I am torn between thinking time is inching along incredibly slowly during this healthcare crisis, as I help with art projects and “circle time” with my grandkids, and also thinking that it is speeding along so quickly that it is hard to keep up with news, real statistics, and all the availab…

To cushion the financial impact of the coronavirus outbreak on working families, the state has streamlined the process of applying for unemployment insurance.

When you get something not earned you are less likely to take care of it. We have visited this concept before, reader. It is just a way of the world. And in this world, there seems to be a lot of getting and not a lot of earning — from our federal government all the way down to our fashion. 

Much of what I write as it relates to COVID-19 will be dated by the time the paper is published, because the state response is rapidly evolving.  Know my column will reflect developments as of last Sunday.

Oh the roller coaster we’ve ridden, from sweeping high above the rooftops to circling perilously into the depths far below. News is constantly reframing reality or making us mad when idiots push politics just to blame others. What’s wrong with these people? Then, out of the blue, we’ve laugh…

As I changed clocks to set them to Daylight Saving Time (DST), I was reminded of a state representative that filed a bill to eliminate DST in Arkansas during the last regular session.  There was so much negative publicity that the bill was “pulled” before it went to committee, but it certain…

Census Day is less than a month away, and today I’d like to share some advice from the United States Census Bureau that will ensure we count as many people as possible.

Sometimes, you just need to step back. The political conversations I hear these days are strikingly negative, dominated by what’s amiss in Washington, by the deep divisions in the country, by President Trump’s actions and the aftermath of his impeachment, and by the difficult problems we fac…

In the past two years, the number of youths in state custody has declined by nearly thirty percent, and today I’d like to discuss some of the changes we have made to achieve that.

As long-time readers know, I routinely mix little faith messages in with columns on politics and social issues. When I started writing about politics and social issues from an evangelical perspective years ago, many editors warned me not to mix religion and politics. Today many news organiza…

At the end of April last year I wrote a column predicting Pete Buttigieg would win the Democratic nomination for president. Now that we have results from Iowa (mostly) and New Hampshire, that prediction seems to be prescient. 

If you’ve ever spent time around me, you’ll know it’s no secret that I love talking about trees. I still remember conversations with my Sunday school teacher, Mr. Culpepper, a WWII veteran and member of the first forestry class at the University of Arkansas at Monticello. He’s the one who ig…

At the time of the American Revolution, the future United States was a small, colonial backwater on the world stage. There were an estimated 2-3 million people living here. Yet it somehow produced an array of talented, creative thinkers and politicians — Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Madison…

The tragic news that two Arkansas Army National Guard members took their own lives in the same January week shows the gravity of the mental distress some members of the military live with. Just as troubling is the extent we’ve seen service members and veterans struggling with these invisible…

Last week I enjoyed celebrations of the best of people and businesses in both Hamburg and Crossett at their respective annual Chamber of Commerce banquets.

The Arkansas Levee Task Force has completed its final report, with recommendations on how to pay for maintenance and repairs, and how to best gauge the current condition of levees.

Today I’d like to discuss my decision to allow a limited number of refugees to relocate legally in Arkansas after they have been vetted and cleared by agencies of the United States. The refugees are coming here after suffering violence and religious persecution. Others are allowed in because…

You know these words, but how often do you stop to think about them? “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to…

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…

The Legislative Council endorsed a plan for two southeast Arkansas counties to contract with a private company to build and operate a 600-bed prison.

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…