On Monday, Arkansas’s Governor held what amounts to a dog and pony show in the State Capitol, over a work requirement plan that could jeopardize basic health care for tens of thousands of vulnerable Arkansans. Our state deserves better.
I deeply oppose unnecessary burdens and unproven barriers to health care coverage. All Arkansans deserve quality affordable health care, regardless of income. Our state legislature must act to address the root causes of poverty and unemployment, rather than punishing those who need help the most.
The head of the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Seema Verma, flew from Washington, D.C. to Little Rock at taxpayer expense to sign off on the Republicans’ plan to add a Work Requirement for hundreds of thousands of low-income Arkansans who rely on our state’s Medicaid expansion to get the health care they need for themselves and their families. Many of these are struggling parents who currently work but do not get paid a living wage and have no other options. Arkansas is only the third state in the nation to get permission from the Trump administration for a work requirement, and would be the first to implement it.
Limited Evidence of Success
Experts say there is limited evidence that these controversial work requirements actually succeed in improving health outcomes. It is concerning when the Governor states, “We did not want to wait on a full analysis… we wanted to get this work requirement in place.” He continued, the provision “… is a work in progress.”
Oftentimes, things that sound simple, like requiring someone to work to receive Medicaid, can have major unintended consequences for people who need relief the most. For example, working people would be required to fill out time-consuming paperwork on a monthly basis. Arkansans with disabilities would be forced to prove their tax exempt status every two months. If the person fails to meet the requirements for three months, he or she will lose coverage the rest of the calendar year. This is the longest lockout period the Trump administration has approved to date.
Lowered Eligibility Still Looming
The Trump administration is still reviewing an even more controversial part of the Governor’s plan. That would lower the income eligibility from 138% of the federal poverty level to 100%. That’s just $12,140 for a single person or $25,100 for a family of four. I doubt the Governor could live on that income. But now imagine a person who is medically frail trying to live on it.
Arkansas Deserves Better
Once again, I deeply oppose this and Arkansans deserve better. District 86 deserves a state legislator who will act to address the root causes of poverty and unemployment, rather than punishing those who need help the most. These are my values and what I will work to do as your legislator.
We received a sobering, major update about guns on campus this afternoon at the Town & Gown Committee, which works on issues that affect the City of Fayetteville & the University of Arkansas:
Today we learned that the first batch of applicants has completed the Enhanced Concealed Carry training under Arkansas State Police guidelines. These individuals are now licensed to carry guns on college campuses, including the U of A. They may be packing heat right next to you, right now. The gun only has to be within arm’s length, not holstered. It could be in a purse or backpack. They don’t have to reveal they’re carrying, even if you ask.
The legislation was passed last year over the objection of the city, the university, employees, students, police, and just about everybody else involved. Today’s news also gives new urgency to a major flaw in the legislation – it allows students to carry those weapons into their dorm rooms, but doesn’t allow them to store them safely anywhere.
I oppose guns on campus, except with trained law enforcement officers. I believe this is a bad law that will cause more problems than it solves.
In the wake of this deeply flawed piece of legislation, I am calling for us to give local control back to universities and cities, to make their own decisions regarding guns on campus and other issues. We must also finally move forward with long-stalled common sense gun safety laws, such as closing background check loopholes and restrictions on military grade assault rifles. This is not an issue that only one specific law will solve. I will fight for that as your legislator.
This is a terrible idea.
For one, it places the burden of distribution on state governments, including Arkansas. The most efficient way to distribute food to people is through existing channels. Companies like Walmart and Harps spend big bucks perfecting their logistics and delivery systems, and Arkansas would have to create something like that from scratch.
How would boxes be delivered to migrant workers, transient and homeless? How would they be delivered to remote rural communities? What about people with special dietary requirements including food allergies? The boxes wouldn’t even include fresh fruits or vegetables. The program would keep SNAP dollars out of local Farmers Markets, like the one right here Fayetteville.
Food Research and Action Center, a prominent non-profit group, said the harvest box would be, “costly, inefficient, stigmatizing and prone to failure.” I agree with them.
Meanwhile, our local congressman, Steve Womack, who is now the House GOP Budget Committee chair, has maligned SNAP recipients as people who “stay on the couch, eat their potato chips”. You can see where their mindset is.
