Category Archives: Uncategorized

Repeal, and then what?

By Steve Brawner

© 2017 by Steve Brawner Communications, Inc.

The Senate health care bill is dead. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell killed it Monday after it did what President Obama couldn’t do – make Obamacare more popular – and after too many Republican senators said they’d vote against it and none expressed enthusiasm for it.

The unenthusiastic included Arkansas Sens. Tom Cotton and John Boozman, who both remained noncommittal even though Cotton was one of 13 Republican senators who wrote the bill behind closed doors.

McConnell’s new plan is to repeal Obamacare now, but it wouldn’t take effect for two years while Congress creates a replacement. In response, Cotton told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt Tuesday that he was “pleased” with that direction. He said Congress already voted to repeal Obamacare in 2015, a move supported by all six members of Arkansas’ congressional delegation.

Could Paul Spencer give Arkansas Democrats a shot?

By Steve Brawner
© 2017 by Steve Brawner Communications, Inc.

Arkansas’ 2nd Congressional District just got more interesting, perhaps even almost competitive, and it might point the way for Arkansas Democrats in other parts of the state.

Paul Spencer is forming an exploratory committee to run for that congressional seat as a Democrat. It’s currently occupied by Rep. French Hill, a Republican.

Spencer was a founder of the group Regnat Populus, which tried in 2012 to get an ethics reform measure on the ballot that would limit campaign contributions. The effort failed to collect enough signatures, but legislators did respond by placing on the 2014 ballot a wide-ranging “ethics” amendment passed by voters. It did limit campaign contributions as well as gifts by lobbyists to legislators, but it also snuck in a provision weakening term limits, a measure Spencer later criticized.

For foster parents, mercy triumphs over judgment

Andrew and May Baker were name Foster Family of the Year.
By Steve Brawner
© 2017 by Steve Brawner Communications, Inc.

On May 16, an awards banquet was held where no one really cared who won.

That was the day the Arkansas Foster Family of the Year and 10 regional winners were honored by the state Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS). They were honored for doing what foster families do: giving loving homes to children removed from their biological families, giving those biological families a helping hand during difficult times, and giving the taxpayers a heck of a good deal.

Foster families temporarily take care of many of the 5,200 children whom the state has removed from their homes because of abuse, neglect and other reasons. The arrangements can last from days to years. Sometimes the foster child is ultimately adopted by the foster parents, and sometimes the child is adopted by another family, but in most cases that’s not the goal. The goal is to provide support services to the children’s biological families so they can be reunited.

Walking away from the game

By Steve Brawner
© 2017 by Steve Brawner Communications, Inc.

One of the Razorbacks’ best players announced this week that he was retiring as a college sophomore. For football fans and the entities that profit from the game, the bigger issue is the number of young people who might never play at all.

Rawleigh Williams had already suffered one neck injury his freshman season, had a successful surgery, and returned to lead the Southeastern Conference in rushing, putting him on the path to a pro career.

Then in the Razorbacks’ final spring practice April 29, he made ordinary contact with a defensive player and fell to the ground, unable to rise. Medical personnel rushed to his side along with Head Coach Bret Bielema and then his distressed mother, Kim, and his sister. A ruptured disc in his neck was surgically replaced and fused in place.