WASHINGTON NEWS IN BRIEF: Arkansans make White House stop; border visit part of senator’s week; state’s delegates tout Iraq’s rice buy
Written by: Frank Lockwood
Published by: NW Arkansas Democrat Gazette
Arkansans make White House stop
WASHINGTON — A group of state and local officials from Arkansas and Oklahoma visited the White House on Tuesday.
They were greeted by several administration officials, including Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and Jim Carroll, acting director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
The White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs organized the event. Similar meetings will eventually be held for county officials from all 50 states, officials said.
Topics included health care, trade, infrastructure and agriculture.
The White House said guests included leaders from Fort Smith, Bentonville, Conway, Foreman, Timbo, Alma, Russellville, McNeil, Sheridan, Alleene, Delight, Siloam Springs, Magnolia, Bella Vista, Arkadelphia, Little Rock, Paragould, Rison, Greenbrier, Centerton, Springdale, Maumelle, Mena, Jacksonville, Mountain Home, Van Buren, Newark, Harrison, Ashdown, Berryville, Marmaduke, Des Arc, Hot Springs, Fountain Hill, Jonesboro, Kirby, Green Forest, Lowell, Hope, Prattsville, Fairfield Bay, Newport, Jonesboro, Nashville, Mountain View, Batesville, Benton, Pine Bluff, Kingston, Pocahontas, Fayetteville and Tuckerman.
Since Arkansans were in town, presidential press secretary and Little Rock native Sarah Huckabee Sanders stopped by.
It was a busy news day at the White House, coinciding with the conviction of President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, and the guilty pleas entered by Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen.
Border visit part of senator’s week
U.S. Sen. John Boozman made at least two trips to the White House last week.
The Republican from Rogers attended Wednesday’s Medal of Honor ceremony. The widow of Tech. Sgt. John Chapman accepted the award from President Donald Trump in the East Room.
Boozman was also there Tuesday, stopping by to visit with a group of Arkansans who were meeting with White House officials.
On Thursday, Boozman wrapped up his Washington workweek and headed for the nation’s southern border.
A member of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, Boozman was scheduled to visit heavily traveled illegal border crossing areas in Texas and California.
Officials from the Border Patrol and the U.S. Coast Guard planned to brief Boozman on their efforts.
State’s delegates tout Iraq’s rice buy
Iraq is buying 30,000 metric tons of rice from the United States, and news of the sale was welcomed by members of the Arkansas congressional delegation.
“I told the Iraqi ambassador multiple times that his country would benefit from opening its market to Arkansas rice, and I’m pleased to see this deal finally come through. Arkansas rice is second to none, and I’m confident we’ll find many more customers in this promising new market,” said U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton in a joint news release Thursday.
Arkansas’ U.S. Sen. John Boozman and U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford joined Cotton in touting the sale.
“I recently wrapped up my annual agriculture tour, and the message that was continually echoed was ‘protect the markets we have and work to open new ones.’ Given a level playing field, our agricultural producers can compete with anyone,” Boozman said.
“This new market creates more opportunity for our Arkansas farmers, and I appreciate the large effort put into making this deal happen,” Crawford said.
Crawford represents the state’s 1st Congressional District. Covering northeast Arkansas and all of the state’s counties bordering the Mississippi River, it produces more rice than any other congressional district in the country.
Boozman and Crawford have both introduced legislation to remove barriers to agriculture trade with Cuba, arguing that the state’s rice farmers should have greater access to that market.
Westerman plans coffee discourse
U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman plans to hold a “coffee with your congressman” event Monday in Hope.
The caffeinated beverage will be brewing in Hempstead Hall at 2500 S. Main St., and will be available from 4-5 p.m.
The event is “an opportunity for constituents to speak directly with Congressman Westerman about the issues facing the Fourth District. Coffees are free and open to the public,” a news release noted.
Constituents received similar invitations earlier this year for coffee in Malvern, Mena, Ozark, Sheridan, El Dorado and Arkadelphia.
In an interview earlier this year, Westerman, a Republican from Hot Springs, said the gatherings are a good way to “get out and interact with folks.”
Similar gatherings occurred earlier this month in Magnolia and Hot Springs.