Dr. Boozman's Check-up
Nov 21 2019
Newspapers have played a vital role in our country’s history of public discourse, increasing our knowledge and awareness about what takes place around us.
The stories they print keep us informed, while building a sense of community and regional identity.
Newspapers drive political debates and set the agenda, helping us make sense of the issues impacting our world.
As one of the oldest continuously published newspapers west of the Mississippi, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette has been a resource of information that keeps readers connected to community, the state and our nation for 200 years.
In 1819, William E. Woodruff published the first edition of the Arkansas Gazette, the Arkansas Territory’s first newspaper.
There was no shortage of news to print in those days. During its early years, the publication encouraged settlement to the region, shared news of national importance and promoted statehood.
For generations this publication has been a primary source of reliable and comprehensive news that has shaped the way Arkansans view the world.
It has consistently challenged the status quo and examined the decisions of elected leaders while pursuing transparency and accountability.
The work the Gazette produced often resulted in positive change in the Natural State.
In 1957, the newspaper opposed Governor Orval Faubus’ decision to prevent integration of Little Rock Central High School.
For its reporting on the struggles of integration, the Gazette earned two Pulitzer Prizes -- one for meritorious public service and the other awarded to its executive editor, Harry Ashmore, for editorial writing, marking the first time a newspaper had won two Pulitzer Prizes in the same year.
The paper and its spirited competitor, the Arkansas Democrat, contended for readers and advertisers for decades.
In 1991, the Gazette was sold to the owners of the Arkansas Democrat who then launched the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the only statewide newspaper that Arkansans read today.
The importance of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in today’s media landscape can’t be overstated. In some cases, it is the sole source of news for many small towns in Arkansans as local newspapers continue to cease operations, especially those serving in rural areas.
Under the leadership of Walter Hussman Jr., the Democrat-Gazette is navigating this challenging industry landscape and creating opportunities to keep readers informed while keeping costs manageable.
Hussman and his team are rethinking how and what news they deliver to readers as well as how subscribers can and like to consume it.
To cut printing and transportation costs and combat declining advertisement revenue, the paper is now using iPads to maintain subscribers and continue providing this valuable, not-easily replaced service to the community.
In an interview earlier this year about his efforts at the Democrat-Gazette, Hussman noted his view that the print model is not sustainable.
But he voiced his commitment to finding a solution that will fill the void because, as he says, society and our democracy will be impeded if we don’t have newspapers.
Throughout periods of change, Hussman and the newspaper he owns continue to believe in the critical role that news gathering and reporting plays in informing the public.
Every day, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and the other publications owned by the Hussman family publish a statement of core values that include “objectivity, impartiality, integrity and truth-seeking.”
This clear, sensible mantra consistently helps guide the work done by the reporters and editors in the paper’s newsroom.
Journalism is a pillar of democracy. Our founders understood the importance of a free press and included protections in the First Amendment that safeguard and ensure the ability of reporters and the publications they write for to hold the powerful to account.
Earlier this year, I was proud to support the World Press Freedom Day resolution and recognize the sacrifices journalists around the world make in their effort to report the truth.
We must continue to promote a free and open press in the United States and around the globe.
In today’s climate, we all share responsibility for acknowledging the value and necessity of press freedom while at the same time not shrinking away from appropriate scrutiny and fair criticism.
The health and well-being of our society and civic life depends on striking the right balance in this regard.
For 200 years, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette has kept individuals informed about moments and events of significance in Arkansas, our country and the world.
I congratulate the newspaper’s leaders and staff for pursuing facts and accountability as they have created and sustained the publication as a responsible and reliable source of information.
Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force to 188th Wing: “Thank you for being the extreme warriors, and professionals, that you are.”
Oct 07 2019
Sep 09 2019
As the Senate returns to session today, I wanted to take a moment to share some of the highlights from the in-state work period. It was great to be able to spend a long, uninterrupted period on the road in the Natural State, visiting with Arkansans and learning what we need to be focusing on in Washington to improve their lives back home.
