Following are two articles by Mark Moore from his blog Arkansas Watch assessing the ten best and worst Arkansas state legislators in 2013  and a link to Talk Business ten best legislators.   If you agree or disagree with Mark's  assessment, please go to these two links and post your assessment of Mark's article or of any of the legislators.  If you like Talk Business assessment better, let that be known in your comments.   Pictures of the legislators are also on these links along with the assessment of the legislators at these links.

http://www.arkansaswatch.blogspot.com/2013/05/the-ten-worst-legislators-in-state-of.html#links    Ten worst legislators.

http://www.arkansaswatch.blogspot.com/2013/05/the-ten-best-state-legislators-in-state.html#links  Ten best legislators.

 

The Ten Best State Legislators in the State of Arkansas

 

Sometimes we tend to focus on the negative too much when discussing the goings-on of Arkansas government.   It is too easy to forget that there are a lot of good public office-holders too.   That is why the Arkansas Watch semi-annual ranking of the Ten Best Legislators in the state of Arkansas has become one of my favorite columns to write.    The rankings were determined by a confidential panel of five activists- me and one chosen from each congressional district in the state.  More details about the selection process can be found here.   The votes from the 2011 session can be found here.

 

This was an unusual session, and realistically, there was a lot to be negative about.  The specter of Obamacare loomed large over the state.  It was the defining issue of the previous election campaign and the defining issue of the session.  And most Republicans blinked.  The deceptively-named "private option" is nothing more than Obamacare in a hat and sunglasses, no matter how hard they try to spin it.  What also won't fly are attempts to redirect attention to other "accomplishments".    Twenty bills about flag-waiving, or abortion bans that will most likely never be implemented, or back-loaded tax cuts which will be overwhelmed by new spending mandated by Obamacare, don't cancel out the tremendous blunder to implement the program in this state.  

 

Attempts to mis-direct attention to those measures to cover for this disaster amount to someone asking "Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?"  Calling Obamacare by some other name simply because the government money passes through an extra set of private hands does not make the situation any better- it makes it worse because it introduces the factor of dishonesty into what would otherwise be simply a disagreement about policy.  

 

But that being said, not every legislator succumbed to the intense pressure to break their word to the people who elected them.   Not every legislator rationalized and spun their way out of their campaign promises.   When there is an environment where the tendency is to go bad, it is just that much more impressive that many remained true.   Among these worthy statesmen and stateswomen, we present to you our bi-annual Hall of Heroes, the Ten Best Legislators in the State of Arkansas.....

 

#1 Senator Bart Hester of Cave Springs.

We knew that Hester had a lot of grit when he came out of nowhere to upset the establishment pick for this state senate seat, but even knowing that he exceeded expectations.   Hester not only stood strong against the public option with his vote, but with his voice.   One of the many failings of the party system of candidate selection is that when the majority of one's own chums start spinning, even the non-spinners feel pressure to defend them, or at least fall silent on an issue.  Not Hester.  He was a straight-shooter in a blizzard of spin.   He voted against Obamacare, he tried to convince others in his party to do the same, and when they did it anyway he told the truth about what they did.   He even loudly and publicly pointed out what we had been saying about the back-loaded tax cuts.  Time will tell, but from what we have seen so far, the people of Benton County have elected a treasure in Bart Hester.

 

#2 Senator Bryan King of Green Forest 

 Bryan King is a repeat member of our Hall of Heroes.   He checked in at number two on the 2011 list as well, but this year there was an even stronger group of legislators that he was being compared against.   While he is often quiet and does the right thing without having a lot of ego about it, he can also be passionate when the situation calls for it.    

 

He successfully got the Church Concealed Carry bill through- taking the decision of whether or not people can conceal carry in Church away from the state and placing it the hands of the church where it belongs.     We even like his vote against a "tort reform" bill that would have made it too hard too seek significant damages against corporate malfeasance.    We are people-first limited-government conservatives, not corporate tool conservatives, and it appears that so is Bryan King.   One weak spot was killing a voter-turnout bill in committee, but his overall performance was so strong we almost feel embarrassed mentioning it.

 

 #3 Representative Justin Harris of West Fork.

