Nov 14, 2011

Miller County Republicans Host Beth Anne Rankin

Beth Anne Rankin spoke to a standing room only crowd this evening (11-14-11) at the Miller County Republican Committee's monthly meeting.  People came from several surrounding counties to hear Beth Anne speak about the future of the country and her hopes for the 4th District.

Beth Anne stressed a respect for the free market, her support for a balanced budget amendment, and her support for a simple tax code.  One of her major points centered around the feedback she is getting from business owners in the 4th District.  Beth Anne stated that "business owners feel like the federal government is against them."  She noted they feel so overwhelmed by the government's requirements that they can not build solid business and open job opportunities for the future.  She also noted that the new healthcare law is another factor limiting small business as some are already making cuts in anticipation of being unable to pay the price for the program.

A short question and answer session resulted in questions concerning the current tax codes, disability rights, and the need for a cut back on federal spending.  Several supporters signed up for email and other information from Beth Anne's campaign. 

Nov 13, 2011

Beth Anne Rankin to Visit Texarkana

Beth Anne Rankin, candidate for the 4th District Congressional Seat of Arkansas, will be the guest speaker Monday night (14th) for the Miller County Republican Committee.  The meeting will be held at Big Jake's BBQ at 6:00 p.m.  Everyone is welcome to hear Beth Anne and visit with her. 

Oct 16, 2011

A Failed President and November 2012


On November 6, 2012, Americans around the world will once again be asked to make a determination of who the President will be.  Americans voting by absentee, voting early, and those waiting until the last minute of the day will cast votes.  The counts will be completed and a President will ultimately selected.  The only question that remains in advance of the vote is how you will cast your vote.

Obama has failed as a President in several areas.  Below is a short list of his failures that will be placed on his resume for President on November 6:

1.                     He instituted a change to the health care system against the will of the American people.
2.                     He allowed his lack of knowledge to embarrass Americans around the world.
3.                     He failed to fix the economy, the very same economy that he promised to fix during his first presidential campaign.
4.                     He still wants to take your money and give it away to others while claiming he is only taking from the rich.
5.                     His administration wants to cooperate with the U.N.’s desire to remove the right to bear arms.
6.                     He apologizes for America at every single opportunity he gets.
7.                     He used the Gulf Oil Spill as a way to promote his Green Energy plan despite several companies already failing or closing after receiving government money.
8.                     He sold all Government shares of Chrysler to Fiat, an Italian company at a significant loss.
9.                     He blames Democracy for his failures (http://nation.foxnews.com/president-obama/2011/08/04/obama-blames-democracy-his-failures)

This is not a top ten list.  In fact, it stops short of ten, but it could easily reach ten or exceed ten.  The fact of the matter is Obama has failed to live up to the expectations that he set for himself while failing to live up to the expectations of the Office of  President.

When someone goes to school and fails, that someone is not passed on to the next grade or graduated.  When someone fails at a job, he or she is often allowed a second chance, but when that failure continues, he or she is fired.  When a company fails to make a profit, it closes its doors (historical note: Or, it appeals to Obama who apparently enjoys failure and is supported by your tax dollars until it is sold at a loss to a foreign country).    The bottom line is this President does not deserve to be passed to a second term.  America would be better off if at the close of the day on November 6, 2012, Obama would start making plans for a new Presidential Library located somewhere in the suburbs of Chicago or Hawaii.  It may be interesting to see whether Chicago nominates Hawaii for the library first, or Hawaii nominates Chicago for it first.

Oct 6, 2011

Herman Cain


The field of Republicans shooting for the opportunity to take on President Obama has seen many speculations and some expected entries, but none can carry a candle to Herman Cain.  Unlike his opponents, Cain has no political history for a backing except for a loss in Georgia and he has no backers for that matter to keep happy.  He has no hidden political past to keep out of the public’s eye.  He would essentially go to Washington, if elected, with something Americans want desperately.  He would go with no political background or preconceived agenda.

Cain is the symbol of the American dream.  He was born into the middle class without the typical silver spoon in his mouth that many politicians have.  In fact, his father worked three jobs and his mother worked just so Cain could go to college.  He had to work for his degree in Computer Science after obtaining his degree in Mathematics with his parent’s support.  He is a Christian with politics based on small government and free enterprise.  To further his resume he did something that most Americans admire, he built a business. 

To further propel Cain into our collective spotlight, he has something that most other candidates do not have.  Herman Cain has a plan.  A quick visit to his site and you will see his “999” Link to Plan plan detailed.  The vision of his plan is simple.  Cain wants to get government out of the economy so the economy can “return to prosperity.”  He then goes on to detail what even the current administration cannot do.   His number one principle for his plan is simply “Production drives the economy, not spending.”  It should be interesting to note that this is the polar opposite of what the current administration believes.  The current administration wants tax money to pour into the economy to make it grow.  It has not worked, and it will not work.  However, Cain’s plan is simple enough for anyone to read it, understand it, and implement it. 

With the Tea Party Republicans jumping onboard with Cain’s message, the Republican party at large would do well to look to the man who may not only be able to have some fantastic pizza parties at the White House, but he may very well be the man able to propel “us” back into the U.S.


