Here’s a basic truth about people who make decisions on public policy: they rarely have all the facts they want. Over the years, I’ve sat in countless meetings in which, after we’d reached a sticking point, someone said in exasperation, “Well, what are the facts?” We’d all look around the ro…

Late last year, Congress took a historic, critical step toward expanding access to higher education and supporting the nation’s historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and minority-serving institutions (MSIs). In December, bipartisan legislation was approved and signed into law …

It’s hard to believe 2019 is almost over. This year has been filled from beginning to end with constituent meetings, legislation, House votes, Arkansas business tours and lots of time in the Atlanta airport waiting for my connecting flight to D.C. I think the numbers speak for themselves: in…

Arkansas has improved its approach to the care of the state’s at-risk children, and today I’d like to talk about our success. The employees at the Department of Human Services and the Division of Youth Services have done excellent work in giving the youth in our care their best chance at tur…

The Arkansas legislature had a very productive year in 2019. During the regular session lawmakers balanced the budget of state government while cutting taxes and reducing the number of state agencies.

I voted against the impeachment of President Donald Trump. I believe impeachment is one of the most serious votes Congress can use – second only to declaring war – and unfortunately this whole process has been a sham from beginning to end.

Canada and Mexico continue to be the top destinations for Arkansas exports, according to the 2019 report by the World Trade Center of the University of Arkansas.

To me, it was a thunderclap. Years ago, when I was in Congress, we were in the midst of a tense, contentious debate. Members had gotten irritated, levying charges back and forth, and tempers were rising. It was starting to look like we might just go off the rails. Then one member stood up, a…

There are so many ways to catch the Christmas spirit ion southeast Arkansas! Monticello kicked off the season last Tuesday with their parade and Santa visits. Sen. Eddie Cheatham and I walked the route and had a blast. Hamburg Holidays 2019 was also a huge success on Saturday, with the parad…

Hong Kong, a bustling international business hub and one of the world’s most significant commercial ports, is often wrongly assumed to be under the full control of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

Impeachment hearings against President Trump are reminiscent of a Shakespearian play. Is it a tragedy or a comedy? Yes. The Democrats starring in and directing the play portray President Trump as a tragic character with fatal flaws. The media and Washington establishment, i.e. swamp, laughin…

Representative democracy is based on a simple premise. It’s that ordinary citizens can make satisfactory judgments on complex public policy and political issues — or at least grasp them well enough to decide who should be dealing with them.

Once again, the holiday season has quietly and rapidly descended upon us. Arkansans are getting into the holiday spirit and preparing to share meals and extended time with their loved ones. We will also be looking for ways to give back and pay it forward.

The federal budget process isn’t likely to be dinner table conversation, it rarely grabs cable news headlines, and it’s usually the furthest thing from our minds. But on Nov. 19 in a now-annual pattern, Congress punted its appropriation – government funding – duties for another month in what…

One of the not-so-small gifts of living in a representative democracy is that you can’t accomplish things alone. Whether you’re trying to get a stop sign put up on a dangerous corner or to change US policy on greenhouse gas emissions, you have to reach out to others. And learning how to pers…

For more than two hundred years the United States and France have maintained close, enduring relations. France is, in fact, our oldest ally and both nations stand as symbols of freedom of speech, freedom of thought and the broader concepts of liberty and democracy.

Someone shared the following definition of a veteran on Facebook. “A Veteran - whether active duty, retired, or national guard or reserve - is someone who, at one point in his or her life, wrote a blank check made payable to ‘The United States of America,’ for an amount of ‘up to and includi…

Veterans Day is a time to reflect on the service and sacrifice of the men and women who wore our nation’s uniform. These selfless individuals come from all walks of life and all regions. The thing that unites them is that they answered the call to serve their country, risking everything to p…

Last week the Aging, Children and Youth, Military and Legislative Affairs Committee met jointly with the Senate Committee on State Agencies and Governmental Affairs in El Dorado to further explore the services offered to veterans and the concerns of veterans in south Arkansas. Suicide preven…

Our health care system faces a number of challenges. Lack of access to affordable, quality care for many Americans is right at the top of the list. Washington’s inability to pass long-term funding for the nation’s community health centers (CHCs) threatens to exacerbate this problem.

