Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

by U.S. Senator-Elect Rep. Tom Cotton:  This past year has been full of blessings. I married Anna, we are expecting our first child, and I was elected to the U.S. Senate.
Thank you for all the support and encouragement you gave us throughout this wonderful year. I hope your year has been full of blessings as well.
Please join Anna and me in praying for our men and women serving our country around the world this Thanksgiving. Our service members make incredible sacrifices for our nation, and many will not be able to spend this Thanksgiving at home with their families. We are truly grateful for their service and sacrifice.
I hope all of you have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

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

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Rep. Womack: Giving Thanks - Happy Thanksgiving 2014

U.S. Rep. Steve Womack (AR-2) : Our modern, national celebration of Thanksgiving can be attributed to the efforts of Sarah Josepha Hale, a woman who became a widow in her 30’s and wore black the rest of her life to outwardly demonstrate the loss she continued to mourn. I think that is a good place to start with a review of what it really means to have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Ms. Hale grew up in New England, where an annual festival of thanksgiving was regionally celebrated. This tradition followed in the lead of the Pilgrim Fathers and Founding Fathers. We know about the feast of 1621. Fewer may be aware that presidents Washington, Adams and Madison all designated days of thanksgiving for the new nation, but it lacked permanence and such declarations were at the whim of the office-holder. For the most part, the idea of setting aside a day every year to thank God for the bounty and blessing He provided remained a practice of the northern states.

Following the death of her husband, Ms. Hale became a very influential voice in American 19th century life as the editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book. It was with this platform that she began her personal crusade to see Thanksgiving become a nationally-recognized celebration. It took many years and Ms. Hale engaged a number of presidents before her entreaty to President Lincoln two months after the Battle of Gettysburg achieved a result. In the midst of a bloody war and six days after Ms. Hale wrote to him, President Lincoln encouraged all U.S. citizens to set aside the last Thursday in November “…as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens.” Our day of thanksgiving was born in our nation’s darkest hours and was championed by a woman who suffered a tragic loss, and President Johnson followed Lincoln and continued the annual practice. Congress ultimately designated Thanksgiving as a national holiday in 1870, and in 1941 set the official date of Thanksgiving as the fourth Thursday of November.

Thanksgiving allows us to take time to stop and appreciate the acts of divine providence in our lives. There should certainly be joyful celebration – the Pilgrim’s feast lastedt hree days – but I encourage all Arkansans to make it about more than just turkey, football and Black Friday shopping. Remember the genesis of this day and those who celebrated it before. Happiness for them was demonstrated with an attitude of gratitude. As my family thanks God for the blessings He has given us, I encourage you and yours to do the same. Happy Thanksgiving!

Tags: U.S. Representative, Steve Womack, Dist 2,  Happy Thanksgiving, 2014 To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Attorney General-Elect Rutledge Names Benafield as Chief Deputy

Says “depth of her knowledge will be a tremendous asset” 

Little Rock, AR – Attorney General-Elect Leslie Rutledge today named Julie Benafield of Hazen as her Chief Deputy Attorney General.

“I have a great deal of respect for Julie’s prior experience in state government and the private sector. She understands management of attorneys in a state agency and has been an integral part of my transition team. The depth of her knowledge will be a tremendous asset to the office and I am pleased that she has agreed to accept the position.” Said General-Elect Rutledge. 

Julie Benafield is most recently president of the Benafield Group representing clients throughout the country. She was the Director of Regulatory Affairs for UnitedHealthcare from 2009 through 2013. She previously had been appointed insurance commissioner by Governor Mike Huckabee on Jan. 15, 2005. Prior to assuming the insurance commissioner’s post, Ms. Benafield served as Chief Executive Officer of the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission (AWCC) from 1998 to 2004; General Counsel at the Arkansas Development Finance Authority from 1996 to 1998; the Attorney Supervisor of the Workers’ Compensation Fraud Investigation Unit of the Arkansas Insurance Department from 1993 to 1996; and was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in the Arkansas Sixth District from 1989 through 1993.

She received her B.A. degree in political science and speech communications from Ouachita Baptist University, Arkadelphia, Arkansas in 1985 and her Juris Doctor from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock School of Law in 1989. Benafield is a member of the Arkansas Bar Association and served on the Pulaski County Bar Association board in 2002-03 and the board of the Pulaski County Bar Foundation.

“The transition continues to go smoothly. I have reviewed the material that General McDaniel’s staff prepared and I have personally interviewed each of the current department heads. I have appreciated their candor regarding ways to improve the ability of the Attorney General to serve the people of Arkansas and look forward to continuing the transition process.”  Said General-Elect Rutledge.   

About Leslie Rutledge
A native Arkansan, Rutledge graduated from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville and received her law degree from the William H. Bowen School of Law in Little Rock. She began her legal career as Clerk for Arkansas Court of Appeals Judge Josephine Hart, now Associate Justice on the Arkansas Supreme Court. She served as a Deputy Prosecutor for the State of Arkansas and then as Deputy Counsel for Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and Legal Counsel on the Mike Huckabee for President Campaign. Rutledge also worked as Legal Counsel for the Republican National Committee.  Prior to election as Attorney General, she practiced law at The Rutledge Firm, PLLC, in Little Rock. On November 4, 2014, Rutledge made history as the first woman elected to serve as Arkansas’s Attorney General.