Sep 17, 2011

Talk is Cheap


It’s an old saying in the English language that runs along side other famous sayings such as “put your money where your mouth is,” or “shut up and put up,” and it has never rang more true than it does today, “Talk is cheap.”  Unfortunately, many Republicans today spend too much time ‘talking’ about the great things they will do, could do, might do, or that they are about to do.  All this time spent talking about great things ultimately never leads to any great outcomes.  Perhaps “Talk is Cheap” is one of the key reasons the Tea Party, Patriots, and other groups continue to grow as the offshoots or even parallels of the Republican Party.

Someone recently said that “just about anybody with an ‘R’ behind their name can win an election right now,” and it’s true.   In a small town yesterday I was told that if you wanted to vote in that town during a primary, you usually had to vote in a Democratic primary.  Now that same small town is seeing a rise of Republicans on the primary ballot.  Unfortunately, since the last election the Republicans propelled to their positions by one of the parties greatest assets (Obama’s actions, inactions, and shortcomings in the eyes of the nation) have done little other than argue with Obama about policy.

The recent job-building bill, something Obama should likely steer well clear of considering his accomplishments in this area, is a prime example of ‘talk’ being cheap.  Republicans are quick to say what they will and will not pass.  On almost all the talk shows and news they quickly say, “We will look at what the President is submitting, but we will not pass it all just because he says to do so.”  Well, that is a shock for crying-out-loud, they are not Democrats.  Face it, for Obamacare, the wonderful cluster of healthcare reforms that those in Washington do not even understand, the Democrats lined up, voted it in, and stood by smiling as Obama signed it into law.  Few of them read it, understood it, and maybe worst of all few of them believed there existed funds to pay for it.  At a time when Obama should have been focusing on an ailing economy, he signed a bill that put fear in the mind of those in the medical field, patients, students, insurance companies, employers, employees, and most taxpayers.  Obama and then controlling Democrats should have been focusing on uplifting the American spirit and building the economy, not terrorizing it.  Republicans had little choice at the time but to watch the bill slink through to Obama’s eager fountain pen.  Nevertheless, they talked about it.  Now, Republicans are in a position to halt and force Obama who suddenly has a shinning desire for everyone to work together.

Republicans are in a position to stop talking and start acting.  They do not have to wait until after the Presidential elections, they can and must act now.   The Tea Party demands action, the Patriot groups demand action, the independents demand action, and Americans across the world are pleading for action.   A quick review of past Presidents of success shows that few of them ran around saying, “Pass this bill” thousands of times.  The past successful Presidents gave the marching orders and then implemented them.  Republicans, fearing any success for America right now will reflect on Obama have simply decided to sit around and ‘talk’ about what they can and will do.  Tea Party groups and others realize the time for ‘talk’ is over.  The United States needs action and it needs to start now regardless of the President’s agenda.   Without immediate action, imports will continue to flood the American economy, destroy American industry, and cripple American families to where someday a choice will have to be made.  Unfortunately, that choice will be “Press 1 for Chinese, Press 2 for English”.


Aug 23, 2011

Tusk Club: Foundations of The Arkansas Republican Party


Started in the 1970’s, the Tusk Club is the cornerstone of support for Arkansas Republicans.  Chairman Webb and Finance Director Curtis have traveled the state presenting the status of the party and information about the Tusk Club to potential members.   They are working tirelessly to ensure that people have a voice that is heard from downtown Little Rock, clear to the halls of Washington.

During a time when the Democratic Party is operating with nearly a billion dollars of campaign funding, Americans have found their values being tossed out the door.  Americans are tired of being told how health care will be, they are tired of being told how to live their lives, and they are tired of being told that taxes must go up.  The fact is there is an alternative.  There stands one party still fighting for the American people.  One party is still holding the line against total government control of American life.   We must limit government spending, we must combat government waste, and fortunately, there is one party, the Republican Party, which is championing the fight to do just that.  The Tusk Club of Arkansas is the foundation of support for the Republican Party of Arkansas.  Those interested in combating big government and taking back our country from Democrats only wanting to tax and spend should seriously consider membership in the Tusk Club program.   Together, America can be great once again.   For more information, go to Tusk Club Information

Aug 13, 2011

Ronald Reagan's Approach to Economic Recovery


Reagan meeting press: picture
Today is an exciting day for U.S. History and Republicans.  Thirty years ago in 1981, Ronald Reagan signed the largest tax cut in U.S. History.  America was in an economic slump, gas prices were out of sight, unemployment was up, and the country was on the verge of another depression. 

At his ranch in California, President Reagan sat down at an outside table with two simple microphones attached.  He wore the clothing of the common man at the time.  He did not wear the traditional suit and tie so often associated with a Presidential signing, but instead he decided to connect with America.  He wore a denim jacket, a button down shirt, and jeans.  He decided not to sign the tax cut at the White House amidst the fanfare and politics of Washington, but instead he signed it at a small ranch.  He signed it at what he considered to be “home”.  That day, Reagan stood out not as the President of the United States, but instead as one of the people.  He stood out as a man united with the nation.  It was clear that August day in 1981, that the nation was not a “You and me,” but rather a “We” and we were going forward together.

That largest tax cut was called the Economic Recovery Tax Act.  While some have argued that it propelled the country into owing trillions of dollars and hurt the U.S. standing on the global economic field, there is no denying that at home it launched a revolution.  People went back to work, the United States became “United” again, and it was clear we were in this together.  Our President was standing for us, but more importantly, he was standing “with” us.  The United States was propelled by Reagan’s common man approach, his willingness to stand with us, and the tax cuts into the largest economic rise in the history of the United States. 