Just say no to the Trump budget, and to his GOP allies in our state government. I believe my years of experience working on local government budgets here in Fayetteville, which have used your tax money wisely, makes me the right candidate to represent you in our state legislature.
Did this headline make you uncomfortable? “Sexual assault is not a big problem around here,” you say?
A recent survey of University of Arkansas students found 31% had been sexually assaulted since arriving on campus, but almost none of these assaults were reported to campus security or city law enforcement.
Sadly, we know that sexual assault is a serious problem on college campuses all around the country. This is wrong, and it must stop. Fayetteville is a city of firsts, and we have the opportunity to lead the way in ending sexual harassment and assault on college campuses and throughout our community.
When I served on the Safety Subcommittee of the Town and Gown Committee, we reviewed numbers reported to Fayetteville and University Police showing there were very few to no reported sexual assaults. I was concerned that these numbers weren’t telling the whole story. During my time as a Planned Parenthood Advisory Board member I learned that many victims are reluctant to report sexual harassment and assault for a variety of valid reasons. Now, we have the data to show that much more needs to be done to make our hometown safe.
As the #MeToo movement continues to empower assault survivors to speak out, I hope that more will be willing to seek justice with law enforcement. However, it is not just the responsibility of victims to speak out. As a community, we also have a responsibility. We must do all we can to stop assaults from happening in the first place, while making it easier for victims to report these crimes when they do happen.
I want Fayetteville to be one of the safest cities in the country. I want parents to feel confident that their children will be safe when they come here to receive an education. I want anyone who has suffered sexual assault, abuse or harassment to know that they are supported. I want predators to know that they will not be tolerated here.
That’s why I’m calling on the University, the City and community organizations to join me in building a coalition that will help prevent sex crimes and support survivors: Sexual Assault in Fayetteville Ends (SAFE).
The Arkansas legislature also has a duty to help end sexual harassment and violence. If I am elected to the House District 86 seat being vacated by Greg Leding, I will build on his efforts to address sexual assault on campus.
We’re excited to announce the great entertainers for the Mark Kinion for State Rep Campaign Kickoff Party! Join us at George’s Majestic Lounge at 2 PM Sunday, February 4th for Emily Rowland, Jesse Dean Rocks, & Phunbags Comedy Improv!
Emily Rowland is one half of musical duo Melody Pond. Her musical bandmate Candy Lee has her due date February 4th and so she will not be able to attend. We wish Candy the best on her upcoming baby! Emily will be performing solo, as she does often. Emily combines her love of musicals and harmonies with modern influences of folk, jazz, and blues to create an original sound both nostalgic and contemporary in nature. Combining her catchy and sugary sweet melodies with heartfelt, poignant, and largely autobiographical lyrics lends Rowland’s songwriting an honest and fresh style. Rowland’s upbringing singing in both choirs and bands gives her voice a unique ability to both blend and weave as part of a group or lead as a powerful vocalist. Rowland has performed with brother Josephus and the love revival revolution and has opened for Elephant Revival, Ben Miller Band, Amy Lavere, and the Lost Gonzo Band with Candy Lee and the Sweets (now Melody Pond). She and fellow songwriter Candy Lee have been singing together for the past 9 years and perform as the duo, Melody Pond.
Jesse Dean Rocks is a Winslow native recently named the Top Independent Label Rising Star. Jesse Dean’s blues-rock originals showcase soulful bass lines, muscular lead and rhythm guitar, vibrating riffs and sultry jams. They reflect a blend influences from Mark Knopfler and Gary Rossington to Bonnie Raitt, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Warren Haynes and Cake. His are edgy songs of the South, smooth and blue, soaked in the sounds of the delta, revved up Texas boogie, richly electric rough-hewn southern rock played solid and clean. Catch a preview of Jesse’s music at https://www.jessedeanrocks.com/
The emcees are Mike Thomas and Julie Gabel of Phunbags Comedy Improv. We literally cannot think of a better duo to keep the good times rolling!
We’ll be done in plenty of time for you to catch the Minnesota Super Bowl 2018 kickoff at 5:30 PM. What better way to get ready for the big game? It’s TWO kickoffs in one day!
We can’t wait to see you!
Check out the event and check in on Facebook!