Tags: Arkansas, Attorney General-Elect, Leslie Rutledge, Julie Benafield, Chief Deputy Attorney General. To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Arkansas Gov-Elect Asa Hutchinson Announces Additional Senior Staff

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Governor-Elect Asa Hutchinson has announced additional senior staff positions. They are as follows:

Jon Gilmore of Little Rock
Deputy Chief-of-Staff
Jon previously served as Campaign Manager for the Asa for Governor Campaign.

Betty Guhman of North Little Rock
Senior Advisor
Betty previously has served as Chief-of-Staff to former Congressman Asa Hutchinson; as well as a Senior Official for the DEA and Department of Homeland Security.

Elizabeth Smith of Little Rock
Chief Legal Counsel
Elizabeth is currently Associate General Counsel for the University of Arkansas System.

Leon Jones, Jr. of Fayetteville
Director of Policy
Leon is an attorney, a graduate of UAPB and a native of Pine Bluff. He previously served as the Minority Outreach Coordinator for the Asa for Governor Campaign.

J.R. Davis of Fayetteville
Communications Director
J.R. previously served as Communications Director and Spokesman for the Asa for Governor Campaign.

Bruce Campbell of Little Rock
Director of Appointments
Bruce previously served as Political Director for the Asa for Governor Campaign.

Duncan Baird of Lowell
Budget Director
Duncan is a member of the Arkansas House of Representatives where he serves as Chairman of the Joint Budget Committee.

Ateca Williams of Conway
Director of Constituent Services
Ateca previously served as Director of Special Projects for the Asa for Governor Campaign.

Christian Olson of Little Rock
Policy Advisor
Christian previously served as Director of Policy for the Asa for Governor Campaign.

Governor-Elect Hutchinson issued the following statement:
“I am pleased to announce additional members of my senior staff. These individuals are not only hardworking, but they bring a substantive amount of knowledge and experience to their respective positions. I have no doubt my administration and the people of Arkansas will benefit greatly from these qualities.”

Tags: Asa Hutchinson, Governor-Elect, Arkansas, Senior Staff To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The President's Attack on the Constitution

U.S Senator John Boozman (R-AR) : President Obama delivered his long anticipated speech on immigration. By the end of his speech his intentions were abundantly clear. He believes the Constitution does not apply to him. The President wants to offer amnesty to millions of illegal aliens and he doesn't care if the American people and their elected officials in Congress disagree.

President Obama simply does not have the authority to write laws as he sees fit. That’s the job of Congress. The President does not have the power to make wholesale changes to the laws on the book simply because he disagrees with them and refuses to accept anything from Congress that is not to his liking. The President’s role is to respect and enforce the laws on the book.

President Obama has previously stated acting alone is not appropriate, acknowledging the fact that he is the President, not a king. “I’m not the emperor of the United States. My job is to execute laws that are passed,” he declared on Feb. 14, 2013. Yet his actions last night clearly run counter to these public statements.

This was one of many factual misrepresentations by the President last night. He refuses to acknowledge that his actions are unprecendented and moves our nation into uncharted, dangerous waters. President Obama contends that his predecessors have used executive action to enact immigration reform, but never on a scale this large and never by completely subverting the will of Congress.

Make no mistake. Congress intends to use the power of the purse to defund the President’s actions. We will be looking into all other available tools offered by our legislative and oversight powers to confront President Obama’s unprecedented abuses of power.

There is a new Congress set to begin and we are eager to work in a bipartisan manner to accomplish the agenda of the American people, including meaningful immigration reform. By going around Congress to grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants, the President is once again putting his priorities before those of the American people.
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Senator John Boozman (R-AR) serves on four committees in the Senate: Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry; Appropriations; Environment and Public Works (EPW); and Veterans’ Affairs. Contact Info; Facebook; Twitter; YouTube.

Tags: John Boozman, PResidetn Obama, attack on Constitution To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

From the Front: House Bills Take on EPA

by Rep. Steve Womack, AR-03: On Monday, the House passed the EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act of 2013 (H.R. 1422), by a vote of 229-191 on Tuesday. H.R. 1422 amends federal law relating to the Scientific Advisory Board to: establish qualifications for members, reinforce independence of the board, facilitate public participation in the board’s advisory activities, and limit the advice given by the board to scientific determinations, rather than policy direction.

On Wednesday, in addition to considering six more bills under suspension, the House passed the Secret Science Reform Act of 2014 (H.R. 4012), by a vote of 237-190. H.R. 4012 prohibits the EPA from proposing, finalizing, or disseminating any risk, exposure, or hazard assessment, criteria document, standard, limitation, regulation, regulatory impact analysis, or guidance unless all scientific and technical information relied on to support the regulation or guidance is specifically identified and publicly available in a manner sufficient for independent analysis and substantial reproduction of research results.

On Thursday, the House passed the Promoting New Manufacturing Act (H.R. 4795) by a vote of 238-172. H.R. 4795 provides for greater transparency and timeliness in obtaining the permits necessary for new manufacturing. Specifically, the bill requires the EPA to publish information on the timeline for issuing preconstruction permits; directs the EPA to issue implementing guidance when publishing a final rule to establish a national ambient air quality standard; and requires the EPA to submit an annual report to Congress that assesses the permitting process.

