Arkansas Politics Blog

On this Week-In-Review, we put Arkansas's congressional delegation in the spotlight as Trump ignores the state's agricultural interests on his newly announced Cuba policies. Also, Sen. Tom Cotton dismisses Russia collusion and  Sen. Boozman is short on healthcare specifics.

-Elections were held throughout Arkansas this week: Pulaski County votes to send more money to schools; Pine Bluff takes a stab at revitalization; and Helena-West Helena makes an effort to pare down its sprawling city council.

GOP presidential primary frontrunner Donald Trump.
Charlie Neibergall/ AP

The interests of Arkansas’s agricultural leaders went unheralded by President Trump on Friday as he announced a move back toward Cold War relations with our Caribbean neighbor, Cuba. Much of the state’s Congressional delegation has also chimed in on the prospect of tougher relations as a move in the wrong direction.

The Arkansas Farm Bureau wants a “normalization” of trade relations with the communist nation and promises it’ll be an economic boon for the state. Arkansas is the largest cultivator of rice in the nation and not far behind that in poultry production.

Libertarian Party of Arkansas Chair Michael Pakko.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

The Libertarian Party of Arkansas submitted over 15,000 signatures on Monday to the Secretary of State’s office to try and qualify to be a new political party -- for the fourth election cycle in a row. The state has 30 days to certify at least 10,000 of the signatures are from registered Arkansas voters.

All Eyes On Comey

Jun 9, 2017

The widely anticipated public testimony from fired former FBI Director James Comey spurs a political response in Arkansas. As Republican U.S. Senator Tom Cotton dines with the president, state Democrats chime in a critique of their across-the-aisle foes’ relationship with the Russia investigations.

Also on the program:

-Applications for Medical Marijuana retail and grow centers are about to roll in. We check in with the soon-to-be state pot industry.

-Neo-Nazis to rally in Batesville; 10 Commandments go up at the Capitol; and will state highways get a boost under ballot measure? A look at some other state political headlines.

-How did Sexism play into the 2016 presidential election. A poll from the University of Arkansas give us an answer.

Questions posed by the lone Arkansan sitting on the Senate Intelligence Committee to former FBI Director James Comey on Thursday produced little information that could be publicly disclosed. Arkansas’s Junior U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton was one of more than a dozen Senators to question Comey, who made his first public appearance since President Donald Trump fired him.

Arkansas Republicans are roundly cheering President Trump's decision to join forces with Syria and withdraw from a worldwide climate change accord. Mayors in Little Rock and Fayetteville take a different tone and pledge to keep the course set under the previous administration.

The podcast also delves into the first movement in the 2018 U.S. House race in central Arkansas. Paul Spencer launched an exploratory committee as a Democrat and Natashia Burch Hulsey prepares for an independent bid.

Natashia Burch Hulsey is launching an exploratory committee to run as Independent in the 2018 election for Arkansas's 2nd District U.S. House seat.
Natashia Burch Hulsey Campaign

There’s another possible entrant into the 2018 Congressional race in central Arkansas. Natashia Burch Hulsey tells KUAR she plans to submit paperwork with the Secretary of State’s office Thursday afternoon, to launch an exploratory committee as an Independent.

Earlier this week, Paul Spencer began preparing for a bid as a Democrat to unseat Republican incumbent French Hill.

Paul Spencer (D) filed paperwork for an exploratory committee on the 2018 U.S. House seat.
Stephanie Spencer

A Democrat has launched an exploratory committee for the race for central Arkansas’s congressional seat which has been held by a Republican since 2011. Paul Spencer, a 50-year old pecan farmer, beekeeper, and long-time teacher at Catholic High School filed paperwork Wednesday afternoon in preparation for the election. Republican U.S. Representative French Hill is in his second term.  

On this week's podcast we take a look at what President Trump's first budget proposal could mean for the poor state of Arkansas. Analysis from political scientist Heather Yates of UCA and reaction from the state's Congressional delegation.

The KUAR News crew also takes a look at:

- A new task force on tax policy is off and running in the Arkansas Legislature. Tax cuts for the wealthy is the goal of some but at what cost? Is there a will to pay for it by cutting existing exemptions?

U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-Ark.)
C-SPAN

U.S. Senator John Boozman is applauding President Trump’s immigration enforcement budget proposals, but is cautioning that other parts of the Homeland Security budget are “unworkable.” The Republican senator convened his first meeting as chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security on Thursday.

Boozman praised increases in spending for border patrol agents and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Pages