Roby Brock / Talk Business & Politics

Roby Brock is the Editor-in-Chief and Host of Talk Business & Politics.

He can be reached by e-mail at: Roby@TalkBusiness.net.

Follow him on Twitter: @RobyBrock.

Senate President Jonathan Dismang and Speaker of the House Jeremy Gillam say initial responses to the governor’s health care reforms and newly submitted budget may lead to tweaks versus radical changes.

Appearing on this week’s edition of Talk Business & Politics, Gillam, R-Judsonia, and Dismang, R-Searcy, said they are waiting on language from the governor’s office for legislation to be drafted, but expect “no mysteries” after a year’s worth of task force debate.

Ted Cruz
Talk Business & Politics

Texas Senator Ted Cruz said the GOP Presidential field might well be a two-man race between Donald Trump and himself after Tuesday’s SEC primaries and that contender Marco Rubio should consider leaving the race if he doesn’t win a state in the upcoming 12-state primary.

Cruz, who is in Arkansas campaigning in central and Northwest Arkansas this weekend, says he’s a “proven conservative” whose policies will best contrast with Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton in the fall.

Ted Cruz Donald Trump
Carolyn Kaster/AP/npr.org

The Presidential campaign continues to stir activity across Arkansas with less than a week before the primary election. On the heels of Marco Rubio's visit to Little Rock Sunday, Donald Trump, who has been to the state twice for events, plans to speak at noon on Saturday at the regional airport in Bentonville. Ted Cruz, whose campaign says he has been here five times, is expected to attend church in Northwest Arkansas, then attend a rally in central Arkansas.

THE ANTI-TRUMP EFFORT

Bruce Westerman
Talk Business & Politics

U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman, R-Hot Springs, says the Fourth Congressional District could benefit greatly from increased trade with Taiwan. He also says he may walk into the voting booth for the primary election with his mind not made up on a Presidential pick.

Westerman, who appeared on this week’s edition of Talk Business & Politics, said Taiwan is Arkansas’ 6th largest trading partner, but agriculture and timber opportunities could boost trade.

U.S. Sen. John Boozman (R) at Little Rock's VA Hospital
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Incumbent U.S. Sen. John Boozman. R-Ark., has a commanding 45-point lead over his Republican challenger Curtis Coleman, while Democratic voters are positive – but still undecided – on their attitudes toward Senate challenger Conner Eldridge.

New polling from Talk Business & Politics and Hendrix College indicates that Boozman will easily win his party’s nomination in the upcoming March 1 primary.

Q: There are two Republican candidates for U.S. Senate: Curtis Coleman and Senator John Boozman. If the election were today, for whom would you vote?

With about three weeks until Arkansas’ March 1 primary, Presidential contender Hillary Clinton has a commanding lead over Democratic challenger Bernie Sanders, and Ted Cruz has a slight lead in a crowded GOP field.

Talk Business & Politics

Gov. Asa Hutchinson said his highway funding plan will work without raising taxes by finding government efficiencies and continuing with the state’s Medicaid expansion. Without those planks, Hutchinson says tax increases will enter the debate.

TalkBusiness.net

State Surgeon General Dr. Greg Bledsoe and Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace Director Cheryl Gardner say two numbers and federal flexibility will dictate reforms to Arkansas’ health care future: 1332 and 1115.

Mike Preston
Talk Business & Politics

Fresh off his 8-day trip to Japan and China, AEDC executive director Mike Preston said the announcement of a $1.36 billion agreement with Sun Paper Co. will not likely result in the need for a legislative “superproject” special session.

“I think we have a very aggressive incentive package on the table,” Preston said. “There’s still some negotiations to go, but I don’t think we’ll have to go to the legislature.”

Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) has signed a “letter of intent on investment cooperation” with Chinese-based Shandong Sun Paper Industry Joint Stock Co. to pursue a $1.3 billion pulp mill to be located in south Arkansas.

In attendance at the signing ceremony were U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, Gov. Hutchinson, Chairman and Founder of Sun Paper Co. Hongxin Li, Arkansas Economic Development Director Mike Preston, and U.S. Consulate General Charles Bennett.

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