Tags: Steve Woamck, AR-03, U.S. House Bills, EPA,  To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

French Hill Secures Seat On House Financial Services Committee

Little Rock, Ark — Congressman-elect French Hill (AR-02) was approved Thursday by the House Republican Steering Committee to serve on the Financial Services Committee for the 114th Congress. Hill was assigned to the committee along with two incoming Republican freshman, Mia Love of Utah and Bruce Poliquin of Maine.

“I will bring my three decades of professional experience in business, commercial banking, and finance to the legislative and regulatory oversight considerations of the committee,” said Hill. “Additionally, my past public service on the U.S. Senate Banking Committee staff and as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Treasury will enhance my effectiveness.”
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A ninth generation Arkansan, Congressman-elect Hill also served as a senior economic policy advisor to President George H.W. Bush and has been active in civic activities in his hometown of Little Rock. Mr. Hill and his wife, Martha, live in Little Rock with their two children.

Tags: French Hill, congressman-elect, AR-02, Financial Services Committee,  To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Griffin Opposes Obama’s ‘Emperor’ Approach and Unilateral Decision on Immigration

Says, ‘I am committed to working…to prevent the President
from implementing this unconstitutional and illegal action’

WASHINGTON – Congressman Tim Griffin (AR-02) issued the following statement yesterday after the President took executive action on immigration:

“On multiple occasions, President Obama has stated that using executive action to implement immigration reform would be unconstitutional, and in 2013, the President said he is ‘not the emperor’ of the U.S. Yet, in true emperor fashion, the President issued a unilateral decision that circumvents the constitutional role of Congress and fails to present a long-term solution to our broken immigration system. This illegal action insults the majority of the American people who voted on November 4th to reject the President’s go-it-alone policies, which he also stated were ‘on the ballot.’ I am committed to working with my colleagues in Congress to prevent the President from implementing this unconstitutional and illegal action.”

On July 25, 2011, President Obama described the sort of actions he is now taking as unconstitutional:

“I know some people want me to bypass Congress and change the laws on my own. … Not just on immigration reform. But that's not how our system works. That’s not how our democracy functions. That's not how our Constitution is written.”

Also on February 14, 2013, he further stated:

“The problem is that I’m the president of the United States, I’m not the emperor of the United States. My job is to execute laws that are passed.”

On September 17, 2014, President Obama said:

“[I]f we start broadening that [executive actions], then essentially I would be ignoring the law in a way that I think would be very difficult to defend legally. So that's not an option.”
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Congressman Tim Griffin was re-elected as the 24th representative of Arkansas’s Second Congressional District on November 6, 2012.  For the 113th Congress, he is a member of the House Committee on Ways and Means while also serving as a Deputy Whip for the majority. He also served as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas and Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of Political Affairs for President George W. Bush. Griffin in 2014 was elected as Arkansas Lt. Governor-Elect for 2015-2016.

Tags: Tim Griffin, US Representative, opposes President Obama's Emperor approach, unilateral decision, immigration,  To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Boozman: Immigration Executive Order “Clearly an Overreach of the Office”

VIDEO: Boozman Comments on Executive Order
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) tonight released the following statement in advance of President Obama’s announcement of executive action on immigration:

“Arkansans should be upset as well as all Americans. This is clearly an overreach of the office. The President is called ‘Mr. President,’ not ‘Your Highness.’ He simply doesn’t have the authority to do this. Congress needs to take all the tools we have in the toolbox to really push back.”

Tags: U.S., Senator, John Boozman, Arkansas, President Obama, Executive Orfer, Illegal immigrants, overreach of officew To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Boozman Statement on Keystone XL Pipeline Vote

Bill falls one vote short of passage
Watch Boozman’s Speech
WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) today issued the following statement after voting to create jobs by moving the Keystone XL Pipeline project forward. The bill to approve the pipeline, S. 2280, fell one vote short of the sixty votes needed for passage.

“The Keystone Pipeline proposal has been studied to death. Every box has been checked. Our friends to the north are moving ahead with or without us. It is a shame that the administration and some of my colleagues are choosing the latter,” Boozman said. “The good news is we should be able to pass this job creating bill when the Republicans take control of the Senate in the coming year.”

Earlier today, Boozman spoke on the Senate floor to urge his colleagues to pass the bill after six years of delay.

“This project will bolster the American economy—and Arkansas’s—once we move it forward,” Boozman said. “In my home state of Arkansas, Nucor Steel in Blytheville and Welspun Tubular in Little Rock are two companies that should be employing people to work on pipe for the project right now. These are two communities in my home state that would have already benefitted from the project if the President had not been stalling the approval of the Keystone pipeline.”

Tags: John Boozman, U.S. Keystone XL Pipeline, vote To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Boozman, Crawford Urge Kerry to Protect American Rice Farmers

WASHINGTON –In a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) and Congressman Rick Crawford (AR-01) today urged protecting American rice producers against unfair business practices in Iraq.

In early November, the Iraqi Grain Board (IGB) paid $1.4 million more to buy rice from Brazil and Uruguay rather than accept the competitive, lower bid by U.S. rice.