 

Justin Harris is also a repeat member of our Hall of Heroes, and he actually moved up from the #7 spot in 2011 despite the stiffer competition.  He just got that much stronger, and has been described as having "a humble servant attitude while still refusing to be intimidated."  Like Hester, he not only voted against the deceptively-named "Private Option", but he refused to be a cog in the spin machine his colleagues were building to sell it.   Justin Harris sponsored some good bills, and voted mostly right.   He didn't get them all right.  He had a temporary lapse in judgement on the "Big River Steel" bill- a lapse that he owned up to and attempted to correct.  In these days of spin, just telling us the truth is worth a lot.  That candor, and humility and honesty, which ought to be so common in public servants but is in fact so valuable and rare, is enough to combine with his solid record and surprising grit to earn him the #3 spot on our "Best" list.

 

#4 Senator Alan Clark of Lonsdale. 

 

Alan Clark not only proposed a lot of solid bills, he got an impressive number of them passed.  A lot of them had to do with cleaning up election law to keep a political party which shall remain nameless from gaming the system.     Even though our panel was selected on a regional basis, Clark got a lot of respect even from panelists outside his region, despite the fact he is not as prone to media-seeking behavior as are some.    Somehow, they knew about Clark and his production.   And of course, Clark was staunchly against Obamacare-by-another-name, even when his party and the hospital and insurance lobbies were for it.

 

#5 Representative Bob Ballinger of Hindsville. 

 

Bob Ballinger is an attorney, and we think he knows more than his critics when it comes to some of the more controversial bills he sponsored.  For example, the bill which would exempt all firearms made and sold only in the state from federal gun laws.   It's based on sound logic, Kansas, Tennessee, Wyoming, and Montana currently have similar laws, and at some point we are going to have to confront the federal government's abuse of the commerce clause to end-run the Bill of Rights.    Ballinger was willing to take the heat on that and other solid pro-freedom causes, and of course he voted against the Obamacare Private Option.

  

He communicated well with the grass-roots too.   If there was one concern it would be that he did not continue to call the party leadership out what they did with the same frankness of those ranked a bit higher on the list.   Some of us feel that the fight is not over, and the time to let by-gones be by-gones is after some of them are gone!

 

#6 Rep. Bruce Westerman of Hot Springs. 

 

Bruce Westerman is another repeat to the "Ten Best" list, and like Justin Harris, he actually moved up in a strong field.   This was despite the fact that at first he was sucked into the spin over the mis-named "Private Option."   One important difference between Westerman and the rest-o-them is that he kept an open mind, looked at the facts, and had the humility and honesty to do an about-face and fight hard against the travesty that is the "Private" Option.   A politician would have retreated into tribalism and the political consultant's handbook which says you never admit to a mistake.   Westerman reacted like a statesman.   A rare principle-over party guy.  The rest of his record was sterling as well.

 

#7 Representative David Meeks of Conway.

 

David Meeks is another repeat on our "Ten Best Legislators" list, and if anyone here ought to be ranked higher it should be Meeks.   This writer for one should have listened to him on at least one occasion I can think of.    Meeks was among the pioneers in the use of social media to stay in touch with the grassroots in this state.  Since then, some others have closed the gap with him on it, but none do it better.   All of that staying in touch with the grassroots results in an excellent voting record.   He took on a very tough job of being a sort of intermediary between the bulk of his party and the grassroots.  While he did not waiver in his vote, this role may have tempered verbal and written criticism of the Obamacare bills at a time when having one foot on one side and one on the other was a difficult position.  Sometimes this is a place where humility and tact are not always appreciated as much as they should be.    Still, Meeks is an exemplary legislator, and fully worthy of another top-ten finish.

 

#8 Representative Richard Womack of Arkadelphia. 

 

Richard Womack made a strong splash as a freshman legislator.  He sponsored the right bills, he voted the right way, and he resisted tremendous inducements to switch his vote to support Obamacare.  To give you some idea, we have it on good authority that he was promised $30,000 to his re-election campaign if he would change his vote. That is more money than most state reps raise for their races over an entire two-year cycle.   He refused, now that $30,000 is liable to wind up in the campaign coffers of some puppet the offended lobbies will recruit to run against him.  They were not trying to get his vote based on policy, or principle, but a straight-up purchase.   I guess they thought they could get Womack to follow the dollars instead of keep his campaign promises.   They figured wrong.

 

#9 Representative Jim Dotson of Bentonville. 

 

Jim Dotson was another fantastic freshman legislator who hit the ground running.   Dotson ran on the SIMPLE plan, which included opposition to implementing Obamacare (no matter what they call it), and he stuck with the platform he was elected on.   That was harder than it seemed in a lot of places because many key people of a prominent grassroots group in his county got "turned" and became defacto supporters of the mis-named "Private Option" model of Obamacare.  He wasn't quiet in his opposition either.   He was more like an amen corner to Bart Hester.     While we can't vouch for all of the many bills he sponsored, he is who he claims to be, he is generally on the right track, and like Justin Harris and some of the other top performers, he is accessible and manages to radiate a nice-guy attitude while actually being strong as an oak.