How many worked to put up this sign?
While today is a day to remember what Reagan did thirty years ago, it is also a day to look to the future.  As Republicans and the nation lunge toward the Presidential race once again, we must seek that candidate who will stand with us.   President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, has failed to launch the U.S. economy.  Across the nation faded signs proclaim Obama’s economic stimulus with the words “Putting America to work” in front of empty fields where no Americans are working.  America must push a candidate who is one of the people, standing with the people, into the White House again. 

Aug 10, 2011

Representative David Simpson: Protecting Americans First


from: Texas GOP Vote


It is no secret that Texas is in a budget crisis like other states in America today.  It was at one of these budget discussions concerning proposed cuts for homes of people with Developmental Disabilities where I first met Representative David Simpson.  Budget cuts had been made affecting the healthcare of the people living in these homes, and I had gone to speak on behalf of them against further budget cuts.

The host of the meeting was still in the process of introductions and welcoming everyone there when Mr. Simpson arrived.  He slipped into the room unnoticed by most and sat down next to me.  Being from Texarkana, I had no idea who the man sitting next to me was.  We passed a basic greeting of “hello” before he asked me to confirm that this was the meeting for the proposed budget cuts.  I told him it was and figured he was another healthcare provider there to state his case against the proposed cuts.

By luck of having arrived first and signed the list first, I was allowed to present my case or presentation first.  I took the podium and informed the group why healthcare cuts against people with Developmental Disabilities would be devastating to the people, the caregivers, and the providers trying to maintain a positive quality of life. 

After my presentation, a few others went to the podium to discuss similar reasoning against the cuts.  Mr. Simpson leaned over and asked to glance at my notes.  Figuring he might be able to use my information in his presentation, I gladly shared them with him in hopes of gaining additional support for our position. 

At the end of the meeting, Mr. Simpson introduced himself and handed me a card.  It read simply, “David Simpson for Texas State Representative District 7”.    Excited that I had someone’s ear that would actually be making the decisions in Austin, I prepared myself mentally to start stating the reasons we were against the cuts, but before I could start my mini-presentation, Mr. Simpson began asking me questions. 

Mr. Simpson spent several minutes listening to each answer before asking another question.  In the end, he told me that he had been in the timber business and was given the opportunity to serve by being elected.  He was clearly humbled by this opportunity.  He seemed to have a true desire to help not only the people in his district, but people everywhere.  He had heard about the proposed cuts and wanted to learn more since he would be facing these issues in Austin.   His final statement was perhaps the most promising, Mr. Simpson said, “I know that if I had a family member living in one of these homes, I would want to know they had the funding needed, so I felt like I needed to know about these homes to help me make a good decision for the people I represent.”

Since that time I have had the privilege of speaking with Mr. Simpson’s Chief of Staff on the phone several times, corresponding through email and we have meet face to face to discuss the cuts being proposed.   Mr. Simpson has made it clear that he wants to do what is best for people.  His proposed bills, protecting people from being touched inappropriately and without cause by airport security, even brought the threat from TSA that all flights in Texas would be cancelled should the bill go into law.  Can you imagine TSA canceling all flights in Texas just because Mr. Simpson wanted to protect children, the elderly, men and women from being groped by airline security without probable cause?  What can you tell your young daughter or son after spending time informing them that no one except a physician or nurse trying to help them should touch certain places and then an airline security person does it?  You can tell them it’s not right, they had no reason to suspect them of being a terrorist, and you can tell them that men like David Simpson are still fighting to protect them and all people.  It is time for more men and women like David Simpson to stand up and tell the federal government, “we do not work for you, you work for us and you will respect our rights.”  

Republican Representative David Simpson can be contacted at davidsimpson.com

Jul 25, 2011

Breaking News: Beth Anne Rankin to run for U.S. Congress

The Texarkana GOP just learned from reliable sources that Beth Anne Rankin will run for Mike Ross' seat in Congress.  Although there has been no official announcement from Beth Anne at this time, the source stated, "Spread the word."

Field Opens with Ross Exit


Mike Ross is out of the field for his position in Congress.  The announcement today did not surprise many people expecting Ross to make a run for Governor of Arkansas.  It also did not surprise Republicans keenly aware that redistricting in Ross’ area will likely bring in some areas normally voting Republican.  Ross is a smart politician able to see the writing on the wall, or maybe the painting since Arkansas’ Republicans have a goal of painting the state red and so far have been showing great success with the brush.

The last election placed Ross across from Republican Challenger Rankin.   When the smoke cleared, Ross was the lone Democrat standing in Congress for Arkansas.   Rankin supporters, realizing the margin was closing in before the election, quietly put away their Rankin for Congress signs to wait.  The Red Headed Republican from south Arkansas has not made her motives known publically, but many supporters hoped for a Rankin / Ross rematch.  Ross, now surrounded by Republican Congress members in his home state, has decided to opt out and shoot for the governor’s office.

from http://www.bethannerankin.com/
Democrats will be scrambling to find a candidate to replace Ross.  Many in the Texarkana area will likely look at the possibility of a Harrelson run, but there could be other contenders waiting in the shadows.  For many Republicans the calls, emails, letters, and even web blogs like this one will quickly target that certain Red Headed Republican named Rankin to run one more time.