“Given the considerable investment of resources by the American taxpayer in Iraq, it is critical that the United States be on ‘equal footing’ with its foreign competitors when it comes to the ability to win bids issued by the IGB. Simply deciding to pick winners and losers in bids for Iraqi rice tenders based on arbitrary reasons is not only unfair, it deprives rice farmers in Arkansas - a leader in rice production - and across America of a vital trading partnership with Iraq,” the members wrote.

A tender to buy 30,000 metric tons of rice closed on Sunday, November 16th. Winning bids are expected to be announced later this week.

To read the letter in its entirety click here.

Tags: Sen. John Boozman, Rep. Rick Crawford, Letter, Sec. of State, John Kerry, protect, American, rice farmers To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Sen. Boozman: Help Set the Agenda

by Sen. John Boozman: look forward to the changes a new year brings. While some of us make resolutions, others set new goals as they plan for a new year. 2015 is bringing a change to Washington. Americans overwhelmingly voted for a different direction for the country and elected new leaders to Washington. I’m anxious to be part of the Republican majority in the Senate and move the agenda and push the policies that create an environment that promotes job creation.

I recognize that the elections results weren’t as much of a vote of confidence in the GOP as they were a call for change in the way Congress operates. The public is concerned about the direction of the country and they want change. We are being given the opportunity to lead and govern, and we need to step up and make the most of that.

That’s why we want to make the priorities of the American people the priorities of Congress. The American people have said time and time again, jobs and the economy is the name of the game.

More than 45 jobs bills have been stalled at current Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid’s desk. During his time as Leader, he hasn’t allowed the Senate to vote on these House-passed job creation bills. Voting on these bills is a good place to start a job growth agenda that would make our tax code more fair and easier for all Americans to understand, cut spending to address the debt that is hurting the future for our children and grandchildren and stop regulations that are inefficient, ineffective and unnecessary.

I appreciate hearing from Arkansans about what priorities they believe need to be front and center in 2015. As we look forward to the next Congress I want to know what issues you want Congress to focus on. Tell me what topics concern you most. Take our survey and share with me how you want Washington to work for you.

Tags: Sen. John Boozman, Help, set Agenda, Survey To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Arkansas Higher Education: Political Wishes; Economic Realities

Summary: Arkansas graduates benefit from a dynamic business climate that creates jobs and paychecks, not from political wishes that ignore economics.

College Grads - Unemployment Line
Editorial Cartoon by Gary Varvel
by Greg Kaza, Arkansas Policy Foundation: An oft-stated goal of Arkansas public officials is to increase the number of students graduating from state colleges and universities. Arkansas Department of Higher Education Director Shane Broadway, a state legislator for 14 years (1997-2010), is closely associated with this idea.

“The world would be a better place if everyone valued education as the key to moving our state and nation forward. Arkansas must stay on track and increase the number of degree-holders in the state and those with valuable workforce credentials to compete for jobs in the new economy.”1

Mr. Broadway's view, widely held within the Beebe administration can be summarized as follows: more graduates equals more high-paying jobs. Educational achievement correlates with lifetime earnings.2 Mr. Broadway's error in economic reasoning is to assume these graduates will find gainful employment in Arkansas. In fact, some graduates will relocate to states with more dynamic business climates. Economic realities trump political wishes.

Unpleasant Economic Realities

There is little doubt that officials like Mr. Broadway mean well in encouraging young people to enroll and earn a post-K-12 degree. Unfortunately, sentiments, no matter how well-meaning, must confront economic reality. The most unpleasant reality is that Arkansas employment is lower than when Gov. Beebe took office.3 The civilian labor force is also contracting4 more than five years into an economic expansion.5 These facts are troubling.

Another unpleasant reality is a new state report on Arkansas' labor market.

The 71-page report, released to little fanfare by the state Department of Workforce Services forecasts Arkansas' employment market in the next decade. A key finding, counterintuitive to the reasoning of Mr. Broadway and other officials is that "occupations that require a high school diploma or equivalent will have more annual job openings than any other education level, with 16,409 jobs expected each year." Jobs requiring a "high school diploma or equivalent" will expand by 42,227 through 2022. Those requiring "less than high school" will expand 44,337. Three other education values requiring less than a bachelor's degree (associate's degree; postsecondary non-degree award; some college, no degree) will grow 21,390 through 2022.

DWS estimates these five categories will create a cumulative 107,954 jobs.

Occupations requiring a bachelor's degree, by contrast, will expand by 20,099 through 2022.6 In sum, DWS projects more than five jobs requiring less than a bachelor's degree for every degreed job created through 2022.

The unfortunate reality is that Arkansas' economy has not been creating new jobs, and eight in 10 forecast occupations will be filled by non-four year graduates if DWS is accurate.7

