Monday, November 26, 2007

Odds and Ends

It appears as of 3:00 p.m. that Houston Dale Nutt will step down as Arkansas's (Harrelson's spelling), head coach. Too much turmoil in the fan base will give us the opportunity to welcome in a coach who is either a supposed up and comer; or if Butch Davis doesn't come on board, then probably someone like Gary Patterson at TCU. Even though Houston hasn't announced his future plans as of yet, I believe he is headed to Ole Miss. We shall see.

One of the really fun things to do in Hempstead County comes up this week with the annual Hope Lions Club Auction. The 3 day event kicks off on Thursday night, at 6:00 here in Hope, at the Fair Park coliseum. This is the big fund-raiser for the local Lions club, and the community always gets behind it and has a great time. You can knock out quite a few names on that Christmas list, enjoy a fine homemade meal from the Lioness club and just flat dab have a good old time by bidding on everything from a haircut, to a ham o' meat, to a trip to Branson. I wouldn't miss this for the world and hope to see you there.

One more thing about the SWEPCO plant. There were so many local folks who really worked hard and were steadfast in their support of the plant, that I will probably offend some when I accidentally leave their name out in this note of thanks. No offense is intended, but here are a few who I believe went above and beyond the call of duty, in helping to get this project through---Former State Rep. Chris Thomason, who was involved from the start. Mayor Henry Hale of Fulton, was a tremendous ambassador for his community during this entire debate. Mayors James Conway of McNab and Dennis Ramsey of Hope. Hempstead County Economic Development Director Wesley Woodard was instrumental in this process and really did an outstanding job. Hempstead County Judge Wallace Martin was so solid from day one. Hope Water and Light's Jim Kirchoff provided a great deal of expertise through-out . Mark Keith, with the local Chamber of Commerce, was a staunch advocate with his letters to the PSC. Special thanks to Mike Cox, Wanda Koontz, Jessie Henry and Johnny Scott, the Fultonites I'll call them. Superintendents Kenneth Muldrew and Max Adcock. Mayor Horace Shipp of Texarkana and so many from Miller County were key with their support. My Legislative friends, Reps. Steve Harrelson-Texarkana, Larry Cowling-Foreman, Randy Stewart-Kirby, Scott Sullivan-Dequeen and Senator Barbara Horn of Ashdown. And to the thousands of folks in Southwest Arkansas who saw this opportunity presented and voiced their support in so many ways--Thank you for taking the future of Hempstead County in the right direction.

Friday, November 23, 2007

The Speaker's Race

A while back I posted my thoughts on the upcoming election for Speaker of the House. Now I realize this topic probably doesn't excite a lot of you, but choosing a Speaker has become an extremely competitive undertaking. In fact, whether or not your're on the winning side probably determines your power base and pecking order in the race for committee chairs. Once upon a time, the Speaker position was largely ceremonial; but now, most insiders will acknowledge that term limits has forever changed and dramatically increased the scope and power of wielding that gavel. Nowadays, the Speaker basically drives each session with committee appointments and assigning bills, which can have a major effect on whether certain pieces of legislation have any chance to succeed. That's simply the way it is, and whether that's good or bad, ultimately depends upon the Speaker.
Now that Representatives David Cook and David Rainey have dropped out of the race, I am one of those apparent few who are left uncommitted. I say apparent few, because it seems as if virtually everyone has made a committment at this point. I had committed to Rep. Cook long ago, and for legitimate reasons he has decided to take his name out of the hat. That leaves me with, what I believe is a very important decision. Representatives Robbie Wills and David Dunn are the two left vying for the job, and truthfully have been the front-runners from day one. I like both men and can see strengths for each one. Even though I am convinced that either one can and will handle the job; I will have to make a choice soon. I am leaning a certain way, but a bit more thought and reflection won't hurt my decision.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

As I write this on Wednesday evening and get ready to head home to a wonderful wife and share a Thanksgiving meal tomorrow with so many I love; I hope to never take for granted the multitude of blessings in my life. I'm a lucky man and I know it. My prayer is for those who, for whatever reason, might be struggling to make it through the holidays. I pray for your peace of mind until things get better and the patience to know that it will. I also think of our soldiers, so far away from families that love them dearly. I pray for their safe return. Best wishes to all and here's hoping you have the best Thanksgiving ever. Bubba

PSC Grants SWEPCO Permit

The long awaited PSC decision on SWEPCO'S Turk Power Plant came down this afternoon with a 2-1 majority decision from the commission. Chairman Suskie and Commissioner Bassett voted in favor of granting the Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need (CECPN), with acting Commissioner Newbern dissenting. Although this decision can certainly be appealed by the intervenors, it is my understanding that SWEPCO can and will proceed with construction at this time. I have been supportive of the power plant from the beginning and am very pleased with the decision to go forward. I believe strongly that this project will give a much needed economic boost to Hempstead County, and also keep electric rates manageable over the coming years. As I read the decision this afternoon, it was apparent that Justice Newbern's dissent was based primarily on global warming issues; and he called the decision of Suskie and Bassett, unconscionable. He basically sided with the intervenors position that coal was an unacceptable resource for energy production. Fortunately, Chairman Suskie and Commissioner Bassett took a more expansive view of the issue and factored in all the testimony regarding the environment, economic impact and the need for electricity. Whichever side you came down on before, is probably the opinion you will agree with after you read them. In the end, I believe the people of Southwest Arkansas will be much better off because of SWEPCO'S investment, and I look forward to the results.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Veterans Day

Sunday I attended the unveiling of the new Veterans monument in Nevada County. The monument is dedicated to all Nevada countians who have served in the military and honors their committment to our country. Congressman Mike Ross gave the keynote address to a good crowd of supporters gathered on the Nevada County courthouse lawn. Special thanks to Leadership Nevada County for undertaking the monument project and seeing it through. It provides a lasting reminder of all the sacrifices by our service men and women, along with their families, in keeping our freedoms intact.

A ceremony to honor our Veterans in Hempstead County was held on Monday at the courthouse. This holiday honors the true heroes in our community, and it is a special pleasure for me to visit with those WW II vets in attendance, and just say thank you to the perfectly named "greatest generation". We can never thank them enough.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Here's Johnnie

I'm talking about Representative Johnnie Roebuck, who will kick off her re-election campaign for District 20 on Tuesday, at the Western Sizzlin' in Arkadelphia, from 4:30-6:00 . Although I will have to hoof it back to Hope for the Governor's reception at 6:00, I'll be there as long as possible, to show my support for an outstanding legislator and friend.

Governor In Town

Governor Beebe will be here in Hope on Tuesday November 13th, to attend a reception and fund-raiser for the Henry Clay Yerger museum. The event will take place at the UACCH student union from 6-8 pm. The Governor voiced his support for the completion of this project in a meeting I attended last summer, and we look forward to having him here on Tuesday night