May 15, 2011

Mike Huckabee: Factors Say Go, Heart Says No

Local favorite for President, Mike Huckabee became the latest to drop out of the field for 2012.  After a lot of speculation from supporters, close insiders, and political analyst Mike cleared the air on Fox.  “All the factors say go, but my heart says no,” said Mike from his Fox show Saturday evening.  The end came after a reported ten emails went out saying he would make his decision known Saturday night.  Some hoped for Mike to make the announcement on live television much like a famous Republican California Governor did a few years back.  Sadly for supporters though the expected fanfare and “I like Mike” posters and stickers will have to go to the back burner for now.  What supporters can hope for now is that Mike is playing the “wait” card much like another Arkansas Governor did back in the 1980’s.  Many supporters wanted that governor to run against George Bush, Sr. in the late 1980’s.  That Arkansas Governor chose to wait and run when the odds were better for a win rather than take on a vice-president supported by Ronald Reagan, arguably the most popular President of the last century. 

There are still going to be those sitting on the sideline though scratching their heads and saying, “Why not run now?”  After all, the country is an economic disaster zone, there is a war on terror still going on, health care is a potential mess, the current President is not as popular as he once was among voters, and the growing Patriots,  and Tea Party groups do not support him.  It would appear that a Republican Presidential potential would have huge amounts of support to win the White House.  However, those wanting Mike to run forget a basic rule of politics, “Voters have a six month memory.”  It’s a fact and if you don’t believe it ask former President George Bush, Sr.   President Bush saw the fall of the Berlin Wall, the fall of Communism, and he oversaw one of the most successful war efforts since World War II with the Gulf War.  Those events all occurred early in President Bush’s term.  By the end of his term the economy was bad, gas prices were higher, and food prices were jumping out of the consumer’s grasp (remember the “how much does a loaf of bread cost” question?).  The end result was a successful President Bush became a one-term President.  Obama knows this.   Obama will do what the nation considers to be his best work during the last year of his term as President.  Voters will see this and they will not look back at the mess of health care and all the other things that Republicans, Tea Party Groups, and Patriot Groups have been yelling about since 2009.  For the American voters it will appear that Obama is doing a fine job by the time it is time to go and vote.  Obama knows this, but more importantly to the Republican supporters of Mike Huckabee, Mike also knows about this potential factor. 

Make no mistake about Mike.  He is still a future candidate for the Republican Party.  He will continue in the eyes of the nation on Fox News, he will continue to attack the radical, country destroying ideas of the Obama Administration, and he will watch.  When the time is right, and the nation is ready again, he can step up to the line and run, but he must run when he can win.  Running for President is a strategic battle that must be fought on a timely basis.  We need a Mike Huckabee in the White House.  We need him desperately, but he is no good to our nation if he runs against an Obama political machine backed by nearly a billion dollars, a television station (remember the 24-7 shows against McCain?), and a voter view of the past six months to only become another Republican casualty in 2012.  As for me, I’ll put my “I like Mike” signs up and wait with Mike.

May 1, 2011

President Bush comments on Bin Laden 5-1-11

Earlier this evening, President Obama called to inform me that American forces killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of the al Qaeda network that attacked America on September 11, 2001.  I congratulated him and the men and women of our military and intelligence communities who devoted their lives to this mission.  They have our everlasting gratitude.  This momentous achievement marks a victory for America, for people who seek peace around the world, and for all those who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001.  The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message:  No matter how long it takes, justice will be done.

