports Higher Taxes On Energy Producers. “Like Tim Johnson, I recognize that it’s wrong to continue to give tax breaks to Big Oil and, at the same time, cutting programs like Head Start for our most vulnerable children.” (Rick Weiland Website, www.peopleforweiland.tumblr.com, Accessed 11/23/13)

Weiland Supports Higher Taxes For “The Wealthiest Americans.” “Like Tim Johnson, I recognize that it’s wrong to support tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans and, at the same time, supporting doubling the interest rates on student loans, as is currently scheduled to happen on July 1st.” (Rick Weiland Website, www.peopleforweiland.tumblr.com, Accessed 11/23/13)

South Dakota Democrats Say Weiland Is Too Liberal
The South Dakota State Senate Democratic Leader Said “I Don’t See Rick Coming Across As Being A Moderate.” “But Jason Frerichs, a state senator who leads the Democrats’ seven-member minority caucus, said, ‘We are a state that comes to the center.’ ‘I don’t see Rick coming across as being a moderate,” Mr. Frerichs continued, later adding, ‘There isn’t currently that type of clear dialogue happening on progressive versus moderate for a Democratic Party candidate. I think that dialogue needs to happen based on what we want to see the direction of this party be in our state because we certainly need to be more relevant.’” (John Eligon, “Finding Democrats To Run Where Republicans Win,” The New York Times, 5/28/13)
Universal Background Checks For Guns

Weiland Supports Universal Background Checks For Guns. “Gun rights: The U.S. should enforce the laws it has on the books already and have a universal background check that will help keep guns out of the hands of criminals and mentally ill people.” (Lance Nixon, “Weiland: Big Money Is Hurting Public Policy,” Capital Journal, [Pierre, SD], 10/11/13)
  • WEILAND: “And like Tim Johnson, I recognize that expanding background checks in order to keep lethal weapons out of the hands of individuals with either a criminal record or a record of mental illness is absolutely necessary.” (Rick Weiland Website, www.peopleforweiland.tumblr.com, Accessed 11/23/13)

Tags: Mark Pryor, supporting, fund raiser, Rick Weiland To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Monday, December 9, 2013

French Hill Remarks As Outgoing Chairman of the Greater Little Rock Chamber of Commerce

Little Rock businessman and civic leader, French Hill, has announced as a Republican Candidate for U.S. House of Representatives in District 2, Arkansas, which is being vacated by Rep. Tim Griffin. Below are his comments as he steps down as Chairman of the Greater Little Rock Chamber of Commerce.


Little Rock, AR -  French Hill, outgoing Chairman of Little Rock Chamber of Commerce,  spoke at their 2013 annual meeting highlighted the achievements of the last year.
Mayors, Judge Villines, City directors: It has been a privilege to serve you during these past twelve months as your Chairman of the Board. Over my thirty plus years in business, I’ve had no more enjoyable civic assignment than in representing our business community in this dynamic Little Rock region. I want to especially thank our President Jay Chesshir and his exceptional, very hard-­‐working staff. I also want to recognize and thank each member of the Chamber Board of Directors and Executive Committee. Without their dedication, your Chamber would accomplish little.

At last year’s annual meeting, I outlined the “Three R’s” that I believe are essential to the vision and strategic future of our metropolitan area. You may remember that my first “R” was “The River”. I argued that we can’t let the Arkansas River divide us. And, in fact, because of our river trail system and recreational opportunities on both sides of the Arkansas River, the river is a great uniter. Clearly, this was recognized this year when Little Rock was selected by Kiplinger in August 2013 as the best midsize-­‐to-­‐small city of the “10 Great Places to Live” in the United States. Essential to a vibrant community are its young people. Your Chamber formed “Create Little Rock”, chaired this
year by Jesse Gillum, to offer leadership and service opportunities to our young professionals. Create Little Rock’s “Pop Up in the Rock”, led by Chris East of Cromwell, has had consecutive successful events; last year on Main Street and this year at 7th and Chester Streets.

Further, in the August 2013 edition of Outdoor magazine, Little Rock was recognized as the Editor’s Choice among the Nation’s “Best Places to Live”. Nothing brought this closer to home than the recent opening of one of America’s premier destination retail establishments, The Bass Pro Shop. Selecting Little Rock for its newest location recognizes our regional recreational opportunities and Bass Pro brings us all of the gear necessary to enjoy trails on both sides of the river and on its surface!

