These three are my Arkansans of the Year

Arkansans of the YearBy Steve Brawner , © 2018 by Steve Brawner Communications, Inc.

In American democracy, the gap between what is and what should be is often wide. But sometimes the ideal and the real converge, and when they do, it’s a beautiful thing. Such was the case in the Little Rock mayor’s race.

At a time when so many elections are a choice between the lesser of evils, Mayor-elect Frank Scott, Baker Kurrus and Warwick Sabin offered the opposite: a choice between the best of goods. Time magazine has its Person of the Year. They are my Arkansans of the Year.

Scott, Kurrus and Sabin each brought strengths to the campaign. Continue reading These three are my Arkansans of the Year

How one video changed a life

Project Zero
Chrystal and Adam Baker adopted their son, Donté, after seeing his story as told by KTHV Channel 11’s Dawn Scott.

By Steve Brawner, © 2018 by Steve Brawner Communications, Inc.

How powerful can a short video be? Powerful enough to change a boy’s life – and a family’s.

In March 2015, Chrystal and Adam Baker were living a normal life in Alexander. She was an IT professional and he was a Game and Fish officer, and they were raising their blended family of four children. They had talked about adoption but had never taken any concrete steps.

Then Chrystal saw a Facebook video of a recurring television news series, “A Place to Call Home,” produced by KTHV Channel 11’s Dawn Scott. It featured 13-year-old Donté, who’d been in foster care four years. It was his birthday, and the gift he wanted was a family.

Chrystal told Adam he needed to watch it. He said he already had and told her to start the paperwork.

“I cry every time I watch it and when I think about it. … I knew he was ours,” she said.

Chrystal texted a neighbor who had adopted two teens from foster care and who suggested they contact The CALL, a Christian organization that recruits foster and adoptive parents. She “immediately” called the local chapter. Continue reading How one video changed a life

Beebe defends his fellow governor

Mike Beebe
Govs. Mike Beebe, left, and Mike Huckabee share memories at the 20th anniversary celebration of the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement.

By Steve Brawner, © 2018 by Steve Brawner Communications, Inc.

Former Govs. Mike Huckabee and Mike Beebe have similar names but different personalities and outlooks, but one area where they agree is this: Being governor is “the best job in the world.”

That’s how Huckabee described it during a joint appearance Monday during a 20-year celebration of the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement. Beebe immediately agreed.

It was more than a reunion of two former governors. When Huckabee was in office, Beebe was the most powerful state senator, and they worked together to pass bills such as the legislation creating ARKids First, which provides health insurance to lower-income children.

Also on hand were two of the state’s four other still-living governors: current Gov. Asa Hutchinson, whom Beebe defeated in 2010, and Jim Guy Tucker. The other two are Bill Clinton and David Pryor. Continue reading Beebe defends his fellow governor

Instead of gaining five yards, Congress takes a knee

Steve Womack
Steve Womack was co-chair of the Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform.

By Steve Brawner, © 2018 by Steve Brawner Communications, Inc.

No, adopting a two-year budget cycle wasn’t going to restore fiscal sanity in Washington, much less make a dent in the $21.85 trillion national debt (your equal share as of 9:24 a.m. Tuesday: $66,389.76).

But as Rep. Steve Womack, R-Ark., told me, when you can’t score a touchdown, at least try to gain five yards.

That comment came four days after a committee he co-chaired failed to advance the two-year budgeting idea.

Why two years? Because Congress can’t get the job done every year. As Womack told me, Congress is so bitterly divided and spends so little time in Washington (about 120 days a year) that it can’t complete the budget soon enough. And that’s if it completes it at all.  Continue reading Instead of gaining five yards, Congress takes a knee