If you’ve driven in Southwest Arkansas for any length of time, you’ve probably gotten stuck behind a log truck for a few miles. These trucks, stacked high with freshly cut trees, represent just one link in a long chain of timber production. As a forester by trade, I always look forward to Fo…

“I ask how and why this decision was reached,” Utah Sen. Mitt Romney said in the Senate recently. He was calling for an investigation into President Trump’s decision to pull US forces out of Syria. “Was there no chance for diplomacy? Are we so weak and so inept diplomatically that Turkey for…

After spending two weeks in Arkansas, I returned to D.C. ready to get to work and tackle legislation. Yet in a pattern that’s become all too familiar, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi continued focusing on impeachment inquiries instead of bringing bipartisan bills to the floor that we can debate a…

We are a technology-dependent society. Sensitive personal data such as financial accounts, Social Security numbers and medical information are secured in cyberspace. Unfortunately, this information that we trust to be protected, is targeted by high-tech criminals working to steal our private…

I was talking with a friend the other day about immigration. It’s one of the most divisive issues of our time, and we, too, found ourselves divided. “Our country is full,” he quoted President Trump, who said this back in April. Let’s improve the country with the people we already have, my fr…

Food is a necessity for life, and agriculture is Arkansas’s largest economic sector. The American economy and our basic existence depend on farmers. Almost everything that we use in our daily lives can be traced in some way to farm production or natural resource extraction. From crops to cat…

The U.S. Constitution enumerates three co-equal branches of government. The legislative branch makes laws. The executive branch carries out those laws. The judicial branch adjudicates the constitutionality of laws. What could be simpler than a government operating on the basis of laws?

I have now successfully completed my quest to visit all school districts in my legislative district, with a sweep in the past week and a half that included Crossett, Drew Central, and Monticello High School. Visiting schools during September, which is Bring Your Legislator to School Month, h…

Though not a national holiday, since 1979, the U.S. has annually honored its POW/MIAs, and since the mid-1980’s, our nation has observed National POW/MIA Recognition Day on the third Friday in September. It is a time to honor those who were prisoners of war and those who are still missing in…

The joint Senate and House Committees on Public Health, Welfare and Labor approved a study proposal to combat the dramatic increase in teenagers’ use of vaping products, also known as e-cigarettes.

A wave of protests is roiling Moscow. Millions of people, young and old, have been crowding the streets in Hong Kong. In Britain, members of the Conservative Party took to open revolt over Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s move to sideline Parliament on Brexit. If democracy is dysfunctional and…

This week, I traveled to Jonesboro to help cut the ribbon at the state’s fourth Crisis Stabilization Unit, and today I’d like to talk about the difference these centers are making in Arkansas.

Sometimes, you wonder if the world is doomed to descend into autocracy. Certainly, that’s what the coverage of the past few years suggests. We read about the nations that are already there, like China and Russia, of course, and Saudi Arabia and Iran. Or about countries like Hungary, Turkey, …

Today I’d like to talk about the importance of participating in the U.S. Census and about the ways we are already preparing for Census Day, which is April 1, 2020.

As I write this, I am in the Washington, D.C. area visiting my son and daughter-in-law as well as several military friends. I also attended the promotion of a good friend. Most everywhere I have gone, folks have asked me whether I actually enjoy being in politics. My answer? Most of the time…

Students across the state are back in class for the 2019-2020 school year. As administrators, teachers and pupils begin diving into new lesson plans and formulating goals and objectives to work toward this year, we are all excited for what the future holds.

With the start of the school year, I thought I’d do a quick bit of Internet research about education in Arkansas. While serving on the House Education Committee I have been exposed to new ways of looking at funding and curriculum requirements and teacher qualifications and so much more. I wo…

It doesn’t seem like that long ago that I was sworn in to this session of Congress, yet it’s already August. The speed of politics shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon and that only makes time go faster. One of the hardest parts about being a congressman is having to spend so many days…

What are the consequences of infringing “the right of the people to keep and bear arms?” Could the consequences be worse than the problem we’re trying to solve? 

As we continue to mourn the tragic loss of life in El Paso and Dayton, it appears that the suspect in the Texas attack is a white nationalist who hates immigrants. He traveled more than 600 miles to a border town, where the majority of the population is Hispanic. Law enforcement agencies are…

Growing up in rural Arkansas, I’ve seen how important local pharmacies are to their communities. These pharmacies provide so much more than prescriptions – they often stock everything from soap to socks. Large-scale chain pharmacies just don’t have the same appeal and can’t offer the same le…

I’ve been struck recently by news coverage of climate change and humans’ degradation of the planet. Two opposing themes keep appearing. One is the sense that, as individuals, there’s little we can do; the forces are too large. The other – and I think many Americans would agree with this – is…

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) whistleblowers recently exposed a nationwide problem to a Minneapolis-based reporter. These whistleblowers showed documentation from 2014 that detailed how the VA was wrongly charging disabled veterans home loan funding fees. The information provided to th…

A new law requiring stricter labeling of food products has placed Arkansas in the middle of an international dispute over truth in labeling.

These days, turning on the news is nothing short of exhausting. Government leaders, talking heads on TV, social media users – everyone has an opinion, and everyone is voicing that opinion louder and louder. Just a few days ago, House Speaker Pelosi was formally reprimanded on the House floor…

On Wednesday of this week, almost 700 bills passed by the General Assembly earlier this year will take effect. Unless a new Act contains an emergency clause making it immediately effective when signed by the Governor, then each new law will become effective 91 days after the session adjourned.