Apr 1, 2011

Arkansas House Commentary: Representative Prissy Hickerson

(provided by Representative Mary "Prissy" Hickerson)
Entering the fourth quarter of the session meant two-a-days for lawmakers, with the House convening twice a day and legislative committees holding multiple daily meetings. Cruising full speed ahead, members passed a bill Monday to decrease voter fraud and ensure fair elections. The measure requires Arkansans to present a voter ID card when casting a ballot at the polls, and would allow county clerks to issue identification cards to individuals without driver’s licenses. House Bill 1797 is currently en route to the Senate for consideration.
Arkansas owes $330 million in unemployment benefits to the federal government. In order to responsibly address this debt, we passed a bill to place a cap on unemployment benefits and cut the benefit period by a week. The measure could potentially save our state $50 to $75 million annually, thus shoring up money to begin balancing our unemployment trust fund.
Around four hundred Arkansans gathered this week to protest several bills threatening the livelihood of our state’s natural gas industry.  The five measures would have imposed burdensome regulations on an industry that provides jobs for Arkansans and revenue for our state. After mounting opposition from conservative lawmakers and hundreds of citizens, one bill failed to pass the House Agriculture, Forestry and Economic Development Committee, while the remaining four were successfully removed from consideration and sent to interim study.
A proposed congressional redistricting map made its way through the House State Agencies Committee this week. Dubbed the “Pig Trail Gerrymander” or the “Fayetteville Finger” for its suspicious meandering, creative carvings and raw partisanship, the redistricting proposal ruffled plenty of feathers during week eleven of the 88th General Assembly.  If you have not seen this map, please take a look at it.  You will be amazed and puzzled.      
Conservative legislators believe the proposed map ignores the traditional communities of interest in Arkansas and only exists for raw partisan purposes.  Most notably it puts the northwest city of Fayetteville into the fourth congressional district, which currently encompasses the southern region of our state.  Arkansas has four defined regions, the Ozarks, Northeast Delta, Central Arkansas and Southern Timberlands. The full House is expected to vote on the “Pig Trail Gerrymander” early next week, and I will be voting against this proposal. You can view the map at www.arkansasgop.org.
HB1902 is now on its way to the Governor for signing.  This bill will refer to voters a 5 cent diesel tax proposal which would be used to enhance existing bonds.  Also the House passed a resolution this week that would refer to Arkansas voters a constitutional amendment creating a half-cent temporary sales tax increase to fund construction of a four-lane highway system. This proposal is one of several constitutional amendments being considered by the Legislature. The General Assembly has the authority to refer up to three measures to the people in the 2012 general election. I supported both of these measures because they allow the voters to decide whether they want these tax increases.
Also passing the House this week was HB1958 which removes a ban on carrying concealed guns into churches, allowing churches to make their own policy on this issue.  I voted yes to this bill.
A bill to implement the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in Arkansas failed in the House Insurance and Commerce Committee Friday, falling short of eleven votes needed to pass.  House Bill 2138 would have established insurance exchanges necessary to the implementation of the healthcare law. More than half the states, 28 and counting, are challenging the law in court on the grounds it violates the constitutional rights of their citizens. The argument is that until we know how the Supreme Court will rule on the federal healthcare law, we do not need to spend more money implementing the law in Arkansas.
House members also approved a bill that would allow public schools to adopt curriculum standards to teach the Bible for academic significance. The measure, which passed our chamber with a vote of 71-16, now goes to the Senate for consideration. I missed this vote because I stepped out of the chamber to talk to someone about a pending bill.  I assumed the debate inside would go on longer than it did.  My vote would have been yes. Now I know never to assume! For this freshman legislator, lesson learned.
Finally, the House and Senate gave final approval to tax cut measures.  SB276 shaves another half cent off the grocery tax, SB275 reduces the tax that manufacturers pay on utilities, HB1369 creates a back to school sales tax holiday during the first weekend in August and SB274 exempts from sales tax cars costing up to $4,000.  These measures have all been sent to the Governor’s office for signing into law.
What to watch for:
Two pro-life Senate bills are headed to the Arkansas House for consideration. As a pro-life conservative, I intend to support these bills.
The congressional redistricting debate is sure to be contentious. Stay tuned for the final results. 
The final significant piece of legislation lawmakers will approve before the session’s end is the budget bill, also known as the Revenue Stabilization Act. Because we held the line on spending to reduce taxes for Arkansans, the final balanced budget will be much smaller than originally proposed.
Since January 10, House members have tackled hundreds of critical pieces of legislation, and with just days to go until our scheduled April 1 recess, I will work to protect your values and move our state forward.
As your Representative, I am honored to serve you in the Arkansas House of Representatives. Please contact me with any questions or concerns you may have. My email is phickerson@valornet.com.  
I also encourage you to visit www.arkansashouse.org where you can live stream committee meetings and proceedings happening on the House floor from anywhere in the state. 

Mar 21, 2011

Legislative Update From Mary "Prissy" Hickerson


(Note: Mary Hickerson's report is provided from Little Rock, Arkansas to the Texarkana GOP and our readers.  Thank you Prissy for this update!)
Highway funding, transparency and tax reform were the issues during week nine of the 88th General Assembly. With less than one month until adjournment, House members kicked it up a notch, moving much more quickly and covering twice as many pieces of legislation. 
Meeting the deadline to file bills this session, lawmakers in the Arkansas House stirred over 300 new bills into the pot by Monday afternoon.  Since the legislative session commenced in January, 2,235 bills, resolutions and appropriations have been filed in the House and Senate.  Out of those, 1,231 were filed by House members.
Streamlining state government begins with increasing transparency, which is why on Tuesday the full House voted 87 to 6 in favor of Senate Bill 221, the Arkansas Financial Transparency Act.  When signed into law, the bill will establish an online database to track state spending. You deserve to know how your tax dollars are being spent and I am proud to have voted in favor of giving you access to the state checkbook.
“Lignite” is the new buzzword this session, as lawmakers and elected officials discuss avenues to spur job creation in the state. Midweek, we passed a House resolution to support a study of lignite mining and the funding of lignite research. Lignite is a type of brown coal that is abundant in South Arkansas.  By responsibly exploring this industry, we have the potential to create much-needed jobs and grow our state economy.  I voted for this resolution because I feel it is so important to Arkansas.
The full House passed a bill Wednesday to require any suspect arrested for rape to submit a DNA sample. The measure amends “Juli’s Law” which already requires DNA samples for other violent crime offenders. We also passed a bill to create an investment tax credit for rehabilitation and development projects in business-improvement districts. Both measures are headed to the Senate for consideration. 
Unfortunately for the Arkansas House, on Wednesday, Democrat members on the Senate Public Health Committee blocked Senate Bill 709, the Healthcare Reform Accountability Act, from reaching the Senate floor and House chamber. The measure would require state agencies to report the financial impact of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to the Legislature upon implementation. I believe this bill would have protected the integrity of our General Assembly and citizens who deserve to know how the federal healthcare law will be implemented in our state. 
Legislators in the House approved a measure that would ask voters if they want to raise the tax on diesel to increase funding for our state’s road system. House Bill 1902 proposes a 5-cent diesel tax increase to finance improvements on interstate highways. This proposal is part of a larger plan that includes a bill to also ask voters if they want to approve a half-cent sales tax increase for the funding of four-lane highways. I voted for this bill because, even though it increases taxes on diesel fuel, it will be at the will of the voters.  And the Arkansas Trucking Association, whose members will bear the cost of the tax, are fully in support of the issue.  They recognize that the interstates are getting in bad shape again and this causes problems for their trucks. The diesel tax increase will now move forward to the Senate for consideration.
Speaking of tax increases, a potential increase in the severance tax on natural gas is fueling debate among lawmakers and industry executives. From a potential citizen-led initiative to increase the severance tax on natural gas to a flat 7 percent to various pieces of tax and regulatory legislation affecting the industry, officials are growing concerned that such proposals may negatively impact the economic benefits of the natural gas industry.  As a result, on Thursday House and Senate members announced the formation of the Fayetteville Shale Play Caucus, which aims to protect natural gas exploration in the state.
 On a side issue, I had a Texarkana resident ask me why I voted against HB1873.  This bill would mandate that employers allow their employees to keep their licensed weapons in their vehicles while the vehicles are parked at the work site parking lot.  While I am a strong proponent of the right to keep and bear arms, it should not trample on the rights of others.  I agree that a vehicle is personal property and you should be able to keep a gun in your vehicle, but I believe that employers also have the right to make policy for their workplace and their property.  A bill is floating around with this same language for churches.  If it comes before the House, I will vote no because I do not believe the state has any right to impose such a law on churches.  Those decisions rightfully belong with the church congregations. Let me know how you feel on this issue or any other issue that is pending.
As your Representative, I am honored to serve you in the Arkansas House of Representatives. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns you may have. My email is phickerson@valornet.com.
I also encourage you to visit www.arkansashouse.org where you can live stream committee meetings and proceedings happening on the House floor from anywhere in the state. 