Solving The Problem
The first step toward solving a problem is to acknowledge there is a problem. Political wishes for more graduates and high-paying jobs will not make it so. The Beebe administration should concede a jobs emergency exists before the next governor takes office in early 2015. The next governor, in facing this problem should communicate to the people of Arkansas the shortcomings of the state's tax,8 regulatory9 and education10 systems. Economic realities, not political wishes, should inform the solution.
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1 Arkansas Department of Higher Education, January 4, 2011
2011http://www.adhe.edu/newsroom/Pages/ShaneBroadwayappointedADHEdeputydirector.aspx
2 Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, "Lifetime Earnings: A Good Reason To Go To College," Fall 2013
http://www.stlouisfed.org/publications/itv/articles/?id=2432
3 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Arkansas payroll employment: (January 2007) 1,201,200; (August 2014) 1,190,400
4 Arkansas Department of Workforce Services, civilian labor force (January 2007) 1,368,100; (August 2014) 1,296,200
5 The NBER determined the expansion started in June 2009 when the Great Recession ended. www.nber.org
6 Department of Workforce Services, "Arkansas Long-term Industry and Occupational Projections, 2012-2022," Sept. 5, 2014, p. 62. The 2012 Estimated Employment and 2022 Projected Employment by Education Value are as follows: (Bachelor's degree) 176,691,196,790; (Associate's Degree); 44,830, 51, 488; (Postsecondary, non-degree award) 101,905, 115,066; (Some college, no degree) 13,450, 15,021; (High school diploma or equivalent) 563,338, 605,565; and (Less than high school) 352,132, 396,469.
7 The DWS report estimates only 18% of Arkansas occupations in 2022 will require a bachelor's degree or higher educational value.
8 Arkansas taxes capital at higher rates than states with more dynamic business climates and higher jobs creation.
9 Arkansas's regulatory climate interferes with the ability of workers, from hair-braiders to yoga instructors, to earn a living.
10 Charter schools are a welcome reform but Arkansas is among the minority of states in the Southeast region that restricts competition between K-12 public and independent schools.


Tags: Arkansas, Higher education, Education, college, university, political wishes, economic reality, editorial cartoon, Gary Varvel To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Arkansas Jobs Decline, Food Stamps Increase

Summary: A healthy state economy creates new jobs at rates greater than or equal to the U.S. average. Public assistance is seen as short-term aid, not a multi-year entitlement. Two metrics (employment growth, food stamp usage1) illustrate problems with the Arkansas economy since January 2007.
by Greg Kaza, Arkansas Policy Foundation: Arkansas payroll employment has declined, and the number of households and persons receiving food stamps has increased since 2007, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Census Bureau data.

Arkansas Payroll Employment

Arkansas total nonfarm payroll employment was 1,201,200 in January 2007, BLS data2 show. Arkansas total employment was 1,194,000 in September 2014, a 0.6% decline. U.S. employment increased 1.3% in the same period.3

Arkansas Food Stamp Usage

Individuals and households turn to public assistance when jobs are not plentiful. One public assistance program is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP),4 which dispensed $731,845,896 in Arkansas in FY 2013. Persons receiving food stamps in Arkansas increased from 379,768 (FY2007) to 504,621 (FY2013).5 Household participation grew from 158,087 (FY2007) to 224,454 (FY2013).6 Both trailed national growth rates.7
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1 National media including the McClatchy News Service and The N.Y. Times have reported on the growth in food stamp usage.
2 State and Metro Area Employment, Hours & Earnings, Current Employment Statistics. To access visit www.bls.gov, and click "State and Local Employment" using the Subjects menu on the home page. Scroll down and click SAE Databases. Click Top Picks and select Arkansas. Choose "Arkansas, Total Nonfarm, Seasonally Adjusted." Click "graph" and set the pull-down tab (2007)
3 Total U.S. payroll employment: 137,448,000 (January 2007) and 139,187,000 (August 2014).
4 The U.S. Department of Agriculture describes SNAP as "the largest program in the domestic hunger safety net." Average monthly benefits are $121 per person and $272 per household. Eligibility requirements are posted at: http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/eligibility
5 USDA, State SNAP Activity Reports, Arkansas Persons: (FY2007) 379,768; (FY2008) 377,883; (FY2009) 411,153; (FY2010) 466,598; (FY2011) 486,451; (FY2012) 502,125; and (FY2013) 504,621.
6 USDA, State SNAP Activity Reports, Arkansas Households: (FY2007)158,087; (FY2008) 157,871; (FY2009) 172,602; (FY2010) 197,624; (FY2011) 210,670; (FY2012) 220,095; and (FY2013) 224,454.
7 Persons: Arkansas (32.9%) versus U.S. (80%); Households: Arkansas (42%) versus U.S. (96%).

Tags: Arkansas, food stamps increase, jobs decline, Greg Kaza, Arkansas Policy Foundation To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Griffin: ‘It Is Past Time’ To Approve the

Keystone XL Pipeline to Grow American Jobs
Says, ‘This modern, infrastructure improvement project has
bipartisan support and the support of a majority of Americans’

WASHINGTON – Congressman Tim Griffin (AR-02) issued the following statement after House passage of H.R. 5682 to approve the Keystone XL pipeline:

“Since first coming into Congress, I’ve strongly advocated for the Keystone XL pipeline to grow jobs in Arkansas and across the nation. This modern, infrastructure improvement project has bipartisan support and the support of a majority of Americans, yet it has been stonewalled by the President for more than five years. It is past time for us to come together and approve this project, which will improve our economy, lessen our dependence on oil from countries that don’t like us, strengthen our energy security and grow thousands of jobs. Out-of-work Americans have waited long enough; it’s time to build Keystone XL.”

H.R. 5682, which passed the House by a vote of 252-161, authorizes the construction, connection, operation and maintenance of the Keystone XL pipeline.

A national survey by Rasmussen Reports found that American support for the Keystone XL pipeline has reached a new high as sixty-one percent (61%) of Americans favor building the project.

