|COVID-19 Update | October 31, 2020
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I thank Arkansas police officers for keeping our communities safe while putting their lives on the line to protect others, even in the middle of this unprecedented public health crisis.
During the pandemic, I have been in continuous communication with our officers, and this week, I had the opportunity to have roundtable discussions with both the Saline County Sheriff's Office and the Searcy Police Department.
On Thursday, Senator John Boozman (R-AR), Congressman Steve Scalise (R-LA), and I visited the Saline County Sheriff’s Department.
We spoke directly with members of the force, including Sheriff Rodney Wright and the command staff of the sheriff's office about the role of law enforcement in our communities, and how COVID-19 has impacted their jobs and Saline County as a whole. I thank all for participating in this discussion and for their insight into how my office can support their important work.
On Friday, Senator Boozman, Congresswoman Cheney, and I visited the Searcy Police Department as part of their Law Enforcement Appreciation and Police Ride Along events.
We discussed the precautions that their office is taking to keep themselves and the public healthy, different methods for heading off opioid addiction, and the steps they are taking to build trust in the community.
I thank Chief of Police Steve Hernandez, White County Sheriff Phillip Miller, Lt. Todd Wells, Lt. Nick Darnell, Lt. Tom McGee, as well as Searcy Mayor Kyle Osborne for taking the time to offer their perspectives on how we can partner together to protect central Arkansans.
As a father of two, I’ve seen how important it is for children to have enough nutritious food to eat in order to lead healthy, active lives. Unfortunately, according to the Arkansas Food Bank, one in four Arkansas children does not know when or where their next meal will come from. This is unacceptable, and since coming to Congress, one of my missions has been collaborating with non-profit organizations, educational programs, and individuals in central Arkansas who are committed to helping children who are not receiving adequate nutrition.
COVID-19 safety guidelines and remote learning mean that more kids need support, but providing that help is more complicated.
That’s why Senator John Boozman, Senator Tom Cotton, and I participated in a roundtable discussion on Friday with faculty from Greenbrier Public Schools and local officials like Greenbrier Mayor Sammy Hartwick and Faulkner County Judge Jim Baker.
We talked about how we can continue to support our schools throughout this health crisis and ensure our students still get everything they need with continued funding and COVID-19 relief.
On Thursday, Senator John Boozman and I took part in another nutrition roundtable with the Saline County Superintendents and school nutritionists from Benton School District, Bryant School District, Sheridan School District, Harmony Grove School District, Bauxite School District, and Glen Rose School to discuss ongoing strategies for providing our students with the balanced nutrition they need to perform at their best.
We dug into how child hunger relief efforts have been impacted by the pandemic, and what more we can do to make sure students have the food they need to succeed. I was happy to hear that the flexibility provided in the CARES Act I supported has been helpful. We also talked about how flexibility on nutritional requirements could prevent food waste, the importance of summer meals, and how the expansion of broadband accessibility and reliability is crucial to students’ success in a remote learning environment.
I will always fight to help our future generation succeed, and I thank all of our educators for their hard work and selfless dedication to our children.
As a life-long entrepreneur and previous small business owner, I understand what our local businesses need to succeed. Since I took office, one of my top priorities has been providing support to small businesses that make up 99% of all Arkansas businesses.
This week, I visited some of the small business employers in central Arkansas and spoke with economic leaders in our community to take stock of how COVID-19 has impacted their businesses and their workers.
On Thursday, Senator John Boozman and I had a roundtable discussion with community business leaders from Saline County that are setting the standard for workforce development and helping ensure that we will overcome these difficult times. I thank Saline County Economic Development Corporation CEO Lamont Cornwell for helping to organize this important event.
That same afternoon, at McLehaney Equipment Co. LLC, the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) presented me with their Guardian of Small Business Award for my consistent legislative support of policies that help small businesses grow and succeed.
On Wednesday, alongside Senator Boozman, I toured Westrock Coffee's facility in North Little Rock, Virco Manufacturing in Conway, and the Walmart Distribution Center in Searcy.
Local businesses are the backbone of our state and local economies, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, these businesses keep our families and neighbors employed. I will continue to do everything I can to help Arkansas's economy succeed.
On Friday, Senator Tom Cotton, Senator John Boozman, Rep. Liz Cheney, and I visited the Unity Health White County Medical Center in Searcy for their Healthcare Heroes Event.
During my visit, I met with hospital CEO Steven Webb and first-line healthcare workers, who demonstrated how COVID-19 tests are processed through the hospital’s drive-thru center.
Unity Health is now able to complete more than 1,000 COVID-19 tests per day and has three FDA-approved high complexity PCR machines. It was excellent to hear about their continued leadership in the fight against COVID-19 and how Congress can continue to assist their efforts, staff, and patients.
As a partner of Harding University, Unity Health engages in collaborative research, which is now more vital than ever to develop therapeutic medicines and other preventative measures. In addition, Unity Health is the largest processor of COVID-19 tests in Arkansas with less than 24-hour turnaround time.
I thank Unity Health and all Arkansas healthcare workers for their phenomenal efforts to take care of our community.
It is my honor to represent you in Congress.
Please contact me at (501) 324-5941 or Hill.House.Gov if I may be of service to you.
Representative French Hill