Hutchinson Delivers Arkansas State of the State Address

by: Chris Counts, Ozarks First

Governor Asa Hutchinson gives his last State of the State Address to the general session of the Arkansas legislature Tuesday, talking about issues ranging from education initiatives to his effort to pass hate crimes legislation.

Hutchinson opened his address by reminding senators and legislators exactly where the state is at in this moment, 11 months since the coronavirus pandemic began in the country.

The governor condemned the actions of those who rioted at the U.S. Capitol last week, saying that they attacked the foundation of our governmental principals.

“We saw a mob attack the heart of our democracy and they must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” the governor said. “It’s ok to be passionate, but passion must not cloud our common sense. When the election is over, we must come together.”

Hutchinson opened his address by reminding senators and legislators exactly where the state is at in this moment, 11 months since the coronavirus pandemic began in the country.

The governor condemned the actions of those who rioted at the U.S. Capitol last week, saying that they attacked the foundation of our governmental principals.

“We saw a mob attack the heart of our democracy and they must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” the governor said. “It’s ok to be passionate, but passion must not cloud our common sense. When the election is over, we must come together.”

On Tuesday afternoon, the chairman for the Democratic Party of Arkansas responded to Governor Asa Hutchinson’s State of the State Address.

Michael John Gray says he appreciates Governor Hutchinson and his leadership.

Gray says he’s seen Republican governors across the nation that have done worse than the governor has in the seven years he has served.

“Not doing worse shouldn’t be our bar,” Gray said. “We are better. We can do better, and we should be better.”

Gray said while he and the Democratic Party of Arkansas support tax cuts and higher teacher pay, the governor stopped too short.

When speaking on police reform, Gray said accountability and equality in treatment should also be a priority.

Gray said superintendents have had to cut their budgets and teachers with higher levels of education or more experience are seeing their jobs fade away. The Democratic Party chairman said the state has to adequately fund schools.

On the subject of computer science, Gray said there are still school districts across the state where the only vocational opportunities are “sewing buttons and building picnic tables”.

Gray said the governor should create opportunities where the children of Arkansas aren’t “one flat tire or broken transmission away from dropping out of college”.

Gray said on broadband access, the goal shouldn’t just be access but affordable access.

When it came to the emergency declaration, Gray said Governor Hutchinson did not mention to stay diligent.

Gray said the governor failed to mention the “Stand Your Ground” bill.

Links to more information on both speeches can be found on the Ozarks First Website.

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