Mar 15, 2011

Newsy.com's Report on Palin and the GOP

I received an email today from Mr. Soto, Jr. with the Newsy.com site.  He had read an article here and contacted me with a link (see below).  The video deals with the possibility that Sarah Palin may be the front-runner for the GOP in 2012.  His site draws on several news sources to make an informed commentary about issues.

Please visit:

Palin and the GOP


(our thanks to Mr. Joey Soto, Jr. for this link and information)

Mar 13, 2011

What if there never was a Republican Party?


Some people would be perfectly content if the Republican Party never existed. Well, it's time to take a cold hard look at what would not have been had the party never existed. In this case, assuming the party never existed, then here is a list of things that would still be in place or never exist:

Slavery – The Republican Party was formed against slavery. If there had never been a Republican Party, then we would still have slavery.

Women's Rights – Forget having the right to work, vote, or even have a woman's voice heard in a legal case. Don't even think of going to college, making money or having any rights in a divorce. Without Republican Party support, women's rights would have never occurred.

Civil Rights – In the first place there would have been no reason for Civil Rights since Slavery would still be in use. Even if by some unknown reason slavery had been abolished without the Republican's work, then Civil Rights would have failed. Democrats argued against Civil Rights. Al Gore, Sr. (that's right Al Gore's dad) was one of the biggest opponents to Civil Rights. Eisenhower (a Republican President) would have never been President and therefore would have never sent the U.S. Army to Little Rock to force a Democrat Governor to allow African American Children to attend public school. There would have been no Civil Rights and certainly no equal education. It should be no surprise that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a registered Republican.

Clean Air – Take a deep breath and enjoy. While both Democrats and Republicans have been for and against legislation to keep our environment clean, it was Republican President Nixon who first pushed for and signed the first Clean Air Act into law. This started the work that is still being done for our environment today. Without Republicans, say goodbye to that fresh air!

Interstate Highways- Take your car down an old highway at 55 mph and then drop to 25-30 mph for each small town along the route. Do this from places like Little Rock to Dallas and see how long it takes you to get there because without a Republican President (Eisenhower again) those interstate highways would still be a thing of science fiction.

African American's Right to Vote – Considering that without Republicans African Americans would still be in slavery, it's almost a mute point, but without Republicans, in 1869 African Americans would have never received the right to vote.

Hawaii – love going to Hawaii without a passport? You can forget that since the Republicans pushed for Hawaii to become part of the United States. Without Republicans you would enjoy Hawaii just like taking a trip to any other country.

NASA – While the current Democrats seem intent on destroying the space program, it was a Republican idea and push that started the program thus allowing a later administration under John Kennedy to push for the moon. No more space shuttle, no more space exploration without Republicans.

African American Governors – Republicans sponsored and helped elect the first African American Governor. Without Republicans, this never would have happened.

Hispanics in Government – At some point it would have happened due to population changes, but Republicans had the first Hispanic U.S. Senator and President Reagan had the first Hispanic member of a Presidential Cabinet. No Republicans, likely a different outlook on Hispanics in government.

Japanese American Concentration Camps – It sounds bad, but the fact is the United States locked our own Japanese people, U.S. Citizens, in what was considered concentration camps during World War Two. It was claimed to be for their protection and for the protection of the United States. It took a Republican President to sign an order to release the remaining 120,000 Japanese Americans in those camps (Eisenhower who wasn't elected until 1953!).

The impressive list of accomplishments by the Republican Party and it's leaders goes on and on. Had there never been a Republican Party, it is very likely that many people, women, African Americans, Japanese Americans, and Hispanics to name a few would have never enjoyed the rights our government must provide to them today. There is a common theme on some Republican websites that says “Republican for a Reason,” but in truth most Republicans have been “Republicans with a reason”. At this pivotal time in history, the Republican Party stands ready again to defend American's and their rights because we are Republicans with a reason.

Mar 7, 2011

Texarkana Gazette Targeting Judge Larry Burgess?