The second “R” was “The Region.” Again, the region can’t divide us—it is our strength. I argued that the entire region’s population fuels economic growth for each of our cities and counties. Just this morning, over 104,000 people drove here from another county to come and work. This continued labor force growth, in turn, produces higher family income opportunities for the more than one million people who live within a fifty-­‐mile radius of downtown Little Rock. This desire for higher household income led us to structure measurements to assess our regional economic success. In April, we hosted our first economic report card designed and carried out by the University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s
Institute for Economic Advancement. As part of our planning for 2014, we have joined the CEO for Cities group of Cleveland, OH, which provides common MSA data on all member metro areas.

Our civic leaders, along with UALR and Metroplan staff, have traveled to Kansas City, Oklahoma City, and other metropolitan areas to learn how they benchmark their goals of higher personal income and economic success.

In 2013, we have witnessed a number of successes in our regional efforts to attract technology professionals to the metro area.

The Little Rock Technology Park Authority board’s decision to rank downtown Little Rock as the place to build the future tech corridor is encouraging. Orbea’s decision to locate in downtown Little Rock and the formation of the Argenta Innovation center are encouraging. nGage Labs’ decision to locate in downtown Little Rock is encouraging. Inuvo, Inc., locating its corporate headquarters in Conway is encouraging. And lastly, the recent decisions by Innovate Arkansas to bring an Ark Challenge project, where young people from all across the country compete to innovate the newest in technology and business ideas, to 117 Main Street, is encouraging. We need to continue to encourage entrepreneurial development by taking advantage of the 20 higher education institutions totaling 70,000 students in our region to further invigorate our economy.

Little Rock is on the move. For the first time since the 1970s, we see a crowded Main Street and people competing for space in the historic business corridor of the capital city. Our region is also connected through Fifty for the Future’s passionate efforts in improving our work force and regional transportation planning.

The final “R” that I addressed in last year’s talk was “Race”. Little Rock has always been at the forefront of race relations in our country from the post-­‐Civil War era and Reconstruction to its epicenter status during the 1950s and 1960s Civil Rights movement. I argued that we cannot let race divide us. The diversity of race in our community is another source of strength. There are many public policy issues that involve the impact of race on our society.

But, where I see it manifest itself most clearly is in our public education system. Your Chamber of Commerce is committed to dynamic, successful public education for all of our students. For us to have a prosperous region, anchored by Pulaski County, we must have succeeding schools.

We must improve our public accountability for student achievement. With failing schools, no one is worse off than the least fortunate families in our community. I salute Dr. Jerry Guess, superintendent of the Pulaski County School District, Dr. Kelly Rodgers with the North Little Rock School District, and Dr. Dexter Suggs, the new superintendent of the Little Rock School District. These three men know what needs to be done.

We in this business community need to support hem in increasing student performance and faculty and administrative accountability. Each school must have an excellent principal and that principal must select and manage a staff of caring, informed, passionate educators for our children. As I said last year, this business community cannot–and will not–sit in the bleachers while this public school game plays out. Our initiatives have included working with each of our superintendents on how the business community can be committed to the public school system.

In that regard, last year we announced that your Chamber would play a leading role in promoting the AR Kids Read initiative to improve literacy at the second and third grade levels. Working with 46 schools in all three districts, over 400 tutors have provided almost 5,000 hours of tutoring to 850 second and third graders.

More than 60 AR Kids Read Partner organizations, most of which are businesses like yours, which provide these tutors.

Little Rock’s best days are ahead of us, but we are “better together” when we focus on the future and work together for the benefit of the next generation.”


Tags: French Hill, Republican candidate, Congress, 2nd District, Arkansas, Chamber of Commerce To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Arkansas Schools Meet State Standards, Have High Remediation, Inflation Rates

"The most callused aspect of the current education monopoly in Arkansas is that it willingly and deliberately forces children--except those whose parents have wealth--to attend bad schools. And it does so with financial resources taken from parents already struggling financially and at the expense of their ability to choose a better school for their sons and daughters." Murphy Commission, Policy Foundation, 1998

"We can't find enough skilled workers." Arkansas entrepreneur, 2009 Foundation forum.


by Greg Kaza, Arkansas Policy Foundation: High schools in 13 Arkansas public school districts that met state standards in a Department of Education report have college remediation rates greater than 65 percent, and most have double-digit grade inflation rates.