 

 #10 Representative Debra Hobbs of Rogers. 

 

Debra Hobbs made the "Ten Best" last time too, one of only five legislators to make the list twice and the only female to ever do so.   She showed great adaptability.  In previous sessions when their were few Republican legislators with the sand to file far-reaching conservative bills, she filed them.   This session, there were quite a few who were willing to file such bills, and she switched to quietly helping others get those bills passed while she worked on passing an array of smaller measures.   It is amazing what people can accomplish when they don't care who gets the credit, but we are watching and we choose to give her credit anyway.   Of course, she voted against Obamacare, even when it was deceptively called the "Private Option".    I don't even think she got much pressure on it because the wolves know who they can prey on and who it is a waste of time to try to flip.  It's a waste of time trying to flip Debra Hobbs on something like that.

 

**************************************

Honorable Mention

 

There were far more than ten legislators who deserved honor and praise for their service.   The "Honorable Mention" category is for all the legislators who accumulated at least five points from our panel of activists.

 

 Rep. Kim Hammer of Benton - good candidate for "most improved."

 

Rep. Lane Jean of Magnolia - a beautiful town finally gets some strong representation.

 

Rep. Terry Rice of Waldron - I regret that this man was not the Speaker of the House

 

Rep. Charlene Fite of Van Buren - appears to be another Debra Hobbs type.

 

Rep. John Payton of Wilburn - for a guy from Wilburn, he got noticed a lot.

 

Rep. Bruce Cozart of Hot Springs - a solid performer who deserves more recognition.

 

Rep. Joe Farrer of Austin - No, not that Austin.    The Lonoke County one.

 

Rep. Bill Gossage of Ozark- A pleasant surprise.  Stronger than we expected.

 

Rep. Jane English of North Little Rock - if there was one legislator who deserved to be on the top ten list but did not quite make it, it would be the hard-working and high performing Senator Jane English.

 

The Ten Worst Legislators in the State of Arkansas

 

On a positive note, be pleased to view our choice of the "Ten Best Legislators" here.

 The rankings were determined by a confidential panel of five activists- me and one chosen from each congressional district in the state.  More details about the selection process can be found here.   The votes from the 2011 session can be found here.

This was an unusual session, and realistically, there was a lot to be negative about.  The specter of Obamacare loomed large over the state.  It was the defining issue of the previous election campaign and the defining issue of the session.  And most Republicans blinked.  The deceptively-named "private option" is nothing more than Obamacare in a hat and sunglasses, no matter how hard they try to spin it.  What also won't fly are attempts to redirect attention to other "accomplishments".    Twenty bills about flag-waiving, or abortion bans that will most likely never be implemented, or back-loaded tax cuts which will be overwhelmed by new spending mandated by Obamacare, don't cancel out the tremendous blunder to implement the program in this state.  

 

Attempts to mis-direct attention to those measures to cover for this disaster amount to someone asking "Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?"  Calling Obamacare by some other name simply because the government money passes through an extra set of private hands does not make the situation any better- it makes it worse because it introduces the factor of dishonesty into what would otherwise be simply a disagreement about policy.

 

With that being said, here is the 2013 edition of the Arkansas Watch "Ten Worst Legislators" in the state of Arkansas.

 

#1 Worst- All Democratic Legislators.

 

If the Democratic legislators want to be evaluated as individual persons, they should act and vote that way.  If they are all going to march in lock-step with Mike Beebe, then there is no point in seeing or rating them as individuals.  Since they acted as a unit they should be judged as one.   The tribalism among the Democrat caucus was always strong, but this session, with them circling up the wagons in a minority status, it was ridiculous.   There would be a committee meeting scheduled on the re-hearing of a given bill, a bill to which many Democrats on the committee had already expressed objections.   If the Republicans made a deal with Beebe concerning the bill, then the next time the committee meeting re-opened they would all be for it, with no changes.   Citizens of Arkansas, if your state representative was a Democrat, then you had no state representative, and Mike Beebe had 46 representatives.   It was much the same in the senate.

 

Party politics destroys the Founder's intent with regard to the legislative branch acting as a check and a balance on the Executive Branch.  That truth is rarely clearer than it was this session.   For not representing their constituents  for abandoning whatever individuality or principles they might have had, for checking their brains and integrity at the door and just following orders like a suspect at Nuremberg,

 

Democratic Caucus ranks as the #1 Worst legislator.