The U.S. State Department’s Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement found that the project would support more than 42,000 direct and indirect jobs nationwide.

According to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the House has voted eight times before today’s vote to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.

Tags: Tim Griffin, Representative, Arkansas Second District, AR-2, Keystone Pipeline, HR 5682, passed, U.S. House, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

First District Honors Veterans

by Rep. Rick Crawford (AR-01): Each year around Veterans Day, I enjoy seeing the many ways Arkansas' First District honors the men and women who have served their country. Whether it's a ceremony with a group of fifth and sixth graders singing ​God Bless America​ or it's a three-volley salute in the Ozarks, the First District faithfully shows its appreciation for our Veterans. As a Veteran, as the son of a Veteran, and as the brother of Veterans, I'm honored to participate in these events, and I have a few pictures below to share with you.

This year, let's make sure we take time to thank our Veterans well beyond November 11. To all our Veterans out there, thank you for serving!

Photo 1: Late last week, I had the honor of participating in an early Veterans Day ceremony in Mountain View.  Spoke and presented flags to several World War II Veterans. This touching ceremony featured men who stormed the beaches of Normandy and who fought in the Battle of the Bulge. I thank Ozark Heritage Bank in Mountain View for the invitation!

Photo 2: Following Tuesday's event at Cabot Middle School North, I joined the Criswell-Robinson American Legion Post #71 for its 2014 Veterans Day Ceremony at the Cabot Veterans Community Center. I commend the dedication of this American Legion Post to faithfully serve First District Veterans every day.


Tags: Rep. Rick Crawford, AR-01, First District, Honors Veterans To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

From The Front

by Rep. Steve Womack (AR-03): Every veteran is a hero, and in preparation to celebrate and honor them on November 11th – Veterans Day – I spoke at the Pig Trail Harley-Davidson Veteran’s Day Ceremony on Saturday and at the Tyson Foods Veterans Day Event on Monday. On Tuesday, I headed down to Atkins to address Atkins High students during their Veteran’s Day assembly. There is simply no way to fully express our gratitude for our servicemen and women. Without their selfless service, patriotism, and commitment to defending our freedom, America would not be herself. We are forever indebted to them, and again I say a heartfelt and humbled thank you for the sacrifices made for our country.

On Wednesday, Congress returned to Washington to continue our work before the end of the 113th Congress. Our first order of business was considering and passing five bills – including the Government Reports Elimination Act of 2014 (H.R. 4194) and the Presidential and Federal Records Act Amendments of 2014 (H.R. 1233) – under suspension of the rules.

On Thursday, in addition to considering four more bills under suspension, the House Republican Conference elected its leadership team for the 114th Congress. . . .

On Friday, the House passed H.R. 5682, a bill to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline. Specifically, H.R. 5682 authorizes the construction, connection, operation, and maintenance of the Keystone XL pipeline and deems the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement issued by the Secretary of State in January of 2014 sufficient to satisfy all the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) and any other federal law that requires federal agency consultation or review. Building the Keystone XL would put thousands of Americans to work, set the momentum for more plants, pipelines, and transmission lines to be built, and ultimately drive down the price of gas at the pump for and the cost to heat the homes of Americans. It would also make it practical – and affordable – for manufacturers to bring production back to America. But unfortunately, for over six years, the administration has inexplicably refused to take action on it. Americans deserve better, and Americans want – and need – the opportunities created by the Keystone XL. I hope the Senate will listen to the American people and join us in passing this bipartisan legislation straightaway.

Finally, I’d like to say thank you to all of the Arkansans who visited my office while in Washington this week, including the Buron family from Rogers, the Arkansas Chapter of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, Carole Sherman from Little Rock, and the Arkansans representing the American Network of Community Options and Resources. I’d also like to give special thanks to Susan and Tommy Weaver – the parents of Kyle, my projects director – for visiting! . . .

Tags: Steve Womack, Representative, Arkansas, District 3, AR-3, newsletter,  To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Governor – Elect Asa Hutchinson Endorses Chairman Doyle Webb For A Fourth Term

Dr. Bill Smith, Editor: In any large organization, it is difficult to effectively manage, organize, convince etc. volunteer activists, statewide to work effectively for a common purpose and goal. In addition, such a person seldom has a vision or a plan to accomplish the goal. Such can not be said about Doyle Webb. As Chairman of the Arkansas Republican Party, Webb proved to be an exceptional and unique chairman, presenting a plan, working the plan, encouraging the people, building consensus, etc. He has been a worthy leader of the party, deserves to continue as the Chairman of the Republican Party!

However, the tradition / practice of an elected Governor being considered the head of their political party should cease. Past Arkansas Republican Governors as titular head of the Arkansas Republican Party have left the GOP weaker in leadership when they left office. The Governor represents and governs for all the people of Arkansas. The Republican Party must remain committed to Republican conservative beliefs and principles regardless of beliefs or actions of those elected to office.
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Little Rock, Arkansas - On November 4, upon being elected as governor, Asa Hutchinson became the head of the Republican Party of Arkansas. In his new role, it is customary to designate his preference for state party chairman. Today, Governor-Elect Hutchinson issued the following statement:“I have watched Chairman Webb lead our Party for the past several years, and he has done an exceptional job. Along with being a well-respected leader on the Republican National Committee (RNC) where he serves as a senior member of the Executive Committee, his background in public service, as a former State Senator and County Justice of the Peace, have served him well in this role and have enabled the Party to grow at all levels. Under his tenure, we have elected more Republicans than the state has seen in its history, and, moving forward, Doyle has a plan to grow the Party and strengthen our already strong foundation as we begin this next great chapter in Arkansas politics."
The Republican State Committee of Arkansas will meet on December 6 in Benton to elect its Party officers for the next two years and to set a budget.

