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News from Representative Steve Womack

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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 the Jackson family of Lowell, the Searles family of Bentonville, the Dill family of Springdale, and Uli and Michael Correa of Rogers. Safe travels back to the Natural State!

October is Manufacturing Month, and I am proud of our district’s rich manufacturing business environment. Whenever I travel around AR-3, I have the opportunity to tour local companies and see the products that are made in the Natural State. On Monday, I toured QualServ Solutions in Fort Smith to learn more about their work and how their products impact businesses across the country. CEO Michael Potter and employees walked me through their processes and showed me their production line, which includes stainless steel fabrication, custom millwork, seating, solid surfaces, stone, aluminum, wire, plastic, glass, refrigeration, powder creation, and much more. Their products are being sold across the country each day! It’s always amazing to see the work firsthand and meet with employees who support the company. Their hard work is vital to these businesses. AR-3’s manufacturers continue to grow and thrive, and they need a skilled and talented workforce to take advantage of the outstanding careers they provide.

ImageI then traveled to Central Elementary School to meet with 5th-grade students. We read some books and talked about the different branches of government. These children will one day lead our country, and I loved being able to speak with them about Congress and public service. We ended the visit by taking a selfie!

I finished the day at the Fort Smith Chamber of Commerce for an exciting announcement. I joined local officials to announce that Fort Smith will receive $1.4 million in federal grant funding from the U.S. Department of Commerce. The investment will support the development of the Fort Smith Public Schools Career Technology Center (CTC), a state-of-the-art facility that will feature specialized lab spaces and classrooms for courses in manufacturing, healthcare, and information technology.

ImageWorkforce development programs are vital to preparing students for the jobs of the 21st century. This funding will allow Fort Smith Public Schools to create a state-of-the-art facility that will equip Arkansans with the firsthand experience and training they need to succeed. The center will develop our pipeline of skilled workers and promote strong technical education in our great state. Smart investments like this will provide long-term benefits, and I thank the Trump Administration for their work to support Fort Smith.

ImageTuesday was an exciting day, as I had the privilege of welcoming my colleague from across the aisle, Rep. Derek Kilmer (WA-6) for a bipartisan congressional exchange. Rep. Kilmer and I both sit on the Appropriations Committee, and he was also a member of the Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform - which I co-chaired last year. I visited his district last October, and I couldn’t wait to show him around Arkansas. Our first stop was to Hunt Ventures! As you might know, J.B. Hunt is one of the largest transportation companies in the U.S. It primarily operates large semi-trailer trucks and provides transportation services throughout North America. Rep. Kilmer was able to learn about the company and its importance to the U.S. economy and jobs. The meeting allowed us to also build on our visit to the Port of Tacoma in 2018. That port is the beginning of the U.S. supply chain for many products that are eventually shipped in J.B. Hunt trucks.

ImageOur next stop was to the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce to discuss the importance of small business and economic development. We also talked about innovation, technology, and the NWA Fab Lab. Empowering businesses and strengthening economic opportunity is a priority for both of our districts. We finished up the day at the University of Arkansas. We went on a tour of the campus and then spoke about the institution’s research programs, as well as higher education issues. We also sat down with students to talk about Congress and the importance of bipartisan initiatives. Rep. Kilmer talked about his work on the Select Committee on Modernization, which is tasked with identifying reforms that will make Congress work more effectively, and received feedback from students and educators about reform ideas. I also made sure to teach him how to call the Hogs!

ImageThe next day, I took him on a tour throughout Rogers. The city is fast-growing, and I wanted Rep. Kilmer to see some of the great development and also share my insights from when I was Mayor of Rogers. We talked about economic expansion strategies, civic life, and how the city has made improvements over time. We then headed to Tyson Foods in Springdale to talk about the supply chain and the company's footprint throughout the country. We had productive discussions on global trade, economic development, and the need for skilled labor. Tyson made clear that a strong workforce throughout the country is critically important.

Our next stop was to Thaden Field to meet with Bentonville-based air manufacturer Game Composites. The company produces the GB1 Gamebird right here in AR-3. It was a great way to show off a new and innovative small business model. We also got a quick ride, and it was awesome to be able to show Rep. Kilmer an aerial view of the Third District. It was then time to bring Rep. Kilmer to another gem of the district: Crystal Bridges. It’s an amazing place that positively impacts our economy and tourism and provides great art education and experiences for residents.

ImageBefore Rep. Kilmer headed back to Washington, I made sure to also take him to Walmart, the nation’s largest employer. We toured their Emergency Operations Center, which operates 24 hours a day and can be thought of as a rapid response center. The EOC supports Walmart's security efforts, operations, emergency preparedness initiatives, and facility logistics and communication. We also visited the distribution center and learned more about Walmart’s sustainability work. It was truly great to be able to listen to one another, respectfully share our insights, and find common ground. I appreciated Rep. Kilmer’s time and was glad to take him around Northwest Arkansas.

ImageI spent the rest of the week visiting with constituents and businesses. I spoke at Walmart’s HVAC Technicians meeting. Many of the technicians are former service members, and I talked about the transition to civilian life and leveraging the many skills they learned in the military. I’m glad to see this AR-3 company invest in workforce training and our veterans! I then headed to Springdale to take part in the Springdale Chamber of Commerce’s Chickin, Peelin’ & Politickin’ event. It was great to be surrounded by civic representatives, business leaders, and government officials. It’s imperative to connect with stakeholders in the community and have engaging conversations about local priorities and policy issues.

ImageI wrapped up the week at the Fayetteville VA to talk with staff and veterans. I also had the opportunity to welcome Doctor Kathrina Alexander, the new Chief of Pathology and Lab, to the Third District.

I hope to see you around the Natural State next week. 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. 

From the front...


Congressman Steve Womack
Arkansas Third District

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