 

#2 Worst - House Speaker Davy Carter of Cabot. 

 

There are two main ways to get high on the "worst" list.  One is to be an incompetent buffoon, the other is to be very effective at advancing the wrong policy by any means necessary.  Davy Carter is an example of the latter category.    He was forced on the slim GOP majority by a handful of Republican legislators and the unanimous support of our #1 on the worst list- the entire democratic caucus.  

 

Without Carter willing to say and do just about anything to get it passed, Arkansas would probably not have implemented Obamacare.  Exhibit "A" for Carter's willingness to say anything was his claim that "a vote for the Private Option is a vote against Obamacare."    Of course the claim is an example of "The Big Lie".

 

Just make a claim so outrageously false that the average person will accept it as true simply because they can't believe that someone in a position of authority would maintain such a brazen falsehood.  All of the Democrats voted for the so-called "Private Option", and you know they are not all going to vote against Obamacare.  Still, that's his story and he's sticking to it- even though its false.

 

Carter is also anti-gun rights, while posing as a good 'ole boy conservative.   He helped kill a very timid bill that would allow those already permitted to carry concealed handguns to carry them openly.  Even government-permitted gun freedom seems to be too much gun freedom for Carter.    And when Denny Altes slipped a gun bill by them that granted more leeway than they thought it did, rumors started floating that Carter and company would abuse the codification process to materially change what the legislature actually passed  on its way to the law books.    Let's hope that's just a rumor, but the sources sound confident and at the least Carter has tried to claim the bill said less than what it said.

 

The Republican party in this state, in particular the other legislators, are now placed in the unfortunate position of either granting consent to his untruthfulness, whether by silence or by affirmation, or coming out against it and bringing the real split that already exists in the party out into the open.  The Democrats who put Carter in office must be laughing all the way home.

 

 #3 Worst- Senator David Sanders of Little Rock. 

 

David Sanders checks in at #3 on the worst list for being the opposite kind of bad- the clownish kind.   He was the ramrod for getting many state legislators to endorse Texas Gov. Rick Perry early on in the process.  Perry promptly self-destructed with an embarrassing series of gaffes and miss-statements and left the race early.    Shortly thereafter, Sanders organized what he called a "listening tour" for state legislators, which actually turned out to be a series of fund raising events with corporate big-wigs.   He even lured Congressman Steve Womack into the process, unfortunately in a way that violated election campaign finance law. Womack asked them to return the money they raised at the event he attended.

 

Sanders has led his colleagues into one blunder after another.  Sooner or later you would think they would start to notice it.  At any rate, his support for Obamacare via the miss-named "Private Option" is no exception to his tendency to make the wrong calls.

 

#4 Worst- Senator Jason Rapert of Conway. 

 

Our panelists tend to be sincere Christian people, which is why guys like Jason Rapert bother them so much.   He is the kind of guy who will bite the hand that feeds him clean off by doing the opposite of what he said he would do, then accuse the owner of the new stump of being un-spiritual because they are upset.   There is no kind of arrogant like the kind of arrogant who thinks that they are holier-than-thou.    My guess is that he is going to have to run for Lt. Governor, both to feed is desire for self-aggrandizement and also because he may not be able to win another local race in Conway, so many people has he offended- but of course, they are all wrong for that!  This was the guy who wanted to risk a Con-Con for an idea that would not solve the problem of government overspending even if it passed and the Con-Con could somehow be limited.   A man who thinks he is God's point man does not mind taking big risks, too bad he is using our chips.

 

#5 Worst- Representative John Burris of Harrison.

 

 Is the so-called "Private Option" Medicaid Expansion?  "Nothing could be further from the truth" said John Burris from the floor of the house.  But in reality lots of things could be further from the truth.  Any thing that is the least bit untrue could be further from the truth, because the Private Option itself is a Medicaid program, just not the one we are most accustomed to.   John Burris was instrumental in pushing for the idea that the PO wasn't what it was.   He was Davy Carter's tag-team partner in the whole thing.  We warned early on that if Carter sent the Obamacare bills to Public Health (which Burris got to chair in exchange for being one of a handful of Republicans to join with the Democrats and impose Carter) rather than State Agencies, then Carter was pushing for Obamacare to pass.  That is what happened, with Burris his right-hand man and assistant spin-doctor.