Tags: Arkansas Republican Party, RPA, Doyle Webb, chairman, RPA, Asa Hutchison, Governor-Elect To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Boozman Talks Ebola Prevention Efforts On Lou Dobbs' Show

The Senate Appropriations Committee heard testimony from administration officials about efforts to combat the spread of Ebola in the US and contain the disease and defeat it in West Africa. Arkansas U.S. Senator John Boozman is a member of the committee and discussed the hearing on the 'Lou Dobbs Tonight' show.

Tags: John Boozman, Lou Dobbs, Ebola, prevention efforts To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Gov-Elect Asa Hutchinson Thanks Arkansas’s Veterans On This Veterans Day

Editor;s Note: Statement was issued yesterday:
LITTLE ROCK – Governor-Elect Asa Hutchinson issued the following statement  on this Veterans Day thanking all of Arkansas’s brave men and women who selflessly served and sacrificed for our state and country:

“There are very few words in the English language that warrant more respect and thanks than the word ‘veteran’. It is because of their service and sacrifice that we are able to celebrate the freedoms upon which our country was founded. Today we honor all of our brave service men and women – those who’ve served and those who serve, even now. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.”


Tags: Governor-elect, Asas Hutchinson, Arkansas Veterans, Veterans Day To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Griffin: ‘America Honors Our Brave Veterans for Their Service in Defense of Our Country’


Thanks ‘every solider’ for their ‘courage, service and commitment
to protecting our citizens and the freedoms we cherish’

LITTLE ROCK – Congressman Tim Griffin (AR-02) issued the following statement in honor of Veterans Day:

“Today, America honors our brave veterans for their service in defense of our country. We express our gratitude for the sacrifices made by our service members and their families to safeguard our nation’s liberty. As a member of the Armed Forces, I join with all Americans in saying thank you to every soldier for their courage, service and commitment to protecting our citizens and the freedoms we cherish.”

Rep. Griffin is currently serving his 18th year as an officer in the U.S. Army Reserve.
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  Tags: Rep. Tim Griffin, U.S. Rep., District 2, Arkansas,  veterans, Veterans Day To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Boozman’s Veterans Day Message

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) honors the selfless service and sacrifice of our nation’s veterans on Veterans Day.

“I salute our veterans for their selfless commitment and immeasurable sacrifice to protect this nation and its ideals,” Boozman said in a video message. “Today is an important reminder that much needs to be done to honor our veterans for their service.”


Click here to watch the video message.

As a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Boozman is uniquely situated to help usher through legislation and implement policies that help our nation’s veterans. Improving healthcare, expanding educational opportunities and providing opportunities for long-term meaningful employment for our nation’s veterans are priorities for the senator as Congress continues its promise to the men and women who wear our nation’s uniform.

Boozman will honor the service and sacrifice of Arkansas veterans at events in Little Rock on Veterans Day. Boozman will meet with the founder of Hot Springs Village based DAV K9 Assistance Dog Association and disabled veterans and their service dogs and attend the Arkansas Department of Veterans' Affairs State Veterans Day Ceremony.

Tags: U.S. Sen. John Boozman, Arkansas, Veterans Day Message To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Veterans Day Gives Arkansas Chance to Honor Those Who Served

Rick Crawford in Army disposing of mortars.
by Rep Rick Crawford, AR-1: “From the founding of this country, veterans have been the lifeblood of our nation…We want all of our deserving heroes to be honored and recognized.” ~ Colonel Conrad Reynolds, founder and director of the Arkansas Military Veterans’ Hall of Fame

Colonel Reynolds made these remarks describing the nomination process for the 2014 Arkansas Military Veterans’ Hall of Fame. For the past four years, this non-profit organization has annually honored and recognized up to 15 Arkansas military veterans, inducting them into its Hall of Fame for valorous military service as well as combined military and civilian service.

Many of our state’s most famous military leaders now sit in this hall, including Congressional Medal of Honor recipient and World War II Commanding General Douglas MacArthur, whose quote “I shall return,” still resonates more than 70 years later; Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant Carlos Hathcock, whose reputation as a sniper in Vietnam earned him numerous awards and prompted the military to name a rifle after his trademark white feather; and Brigadier General James Robinson Risner, who was the first living recipient of the Air Force Cross; he received it twice.

Even more important to Arkansas’ First District, this year’s induction class includes at least six individuals who call or have called it home. These names include Sergeant Major Robert Gene Brashears of Harrisburg, Command Sergeant Major Cleo Lee of Newport, Sergeant Major Richard Junior Nail of Lafferty, Lt. Colonel Robert Martin Schoenborn, Jr. of Jonesboro, Lt. Colonel David Ray Wallace of Leachville, and Walnut Ridge-native Colonel Tom W. Thomas of Searcy.