All 13 districts spent more than the $9,379 state average expenditure per pupil in the 2011-12 school year, public records show.

Failing School Districts
The Policy Foundation ranked 20 Arkansas school districts as 'failing' )'F') at least once in four annual reports (2004-05 to 2007-08). The reports, compiled by two professors, were based on student performance on national standardized tests, which are more rigorous than Arkansas benchmark exams.
The Foundation recommends public and private school choice options for parents and students in failing districts.

Three Schools Fail To Meet State Standards
The Education Department report found high schools in three districts ranked by the Foundation as failing did not meet state standards in 2011-12 The schools are Dollarway, Helena-West Helena Central and Saratoga (Mineral Springs). Three other districts (Eudora, Turrell, and Waldo) no longer exist.

College Remediation and Grade Inflation Rates
Public records show high schools in 13 districts that met Education Department standards have unacceptable college remediation rates:
Arkansas average (48.7%)
Lee County H.S. 66.0%
Lakeside H.S. (Chicot County) 67.6%
Blytheville H.S. 69.2%
Hermitage H.S. 71.1%
Hope H.S. 73.1%
Osceola H.S. 76.4%
Lafayette County H.S. 79.4%
Forrest City H.S. 80.0%
England H.S. 80.4%
Brinkley H.S. 82.9%
Earle H.S. 87.9%
Dermott H.S. 90.0%
Hughes H.S. 100.0%

Public records show eight reported double-digit grade inflation rates: [5]
Arkansas average 5.5%
Augusta H.S.[6] 56.3%
Earle H.S. 35.3%
Brinkley H.S. 29.2%
Hope H.S. 18.9%
Osceola H.S. 15.2%
Hermitage H.S. 14.3%
Blytheville H.S. 11.7%
Hughes H.S. 10.0%

Above-Average Spending
Public records show every district spent more than the state per-pupil average:
Hughes H.S. $14,466
Augusta H.S. $14,097
Osceola H.S. $13,181
Earle H.S. $12,479
Dermott H.S. $12,414
Lee County H.S. $12,258
Hermitage H.S. $12,256
Lafayette County H.S. $12,215
Lakeside H.S. (Chicot County) $12,213
Brinkley H.S. $11,619
Blytheville H.S. $11,432
Forrest City H.S. $10,762
Hope H.S. $9,739
England H.S. $9,607
Arkansas average $9,379

Conclusion
An entire generation of Arkansas schoolchildren in failing districts have been denied educational opportunity since the Foundation's 1998 report. School districts with unacceptable college remediation and double-digit grade inflation rates are failing. Arkansas public education would benefit from high standards.
--------------
[1] The Policy Foundation acted in response to the state Department of Education's failure to advance accountability within the K-12 public school system.  Failing ('F') schools (2007-08) were Forrest City, Dermott, Earle, Augusta, Helena-West Helena, Turrell, Hughes, Dollarway, and Hermitage; (2006-07) Forrest City, Dermott, Earle, Osceola, Blytheville, England, Brinkley, Lakeside (Chicot County), and Lafayette; (2005-06) Forrest City, Dermott, Earle, Hope, Lee County, Mineral Springs, Eudora, Waldo; and (2004-05) Forrest City, Dermott, Earle.

[2]  Twenty-three (23) states and Washington D.C., have  private school choice, according to the Indiana-based Friedman Foundation.

[3]  Arkansas Department of Education report (2011-12) required by PA 35 of 2003, 2nd Extraordinary Session.  The report was obtained by the Policy Foundation.

[4]  Arkansas Department of Education (http://www.arkansased.org/), School Performance Data, "2012," District, pp. 13, 16.

[5] Records show Dermott H.S. and England H.S. had zero grade inflation.  Others were Lafayette County H.S. (7.7%); Forest City H.S. (5.6%); Lakeside H.S. (Chicot County) (2.6%); and Lee County H.S. (2.2%).


[6]  Records show Augusta H.S. had the lowest college remediation rate (57.1%) among the 14 districts.

Tags: Greg Kaza, Arkansas Policy Foundation, Arkansas Schools, high remediation rates, inflation rates, tuition