Larry Burgess ran his campaign with a promise to get away from the “good old boy” politics, and the “business as usual” attitudes that he saw as a major problem for Miller County.  He ran with support of the Miller County Patriots and the Miller County Republican Committee.  He also ran with the support of the majority of the Miller County voters. 

On Sunday March 6th, the Texarkana Gazette ran an article called “Grave Concern”.  The article focused on the fact that Judge Burgess could not dig graves for people unable to afford them with county money.  Burgess lived up to the campaign promise he had made to use county money as it should be.  He is supported by laws, and common sense (the view the county might have to repair damage to other graves).  Simply put, Judge Burgess not only lived up to his campaign promise, but he also demonstrated that he is not willing to let his office act outside the law.  The Gazette gave front-page coverage to the policy and wrote a title that almost sounds like it is against Burgess.  “Grave Concern” is a unique twist on words that could be taken negatively.  The article goes on to say that the preparation of graves by the county has been being done for years.  The implication is that poor Judge Burgess isn’t going to play along with business as usual…Big surprise, Judge Burgess again is following up on his campaign promise.  He is going to do things by the law.

It was interesting to find Judge Burgess’ name once again thrown into the spotlight with Monday’s edition of the Gazette (yes, the 7th) with the headline “Smith Park caretakers evicted:  County Judge Burgess says health problems to blame.”  Some figures state that around 44% of people only read a newspaper headines.  If that figure is true, then 44% of Burgess’ voting public is going to see that Judge Burgess evicted the caretakers due to health problems.  Since most people at least look at the pictures, the readers are then going to see an elderly couple standing on the front porch of the home at Smith Park.   The article goes on to capitalize on the fact that John Feutral is 74 and his wife, Hazel, is 72.  To inflict more for the reader, it is noted that they have lived in the park since 1992.  After the initial shots are fired at Burgess, the article does include the fact that the county has paid for the house, utilities, and that the Quorum Court actually discussed it.  The article appears to indicate that the Quorum Court was unable or unwilling to evict and that Burgess “announced the eviction during a recent Quorum Court meeting.”

When reading these articles, apparently taking aim at Judge Burgess, a few things need to be kept in mind.  First, Judge Burgess is doing exactly what he said he would do.  He is not playing “good old boys” politics, and he is protecting county money and interest.  The law clearly does not allow the county to dig graves.  It can be amended, but as it is currently written, Judge Burgess is doing the right thing.   By not digging graves, he is following the law and possibly saving the county from a potential lawsuit if the county caused damage to other graves.   The Feutral’s have lived rent free with their utilities paid by the county for nineteen years, and on top of this they get another sixty days before they need to leave.  In the real business world, when an employee is no longer able to perform his or her duty, the company lets them go.  In most cases the company does not give a sixty-day notice, and in most cases rent and utilities is not part of the employee benefit package.  The fact is the Feutrals have enjoyed a benefit that few other Miller County residents have had at the expense of the county. 

Instead of making it appear that Judge Burgess is being heartless and uncaring, the Texarkana Gazette should consider the fact that he is doing exactly what he promised voters.  By trying to introduce ways the county can help with graves and by working with the Feutrals Burgess has shown that not only is he going to follow the law and his promises, but he also has a compassionate side and wants to work with people.  Burgess should be cheered for his efforts and Miller County should back him one hundred percent.

Mar 6, 2011

Beth Anne Rankin Still Matters


 A lot of politicians fade out of the limelight once they are defeated in an election.  Unless you are an ex-President, you are regulated to the “graveyard of politicians” at the end of election night.  The world is full of people who can boast that they once ran for this office or for that office, but ultimately nobody likes to be associated with the one who lost.  This is not the case with Beth Anne Rankin.  She is currently being booked as the guest speaker for countless Lincoln Day Dinners and other events in Arkansas.

Beth Anne carried a charm and a fighting spirit into the election with Mike Ross that few people have seen in the fourth district of Arkansas in years.  She had the charm that instantly made you like her because she listened to what you had to say, commented on it, and even incorporated it into her drive for the election.  She had a fighting spirit that refused to give up.  She refused to accept the odds were against her, the money was against her, and the political machine of Mike Ross was intent on crushing her to the point of even resorting to lies.  What Mike Ross and the rest of the Democratic Party did not realize as they pounded the feisty red head in the final stretch of election night was that they were in essence creating a hero for the Republican Party.  On election night Beth Anne Rankin became the Republican Party’s “Rocky”. 

Beth Anne Rankin took on the champ and she went the distance.  Much like the fictional Rocky, few people in the initial start of the fight expected Beth Anne to do much.  However, as each round of the battle went on, the chant grew steadily from “Ross, Ross, Ross, “to” Rankin, Rankin, Rankin.”  Political power figures such as Mike Huckabee, and Dick Morris started coming out of the woodwork and endorsing Rankin.  The chant and drive so threatened the political machine of Ross that the campaign began to follow Rankin around and film her speeches, publish lies, and slander her anyway they felt would topple the red-headed fire engine from south-Arkansas.  Unfortunately for Ross, each time he knocked Rankin to the mat, she simply climbed back up before a ten count could be issued and fought back. 

In the end Rankin went down on election night swinging until the final count was brought in to the state offices.  Ross emerged still the winner and still in control as one of the only Democratic survivors of the night for Arkansas.  He was heading back to Washington.  Unfortunately for Ross, the damage Rankin did on election night and during the campaign may be irreversible for the entrenched Democrat.

