Saturday, October 25, 2014

by Rep. Steve Womack (AR-03) I spent the first two days of this week in Little Rock, where on Monday, I joined the Northwest Arkansas Chapter of the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Association to tour the J. Thomas May Center for ALS Research at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). While there is currently no cure for ALS, I was very impressed by the research being done at UAMS and the steps they are taking to find one. Thanks to the NWA Chapter for inviting me to come with you!

My Tuesday started off bright and early with a visit to the 96.5 The Voice studio to join guest host and my longtime friend, Rex Nelson, live on the Alice Stewart Show. Afterwards, I headed to Arkansas Lighthouse for the Blind (ALB), where I toured the facility, met many of the ALB employees, and was presented with the AbilityOne Champion Award, which I proudly accepted. This national award is given to members of Congress in recognition of their support for the AbilityOne program and community-based agencies, like ALB. Thank you to the tremendous team at ALB, as well as the staff with National Industries for the Blind, for this exceptional honor. I commend them for providing invaluable employment and training opportunities that enable blind or visually impaired Americans to gain economic and personal independence.

I wrapped up my visit to Arkansas’s capital city by joining Arkansas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners (AIPRO) at their annual meeting to give a legislative update and speak about energy policy. Arkansas is an energy state. Since Arkansas’s first natural gas well was drilled in 1889, oil and gas has played a dominant role in our economy. Today, one-third of our counties produce oil or natural gas, and the industry directly and indirectly supports 92,000 jobs. By 2030, we have the potential to add 94,000 more if we capitalize on America’s energy renaissance and support an all-of-the-above energy policy. But doing so will require reducing and eliminating the duplicative and costly regulatory burdens – getting the federal government out of the way – so our independent producers can increase energy production, paving a path to greater U.S. energy and national security and lower energy prices for hardworking Americans, and I will continue to support policies that make this possible. Thanks to AIPRO for inviting me to speak to you, and thank you to my friend, Representative James Lankford (OK-5), who joined me at the meeting during his trip to Little Rock that day.

On Wednesday, I welcomed John Ogden and the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA) to my Rogers office. NAIFA represents more than 70,000 insurance and financial advisors nationwide, and I appreciate hearing from a few of them from the Northwest Arkansas Chapter. Thanks for coming by!

I spent Thursday in North Carolina at Fort Bragg to attend my sister-in-law's Army retirement ceremony.  LTC Sherry-Lynn Womack is an Army medic – specifically, an Army Physicians Assistant (PA) – retiring after 33 years of service. Her accolades include a Bronze Star and a Meritorious Service Medal, and she served two tours of combat during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Sherry-Lynn has been memorialized in the U.S. Army Women's Museum for being the first female PA to accompany Special Forces soldiers into theater, where she laid the foundation for the Army's attention and sensitivity to cultural constraints in the region by gathering intel through her relationships with the Afghan women and children. Thank you for your service, LTC Womack, and happy retirement!

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