 

#6 Worst- Senator Missy Irvin of Mountain View. 

 

Missy Irvin was one of the worst legislators in the state.  Several activists had expressed concerns about her privately, but the session results highlighted some of the issues.   She was the deciding vote on the implementation of Obamacare in the Senate.  And while Arkansas Times gets a whole lot wrong, one thing they did right was describing her illogical thought processes and slim grasp of public policy in an area that should have been a strength for her.   The changes she insisted on before she flipped were fig leaves at best, they did not change the substance of the bill at all.  And by the time she flipped it was more obvious than ever that the GOP had been taken on this deal.    The Ark Times description of her poor grasp of policy rings true as well.  She is probably very personable, but unfortunately it takes a different skill set to be a good campaigner than it does to be a good legislator.

 

#7 Worst, State Representative Charlie Collins of Fayetteville.

 

When you are supremely confident, cocky even, you had better be almost always right.   Unfortunately his confidence does not match with his correctness.  Confident, personable, wrong.   For example, he was instrumental in the coup that put Carter in power.   There has to be some accountability for that disaster.  He never would come right out and plainly admit that the so-called "Private Option" would in fact increase the total number of persons in the state on some kind of Medicaid program.   And he assured me personally that the income tax cuts that were his baby played no role in his decision to back the mis-named "Private Option."    His colleagues don't appear to know that, one legislator told another member of the panel that Collins indicated to them the opposite.  Of course, after the first two years or three years those "savings" under the PO turn into new costs which will crush any reasonable hope of the tax cuts being sustained, but hey, at least there was a tax cut on paper that someone can put their name on.

 

#8 Worst- Senator Bill Sample from Hot Springs. 

 

One might be tempted to think that Bill Sample was just another turn-coat who ran on opposing the implementation of Obamacare in the state but then voted the opposite.  But we had a legislature full of such turn-coats, yet Senator sample earned more ire around the state than almost all of the others.  He got a lot of bills passed, but some of them were bills to float tax increases and make it easier for local governments to incur debt.   What I am getting at here is that many legislators were turn-coats on the defining issue of the session, but were typically conservative with the rest of their record.  What sets Sample apart is that he is going "full turncoat" on limited government issues.   He doesn't just want government health care to expand (so long as a couple of GOP lobbies get a cut) he seems to want government expansion in general, the reverse of his campaign rhetoric.   This Republican went to the legislature and fell in love with big government.

 

#9 Worst- Senator Jonathan Dismang. 

 

We don't know what happened.   He had a decent record up until the last session.  There were some tax cuts that he wanted to get through, and those were good, but we do have to wonder if there was not some sort of deal made to get them, because Dismang was one of those pushing for the PO hard.  Again, those tax cuts have been back-loaded.   They are very tiny at first, and by the time they are big we won't be able to keep them because the increased costs of the PO will demand tremendous amounts of tax revenues.  In order to claim credit for cutting taxes now, Dismang and others have signed onto something that will tie the hand of future legislatures, perhaps for decades.   We will be fortunate if we can avoid a tax increase in four or five years from now, never mind keeping this tax cuts on the books.  They got "took".  Dismang got took.  He could have been a contender.  Unlike these others that we have long been hesitant about, he was doing well. If he had used his great ability to block Obamacare he would have been a hero- that is a part of what makes it so bad.

 

#10 Worst is a three-way tie between Michael Lamoureux of Russellville, Mark Biviano of Searcy, and Ken Bragg of Sheridan.  Each of the three were tied at minus nine points each.     I questioned one of the five who ranked Bragg strongly negative.  Why single Bragg out when so many of the Republican legislators basically lied when they campaigned on how hard they would fight Obamacare?  "I know a lot of them lied, but he was the one that lied to me." was the answer.

 

When it came to the other two, I did not have to ask.  Lamoureux did not just vote wrong, he was working hard for the spin machine on it, he just did not get quite as rash in his statements as Carter and Burris.  He was also in a leadership position in the Senate, so when the late cavers caved, we understand that some of the pressure to do so came from him.

 

Biviano has always been an embarrassment to the legislature and we find it odd that the people of Searcy can't find better representation.   He ran as a Tea Party conservative then legislated like a crony-capitalist.  Not content to help pass the Medicaid Expansion half of Obamacare, he actually sponsored a bill to officially implement the other half- a state exchange.  Previously Beebe had been using policy and regulation to take steps towards an Arkansas exchange, but Biviano's bill now gives him legislative authority to proceed.