There is one important lesson that Mike Ross should carry away with his victory over Rankin.  American’s love sequels and they love the underdog.  By knocking Beth Anne down now and winning, Ross may well have propelled her into the next battle.  Remember, there was a “Rocky II” and in case Ross doesn’t remember what happened in that movie, the Republicans will give you a hint…Rocky won the second time around.

Feb 10, 2011

Texarkana Lignite Development Meeting


Texarkana residents invited to lignite development meeting
MAGNOLIA — Texarkana-area residents are being invited to a town meeting to discuss the potential of promoting and developing the mining of lignite in Arkansas. The meeting is being hosted by State Representative Mary P. “Prissy” Hickerson and the Natural Resource Research Center at Southern Arkansas University.
            The Southwest Arkansas Community Forum on Lignite Exploration and Mining will be held Friday, February 18, at the Southwest Arkansas Electric Cooperative - REA Building, 2904 East 9th Street (Hwy 82 East), Texarkana. Presenters for the meeting will include Dr. Tim Schroeder of the Natural Resource Research Center, State Representative Garry Smith of Camden, and Richard Wilson of the Bureau of Legislative Research. The program will last about one hour.
            Also attending the meeting will be Arkansas Lt. Governor Mark Darr, State Senators Steve Harrelson and Larry Teague, and State Representatives Lane Jean, Larry Cowling, Nate Steel, David “Bubba” Powers, and Randy Stewart.
            South Arkansas has approximately nine billion tons of lignite resources that remain unexplored and undeveloped. In 2007, the Arkansas General Assembly approved the Arkansas Lignite Resources Pilot Program, directing the Arkansas Economic Development Commission to work with SAU and the Arkansas Geological Survey in developing and promoting Arkansas lignite for economic purposes. Surrounding states including Texas, Mississippi, and Louisiana are already reaping dividends from lignite development.
            “With a firm commitment to the use of clean coal technology and the most advanced and environmentally friendly practices available, the lignite process could result in tremendous economic benefit for Arkansas, as well as having the potential for significant impact on energy security in the United States,” Smith said.
            The scheduled town meeting will provide an opportunity for the public to hear of the potential economic benefits to south Arkansas. Financial, geological, and environmental information related to the production of crude oil from lignite will be provided to those who attend.
            All area legislators and community leaders have been invited. The meeting is open to the public, and everyone is invited to attend.
            For more information, contact Hickerson at (870) 773-1603.
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State Representative Mary "Prissy" Hickerson provided this press release.

Feb 9, 2011

We The People: A Reminder

America’s future is uncertain.  It’s a fact that can not be denied or hidden any longer.  The United States was once the greatest nation ever conceived on the face of the Earth.  By 1976, just two hundred years into our nation’s history, we had defeated the nations of our time.  The British Empire had failed to hold us down twice, the French had failed to defeat us, the Ottoman Empire and its allies had failed, Nazi Germany and its allies had failed and even an internal Civil War had failed to destroy us.  We had reached out through exploration from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific and even to the moon.  The original thirteen colonies had grown to fifty individual and thriving states.  In 1976 we stood on the verge of a military and economic build up that would force the collapse of the Soviet Union.  We embodied what other nations wanted to be and wanted to have as a nation.

Unfortunately, something went wrong along the way.  We as Americans stumbled and became afraid.  We became afraid of the type of hard work that built this nation.  We became afraid of independence.  We became afraid of business.  We became afraid of everything.  In the end, we started to look to our government to cure our problems.  We looked to the government to save our financial institutions, we looked to them to fix our medical institutions, we looked to them to fix our economy, and we looked to them to tell us what to do and when to do it.  We, simply put, lost our ability to make our own way.

Fortunately for America since the mid 1800’s there has been one group willing to stand up for Americans.  That group has believed in smaller government and greater independence.  The list for the Republicans is impressive and long.  When someone considers what all Republicans have stood for and stood against, you can not help but wonder at what the future holds for them and for America.  Republicans stood against slavery, they stood against the division of the union, they stood for African-American’s right to vote, they stood for women’s right to vote, they stood for Civil Rights, they stood against the Soviet Union, and they have stood against the government solving all our problems.  Republicans have understood one thing that many others have forgotten.  Republicans have understood that a short paper, located behind protective glass in Washington reads three of the most important words ever written for this nation.  These words should be the foundation for all government and all functions of business, economy, and daily life to occur within the boundaries of the Untied States.  Three simple words convey a message that must be conveyed again and again to each generation: “We the people”. 

It is now time to stand up and remind America that the United States is a union of the three words “We the people”.  These words do not sound out “We the government,” they do not sound out “We the other countries,” and they do not sound out “We the dependent.”  These words are the words of independence, unity, and force that forged this nation into the greatest nation on the face of the Earth.   The words are boldly printed and they make the future as clear now as it was when they were written.  “We the people” must take back control of our government.  “We the people” must cut our dependence of foreign countries.  “We the people” must rebuild our economy.  “We the people” must demand business return to our homeland.  “We the people” must demand accountability from all leaders. 

It is once again time for Republicans to stand as we have stood so many times in the past.  If we do not stand now, there will be no future generations studying what our Republican generation did.  The future generations will not know the words “We the people”.  Now is your time.   There is a herd coming and you are either with us or against us, but we will not allow our nation to fall.  Join the herd, or get out of the way.  After all, when “We the people” start to move, you will find that you can’t stop a herd of elephants with a mission to save America again.