Together, these six men served our country in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. They earned more than 40 service awards combined, including 19 Air Medals, 5 Army Commendation Medals, 9 Bronze Star Medals, 1 Distinguished Flying Cross, 1 Defense Meritorious Service Medal, 2 Legion of Merit awards, 4 Meritorious Service Medals, and 2 Purple Heart awards. They risked mind and body to protect the freedoms we enjoy daily, and their inductions into this Hall of Fame provide the First District an opportunity to offer a resounding, “Thank you” for serving.

In doing so, let’s make sure we don’t forget our veterans who may never receive a Hall of Fame induction.

Arkansas houses more than 240,000 veterans, or about 8.1 percent of our state’s total population. Some serve in various local, state, and national capacities, while others have devoted themselves to the private sector, creating and filling the jobs that keep our economy afloat. Still, others daily bear the visible and invisible injuries of war that prevent them from migrating into the civilian workplace; marks that reflect the jobs they faithfully accomplished in service to their country.

So, on November 11, as we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the holiday known as Veterans Day, let’s each take some time to thank and honor the men and women whom we call veterans. To paraphrase a quote from the football movie Remember the Titans, they’re “Hall of Fame in my book.”

Tags: Congressman, Rick Crawford, AR-1, veteran, Veterans Day, Honoring veterans, Col, Conrad Reynolds, Arkansas Military Veterans’ Hall of Fame To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

Republicans Majority Party

by Republican Party of Arkansas: The eyes of the country were on Arkansas on November 4 th, and we did not let our fellow Americans down. The 2014 election will be remembered as the year that the Republican Party officially became the majority party in Arkansas. The voters in our state made a resounding statement that they want to be represented both in Washington, DC and in Little Rock by the party that shares their views and values.

Republican Gains
Of the 102 state races for which the Republican Party fielded a candidate, we were victorious in 94 of them giving us a win average of 92%.

U.S. Senate
Our most watched race nationally was the U.S. Senate race because it was one of the races that would ensure Republican control of the Senate. It was a long, hard fought race but in the end Tom Cotton defeated incumbent Mark Pryor by a 17-point margin. We have “Retired Pryor!”

U.S. House of Representatives
Arkansas will for the first time in 140 years have a 100% Republican federal delegation. First District Congressman Rick Crawford and Third District Congressman Steve Womack will be retaining their seats in the House after winning by 31 points and 59 points respectively. They will be joined by Second District Congressman-elect French Hill and Fourth District Congressman-elect Bruce Westerman who won with 8-point and 11-point margins respectively.

Arkansas Constitutional Offices
The U.S. Capitol is not the only building to be taken over by Republicans. We made quite a sweep of the State Capitol as well. To officially become the majority party in the state we needed to hold at least 4 constitutional offices; however, Arkansans have entrusted Republicans with all 7 offices. In January, Governor Asa Hutchinson will lead the state with Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, Secretary of State Mark Martin, Auditor Andrea Lea, Commissioner of State Lands John Thurston and Treasurer Dennis Milligan. Governor-elect Hutchinson has a plan to hit the ground running and never look back!

State Senate and House
Arkansas Republicans now hold 24 out of 35 state senate seats after picking up 2 seats on Tuesday. After the 2012 election we held a razor thin majority in the state house with 51 seats. We were able to pick up an additional 13 seats giving us a grand total of 64 of 100 state house seats going into the next legislative session.

While these seats were picked up all over Arkansas, both senate seats and 6 of the house seats were gained in the First Congressional District. Of the remaining pickups, 3 came out of the Fourth District and 4 came from the Second District.

Local
While we are still gathering results in our local races, we do know that we have made significant gains in our county courthouses as well. Notable wins as we know them today include county judges in both Greene and Hempstead counties, county clerks in Cleveland, Faulkner, Miller, Poinsett, Van Buren and Randolph counties, and many Justices of the Peace including one who switched parties and filed as a Republican in Ouachita County.

Our Ground Game
The midterm turnout was up this cycle, most specifically among Republican voters. The statewide turnout was at 49% which was up from 47% in 2010 midterm election.

We sincerely want to thank all of our volunteers for their work to bring awareness to this election and our slate of candidates. We had a larger Victory operation in the state than ever before with over 50 staffers and 14 field offices but the success of our operation depended on our dedicated county committees, precinct captains and volunteers going into their communities and talking to their friends and neighbors. With your help our team was able to knock on over 550,000 doors and reach voters through 1.4 million phone calls.

Why We Won
The Democrats are trying to place blame on President Obama for their loses down the ballot, even to the local levels. Yes, the President’s failed policies were a factor in this election, but that alone was not enough. We are the party of Arkansas values and were able to put together an outstanding ground game that enabled us to reach voters to directly share that message. We made advancements in smarter and technologically advanced campaign strategies that enabled us to operate our ground game efficiently. Last but not least, each cycle we have been able to recruit even stronger and more qualified candidates than ever before. Without these men and women stepping forward to lead the state we would have not been as successful.

Thank you to those who offered up your name on the ballot to serve our state, the staff and volunteers who spent countless hours spreading our message, the donors who gave to the party and campaigns, and the voters who have allowed our party the chance to lead.

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

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Tom Cotton's Victory Speech

Tom Cotton wins U.S Senate race.

U.S. Senator-Elect Tom Cotton's victory speech:

Tags: Tom Cotton, Victory speech, U.S. Senate race, 2014 To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.