September 6, 2019

WEEK IN REVIEW

ImageTo start off this week’s From the Front… I would like to thank all of the Arkansans who stopped by my Washington office during their visits to our nation’s capital, including Linda Hudler of Lowell, Jennifer Martin of Lowell, Stephanie and David Dale of Dover, Michael and Susan Lawrence of Bella Vista, Arthur and Marion Heath of Bella Vista, Vicki Thurber of Bella Vista, and Kevin Burnett of Bella Vista. Safe travels back to the Natural State!

It’s the last week of our more than month-long in-district work period. With Congress headed back to Washington on Monday, I made sure to make the most of my stops throughout Arkansas. From a town hall in Harrison and a military medal ceremony honoring a Fort Smith veteran, to touring farms in Decatur and visiting the Farmington Senior Activity and Wellness Center, it was wonderful to see Third District families, residents, businesses, and students!

ImageSchool is back in session, and it was great to visit Forest Heights Elementary in Harrison. I had the pleasure of meeting their 1st – 4th grade students during a special assembly, where we talked about the importance of education, behavior, health, and volunteering. It’s imperative to teach our kids to be effective leaders and coach them about the skills needed to succeed. Although they are young, I feel strongly that the skills and lessons they learn now will stay with them as they move through middle school, high school and beyond. Investing in our kids early on leads to the development of self-starters, problem-solvers, and students that take pride and responsibility in their schools and our community. I appreciated their inquisitive questions, which included “Why did you run for Congress,” “What do you do as a Congressman,” and “Why are there rules in school?” I told them that no matter what they do as they get older, I hope they will always remember my life motto: Lead by Example; Lead From the Front! A big thank you to Principal Mark Ditmanson and all of the school teachers and staff!

ImageMy Harrison District Office recently moved locations. To celebrate the new space, we held an open house and ribbon cutting ceremony. It was great to see many government officials and residents stop by! The new address is 400 North Main Street, Suite 3, Harrison, Arkansas 72601. My staff and I look forward to continuing to provide constituents with the quality service and help they need. Our priority is always to serve families and businesses in the community, and that is exactly what my district office locations do. Residents can stop by anytime for help with casework, information on federal agencies, or just to say hello and learn about what’s going on around the Third District and Washington.

ImageI then hosted a town hall at Harrison High School. It’s important that I hear directly from you about your priority issues! During the event, I answered questions on a variety of topics, including gun violence, the Second Amendment, the opioid epidemic, infrastructure, healthcare, and other issues of note. I appreciated listening to your ideas and concerns - and respectfully engaging on policy topics. Thank you to everyone who came out and shared their voices!

On Wednesday, I had the opportunity to meet with regional leaders and government officials about affordable housing and community development. We had a very productive roundtable, and I also updated them on my work in Congress, specifically my role as a member of the House Appropriations Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Subcommittee.

ImageI then headed over to the Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce to talk to their new Junior Leadership Academy (JLA) class. The JLA program is designed for students that want to learn more about Fort Smith and the opportunities available in the city. Throughout their time as JLA participants, students meet community leaders from businesses, government agencies, and civic organizations. We talked about leadership, service, and the future of the community. We are lucky to live in such a great region, but that doesn’t happen by chance. It is thanks to the work of families, businesses, and local stakeholders. These young people are part of the next generation, and I look forward to seeing the impact they will have on Fort Smith and our nation.

ImageWe are blessed that there are men and women, now and throughout history, who are willing to serve and sacrifice to protect our freedom and liberty. Richard (Dick) Cosner III - of Fort Smith - served in Vietnam. He was vital in coordinating unit movements with artillery and air support, which allowed the company to destroy enemy positions and repel repeated assaults. On June 18, 1969, his effective communications were crucial in the destruction of a large enemy force and the withdrawal of his reconnaissance team. However, it took almost 50 years to have his actions recognized. It was a privilege to honor Dick with the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Combat ‘V’. I’m extremely grateful that my office was able to help ensure he received this commendation. Thank you for your service, Cpl. Cosner! Learn more here.

ImageI wrapped up the day speaking to students part of the ABB Youth Apprenticeship Program for advanced manufacturing. The program is a community-led effort focused on bringing together business, economic development, higher education, and K-12 education to establish a workforce development structure that creates a talent pipeline for existing and future businesses in the region. Fort Smith and our nation has seen an increased need for skilled workers in advanced manufacturing, welding, information technologies, and other sectors. Apprenticeships provide young people with opportunities to develop the skills required to thrive in the 21st century job environment, and I’m proud to have this initiative operating in my district!

ImageOur farmers, ranchers, and producers feed and fuel Americans and our economy. Decisions made in Washington have a direct impact on this critical industry, which is why it is important we implement smart policies. I toured multiple farms throughout Decatur and Gentry and spoke to the residents who run them. The great work of Kevin and Jacque Smith, Bill and Delia Haak, and Jeremy and Michelle Jackson was evident. They work the land and take care of their animals each day to provide for themselves and the world. Importantly, we also talked about trade, tariffs, and disaster recovery. For these folks, working the land is a life-long pursuit, and I want to make sure Congress is supporting their hard work and Arkansas’s agriculture economy.

ImageAs a former Mayor, I make it a priority to get feedback from our local officials about the challenges and successes our cities are experiencing. I sat down with Siloam Springs City officials, board members, and Chamber of Commerce representatives to discuss infrastructure, economic development, business updates and city projects. I appreciate their dedication to the people of the Natural State. I then stopped by John Brown University to meet with students and talk about my work in public service, as well as happenings in Washington.

ImageToday, I started out in Fayetteville to “flip the switch” on a joint project between the City of Fayetteville, Ozarks Electric Cooperative, and Today's Power, Inc. The city officially linked Arkansas's first solar and storage facility to our nation's power grid. It is a great example of a local, all-of-the-above energy strategy. American ingenuity and innovation will continue to support productivity and sustainability for the future.

I then had a wonderful visit to the Farmington Senior Activity and Wellness Center! While there, I participated in an intense volleyball game with residents. There was some real competition and even some “Bump, Set, Spike” action! I thank all the folks who came out today for their time, conversations, and their volleyball skills! I will make sure to practice before my next visit.

ImageMy next stop was to meet with Farmington Mayor Ernie Penn for a tour of the newly constructed Public Works Facility and Creekside Park. These were both modern facilities that will support great work, as well as families, in the area. A big thank you to Mayor Penn and the public works employees for taking me around. I finished up the day in Prairie Grove, where I toured the library, dropped off books from the Library of Congress, and then met with Prairie Grove Mayor Sonny Hudson. We had a great conversation about the new library, police and fire station expansions, housing developments, and other projects. It was great to be with you!

I am now helping to kick off the high school football season at the opening game between Farmington and Prairie Grove! Are you rooting for the Farmington Cardinals or Prairie Grove Tigers?! Looking forward to a great game!

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Wishing you a restful weekend. Remember to keep an eye on my website or check out my Twitter and Instagram pages to stay up-to-date with the latest news from the Third District and Washington. I will be back in D.C. next week but look forward to seeing you around AR-3!

From the front...


Congressman Steve Womack
Arkansas Third District

 

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