 

**************************************

Dishonorable Mention

 

Sadly, there were far more than the dirty dozen we list here who deserve to be called out for their violations of the public trust.    Below is a list of the legislators who our panel of activists gave at least -5 points...

 

Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson- a caver with an unfortunate private life.  One has to wonder if he would be a state senator if he had another last name.

 

Sen. Jon Woods- after the grassroots helped him upset Sen. Bill Pritchard in the primary, he dissed them repeatedly.

 

Rep. Ann Clemmer- there are worse things in the world than sucking a few lemons.

 

Rep. Mary Lou Slinkard- snuck out of the committee room to kill a gun bill.  

 

Rep. Les Carnine - has always been one of the more liberal Republicans.

 

Rep. Robert Dale- if there was a bigger squish of a Republican than Carnine, it was Dale.

 

Rep. Andy Mayberry - is not funny anymore.

 

Sen. Jimmy Hickey - could learn something from Richard Womack.

 

Rep. Nate Bell- voted AGAINST funding the PO and is STILL on this list, if that gives you any idea of how obnoxious he can be.   Credit his wife more than him for that vote anyway.

End of Mark Moore's Ten Best & Worst Legislators

 

I can't include the Talk Business article below because of copyright laws but I can include excerpts.  View entire article at this link:

http://www.thecitywire.com/print/27809#.UZUb_ZMo7m5

 

Talk Business: Arkansas’ Top 10 legislators

 

Submitted by The City Wire Staff on Tue, 05/14/2013 - 11:33am

story from Talk Business, a TCW content partner
talkbusiness.net 

 

So who stood out in the 89th General Assembly?

 

• Speaker of the House Davy Carter, R-Cabot


No one had more at stake for political success or failure than House Speaker Davy Carter.

 

With the thinnest of margins to govern and a big wound to heal in his GOP ranks after his Speaker’s coup in November, Carter never questioned his move to cobble together a coalition of loyal Republicans and the House’s 48 Democrat

 

Early in the session, Carter realized that doing nothing on the Medicaid expansion front wasn’t going to be a workable solution. When it was presented to him what the penalties would be for businesses under the new federal health care law, Carter concluded that an Arkansas plan was going to have to be tried.

 

• Senate President Pro Temp Michael Lamoureux, R-Russellville


“There’s no doubt that Davy deserves the credit he’s getting,” says Sen. Lamoureux,

 

 Lamoureux delivered on the big votes facing the 89th General Assembly – tax cuts, Medicaid and Big River Steel.

 

He obviously credits Republican Sens. Jonathan Dismang and David Sanders for their leadership on the plan. He also says a Democrat, Sen. Paul Bookout, D-Jonesboro, has been underestimated in the debate.

 

“Bookout deserves a lot of credit. He kept Democrats in the Senate in the loop and urged patience to allow Republicans to work through the policy and their politics, said Lamoureux. “I don’t think he’s gotten enough attention and credit for that.”

 

THE REMAINING TOP LEGISLATORS LIST


Rounding out our Top 10 legislators are the following legislators

 

Rep. John Burris, R-Harrison


As the chair of the House Public Health Committee, Burris used his pugnacious attitude to carry out Speaker Carter’s mission to deliver on health care.

 

Rep. Charlie Collins, R-Fayetteville

 

Sen. Jonathan Dismang, R-Beebe


The future leader of the State Senate had a strong session on several fronts, but he’ll be remembered for rolling up his sleeves and doing the difficult work of figuring out how to make the private option work politically and from a policy standpoint.

Sen. Joyce Elliott, D-Little Rock


This session might be dubbed “How Joyce Got Her Groove Back.” Elliott, the Senate’s truest liberal, passed plenty of legislation that touched on public schools, state employees, health populations, prisoners, immigrants and equal rights.

 

Sen. Johnny Key, R-Mountain Home


Key proved he was ready for primetime. He guided difficult and contentious legislation through the Senate’s Education committee, which he chaired.... In a word, it is called “compromise,” and Key proved he was pretty good at it.

 

Rep. Greg Leding, D-Fayetteville


 Leding and the House Democrats could have been more aggressive this session, but they would have lost the one biggest prize they treasured – Medicaid expansion.

 

Sen. David Sanders, R-Little Rock
Like Sen. Dismang and Rep. Burris, Sanders was a workhorse this session, especially on the private option. Insiders say Sanders saved the day on the last-minute negotiations on the plan just as patience was wearing out.

 

 

Posted by Women Action Group

May 17, 2013  wpaagorg@gmail.com