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.

A few years ago, I was at a polling place in Indiana where a long line of people stood waiting to vote. A woman recognized me and called me over. “Why is it,” she asked, “that you politicians make it so hard and inconvenient to vote?”

The other day, someone I’ve known for years offered a pointed bit of criticism. “It’s easy for people like you to make long lists of things Congress should do to improve,” he said. “But you know good and well most of them won’t happen. So if you’re really serious, what’s the one most importa…

There are few legislative meetings scheduled the week of the Fourth of July, allowing us to spend time with family and also our constituents. Several of us, including my friend State Sen. Eddie Cheatham, were able to meet with city, county, and community business leaders in Crossett to hear …

The first European settlers in America came seeking religious freedom without government intervention and prohibitions. Some came who simply wanted freedom and a new start in life. Ambitious European rulers competed for colonial superiority over their counterparts in the “new world.” 

A few months ago, the federal debt we have accumulated over the past decades crossed the $22 trillion mark. That’s a record. And it’s surely not going to be the last.

The official US narrative on Iran is that it is an escalating threat to “peace and security” in the Middle East and must be stopped. Step by step, with Mike Pompeo and John Bolton—two war maniacs—taking the lead, the Trump administration has sought to destabilize Iran with sanctions, if poss…

Iran has supplied weapons and money across the Middle East and around the world for decades. Recently Iran attacked oil tankers and shot down an American unmanned drone. President Trump signaled the U.S. would strike back. Media and politicians went nuts speculating about Trump leading us in…

Were you able to attend the Pink Tomato Festival or a Juneteenth celebration last weekend? Or did you do something special for Father’s Day on Sunday? With summer in full swing, last week was a busy one. I spent time between Hot Springs and Little Rock attending legislative meetings, the Mun…

A friend at the gym said he was tired of all the hatred going around. I agreed. We’re both old and could not remember a time when politics was so hateful and divisive in America. And, we both remember the 60s! 

You may not be ready for next year’s elections, but in political time, they’re coming up fast. Even politicians who aren’t running for president are crafting their stump speeches. Which means that at some point you’re almost certain to hear someone announce, sternly, “I. Will. Not. Compromis…

I have written to President Trump to request that he declare the Flood of 2019 a major disaster and provide the federal assistance that we will need to get back on our feet. My letter outlines the extensive destruction and loss along the Arkansas River and its tributaries from the Oklahoma b…

For the past two years Americans have been force-fed conspiracy theories about candidate Trump colluding with the Russians to beat Hillary Clinton. The “proof?” Trump beat Clinton. That’s it. Nevertheless for two years Adam Schiff (D-CA), ranking member then, and now Chair of the House intel…

The Arkansas River is experiencing historic flooding that has unfortunately resulted in Natural State homes, businesses and communities now finding themselves underwater. The water level has surpassed the record floods of 2015, 1990, 1941 and 1927. What we are facing is unprecedented, howeve…

I am lucky enough these days to be in regular touch with young people — students — who are interested in public service. I find hope in their quality, energy, and motivation, and they press me to think more deeply about what it takes to pursue a life in the public realm.

The average American spends over $10,000 annually on health care expenses and experts expect that number to continue to rise. Combine that hefty price tag with the very personal nature of health care decisions, and you easily see why health care reform is a priority for millions of Americans.

Thanks for the cards and good wishes as I continue to convalesce from knee surgery. I especially hated to miss the Arkansas Rural Development Conference that convened last week in Hot Springs, where many of our city, county and state leaders gathered. This conference is organized by the Arka…

We are living in interesting times with issues like abortion, trade talks with China, stock market losses, immigration crisis on the border, North Korea, Iran, Venezuela, floods and storms, President Trump, and two dozen Democrats running for president. 

I’m often asked whether I am enjoying my time off now that the regular legislative session has concluded. Thanks to a very active lifestyle that included 30 years of Army physical training, my knee wore out a bit earlier than I had hoped. I now join the many of you that wear the battle scar …