Over the last five years, serving the people of Central Arkansas as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, I have loved the interaction across the district that has led to wonderful ideas for legislation or a badly needed project to benefit our local economic growth. In this video series, you’ll learn how some key accomplishments in Congress came from your ideas. If you come up with a good suggestion to improve central Arkansas, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Right to Try - Episode 1
One day I was at lunch at Larry’s Pizza in Conway when a lady stopped me to tell me how desperate she was to try a life-saving medication that had not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in order to save her husband. This encounter was small, but it left a significant impact on me. Her message was, “It might be our only chance to extend his life and give him more time together with his family.”
She just wanted the right to try.
It was so heartwarming to cast a “YES” vote in favor of the Right to Try Act of 2017 and see President Trump sign this legislation into law on May 30, 2018.
Fighting the Opioid Crisis - Episode 2
Your suggestions help me better represent Arkansas and your ideas can lead to bills becoming law or solutions to some of our state’s and nation’s most pressing issues such as health care, economic development, protecting our environment, and best serving our veterans.
Because of one person’s input, Senator Tom Cotton and I introduced a bill to help fight fentanyl trafficking, and I am proud to report that this bill, the Fentanyl Sanctions Act, was included in the National Defense Authorization Act that recently passed through the House of Representatives.
This means hope for American families that their loved ones won’t fall victim to those wishing to do them harm.
Flatside Wilderness - Episode 3
The only wilderness area in central Arkansas is Flatside in the Ouachita National Forest established in 1984.
Thirty years have passed since this area was established, and it was clear that there was a need to study the forest lands adjacent to the Flatside Wilderness in order to see if they should be included. With help from my great friends Don Hamilton, Kurt Wasson, and Tom McClure, who contributed to the original creation of this protected wild space, we designed a bill that would immediately add over 600 acres of forest to Flatside, and designate 2,000 more for study.
The Flatside Wilderness Expansion Act was signed into law in January of 2019, creating the Bethune Woods section of the Flatside Wilderness Area for Arkansans, and visitors alike, to enjoy for generations to come.
New Missions for Little Rock Air Force Base - Episode 4
In 2015, the U.S. Air Force elected to close the intelligence unit at Little Rock Air Force Base and move it, and the personnel, to Fort Smith where the unit would be engaged in an unmanned aerial command center. This would leave a 10,000 square foot state-of-the-art, Sensitive Compartmentalized Information Facility (SCIF), worth more than $10 million, empty at Little Rock Air Force Base, mission less, and at risk of losing its classified certification.
The former Adjutant General of the Arkansas National Guard, General Mark Berry, came to my office and we invited Air Force Sec. Deborah Lee James to visit Little Rock Air Force Base. We convinced Secretary James that this was an outstanding opportunity for a new mission at the Little Rock Air Force Base, a mission that could take advantage of our outstanding information technology and cyber expertise in central Arkansas and our academic leadership at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and the University of Central Arkansas. She agreed!
World War I Medals Review Act - Episode 5
In October of 2018, I worked with Dr. Brian Mitchell, an assistant professor at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock to award the family of Leroy Johnston medals he earned serving in WWI, but did not receive due to discrimination based on the color of his skin.
Because of this, I introduced the World War I Valor Medals Review Act. This bipartisan bill requires the U.S. Department of Defense to review the military records of minority service members of the Armed Forces during WWI to determine if they should be awarded the Medal of Honor.
This legislation was included in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020, which was signed into law by the president on December 20th, 2019.
Port of Little Rock Supersite - Episode 6
Having served as the Chairman of the Little Rock Chamber of Commerce, I am aware of the need to attract industrial businesses to Greater Little Rock. One of the major barriers to a 1,500-acre super site expansion was the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) VOR navigation cone, which is located on property south of the Port of Little Rock. This navigation cone is used by all air traffic around central Arkansas, and by the Little Rock Air Force Base in order to navigate their C-130 planes.
In 2016, my team, and Senator John Boozman's office, joined the City of Little Rock’s efforts to relocate the navigation cone.
Through our collective efforts, we reached an agreement with the FAA to move the VOR cone. In addition, we arranged to retrofit a more advanced one from California. We located, and tested, a new site north of the Arkansas River, and arranged for a mix of financial resources. Today, we are in the final stages of seeing more than four years of hard work come to fruition.
Apprenticeships in Arkansas - Episode 7
Across the country, every governor is struggling to maximize a motivated, ready, and trained workforce. While good legislation can go a long way toward creating an environment where more people will consider entering the skilled trades, the work doesn't start at legislating. The most powerful vehicle for change is people from different backgrounds and different political parties coming together to promote an important message.
Voices like those of Arkansas State Senator Jane English inspired me to form the Congressional Skilled American Workforce Caucus with my good friend, Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence from Detroit. Brenda has joined me in Little Rock, where we've seen outstanding leadership recognized on the national state. This included the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce's "Be Pro, Be Proud" initiative, which gives young people a hands-on experience of skilled trades, and importantly, how much they can earn.
Thank you to Arkansas State Senator Jane English and Randy Zook, the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce and the Associated Industries of Arkansas for their partnership on this workforce initiative and their participation in this video.
Shift Back to Society - Episode 8
I was inspired by the work of my great friends Dr. Fitz Hill, former President of Arkansas Baptist College, and Dr. Jerome Green, President of Shorter College. Both of these men have innovated to find ways to educate men and women about to be released from incarceration to enable them to be successful in society by giving them both soft skills and job skills.
That’s what inspired my Shift Back to Society Act that I have introduced each Congress.
This bill supports innovation in education by Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) for those incarcerated Americans about to reenter society. Specifically, it provides grants to HBCUs to help incarcerated individuals successfully find a job and transition back into their communities.
Education leads to better choices, jobs, and more accountability that can help break the cycle of criminal behavior in low-income communities. Each year, my Shift Back to Society Act has been included in appropriations legislation.
Scipio Jones Post Office Portrait Act - Episode 9
I am pleased to announce that the Senate has passed my legislation, the Scipio Jones Post Office Portrait Act, which will honor one of Arkansas’s greatest heroes, and one of America’s best lawyers – Scipio Africanus Jones.
Jones' skillful legal defense saved the lives of twelve Black sharecroppers, who were wrongfully convicted of murder, by an Arkansas state court in the aftermath of the 1919 Elaine Massacre.
I introduced this legislation to authorize that a portrait of this brave hero will be displayed at the Scipio A. Jones U.S. Post Office Building on Main Street in Little Rock.
I am grateful to historians Dr. Brian Mitchell University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and John Gill, for their research, which has assisted me with this legislation. Scipio Jones’ fight for civil rights, and equality, is an important part of Arkansas’s story.
It is something for which we are deeply proud. His portrait will be a daily reminder to Arkansans of his great work for equality, and for civil rights.
It only takes one person to make a difference. If you have an idea about improving our community that you believe I could help with in Congress, please contact me by visiting my website at Hill.House.Gov or by calling my office in Little Rock at (501) 324-5941. It is my job to represent the great people of our state and I look forward to hearing from you.
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