- 2019 Ag Tour: Every year during the in-state work period, I spend a week visiting with farmers, ranchers and industry stakeholders at their family farms and production facilities to hear how Washington can improve our agriculture producers’s ability to succeed at feed and clothe the world. My 2019 Ag Tour highlighted innovative methods developed by Arkansas agri-businesses to improve operations. There were plenty of groundbreaking practices to shine a light on, such as Vet Veggies in Springdale, where owner Jerry Martin is seeking to refine techniques of hydroponic farming in a manner that can spread nationwide.
- Veterans Tour: In a similar vein as my ag tour, I spent a week focused on how Washington can better serve Arkansas’s veterans. The week-long tour focused on meeting with veterans to learn more about their needs in communities across the state; examining Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities serving Arkansans; and listening to voices advocating with and for former service members across our state.
- Advocating to Increase the Number of Doctors in Arkansas: Like the rest of the nation, Arkansas is experiencing a physician shortage in our hospitals and medical facilities across the state. To address this crisis, I joined with U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) to introduce a bill to lift the caps on Medicare-funded residency slots. I discussed this solution during a summit on graduate medical education at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences' Schmieding Center for Senior Health and Education.
- Promoting Economic Growth in the Natural State: I was on the road in Arkansas throughout the in-state work period meeting with community leaders and small business owners to discuss legislative efforts to encourage economic growth, increase employment and create a business-friendly environment.
- AETN’s Arkansas Week: I stopped by the AETN studio in Conway to discuss trade issues with Steve Barnes for the August 16 edition of Arkansas Week. You can watch our full conversation here.
- KASU’s Morning Edition: While in Jonesboro, I visited KASU’s studio to chat with Johnathan Reaves during Morning Edition. We discussed veterans’ issues, agriculture, trade and opioids. The entire interview is archived here.
- Talking Summer Meals with Fox16 News: During summer, many kids don’t have access to the free or reduced lunches they receive throughout the school year. One of the Senate Agriculture Committee’s top priorities is the reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act and I am working to include legislation I authored to address this issue into the larger reauthorization. Watch as Kathy Webb, Executive Director of the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, and I discuss how this bill would make a difference on the August 29 edition of the Fox16 morning show.
Aug 31 2018
Aug 01 2018
Thank you to the Arkansans who participated in my most recent telephone town hall that we conducted on Monday, July 30. I appreciated hearing the concerns and answering questions about a wide range of issues important to them including veterans benefits. If you missed the event you can listen to the conversation here.
Join our next tele-town hall by signing up here.
Jun 22 2018
Jun 18 2018
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced it is conducting a review of cases evaluated by a former pathologist at the Fayetteville VA Medical Center who was found to be impaired while at work. This physician has since been terminated. A preliminary investigation by the VA’s Office of the Inspector General found this physician misdiagnosed patients. The VA is now conducting a thorough review of all cases read by this pathologist and investigating the extent of misdiagnoses.
This misconduct is incredibly disturbing. Understandably, veterans and their families who receive care at the Fayetteville VA are frustrated and concerned about whether these misdiagnoses impact them. I am committed to getting answers for impacted veterans and their families and making sure the VA holds accountable those individuals responsible for this misconduct.
Unfortunately, at this time, we don’t know the extent of this pathologist’s errors. The VA is in the process of notifying patients whose cases were evaluated by this pathologist and will additionally contact these individuals after their case review is completed.
Patients who have questions or concerns can call 866-388-5428 or 479-582-7995. This call center is staffed by VA nurses specifically to answer questions and address patient concerns about this review process.
The VA announced a town hall meeting to be held on Monday, July 9 at 11 a.m. at the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks in Fayetteville in the auditorium of building 3 to discuss updates about its pathology reviews.
My office is ready and willing to help veterans and their families affected by this alleged negligence. For assistance, please call any of my Arkansas offices and let us know you are a veteran or a family member of a veteran who receives care at the Fayetteville VA. I am committed to ensuring that our veterans receive the health care they earned in service to our country and overseeing that the VA is providing the quality care they expect and deserve.
Tony St. James—host of “All Ag, All Day”—was kind enough to swing by my office during his second annual “All Ag, All Day DC Capitol Ag Tour.” We had a very good visit where we discussed the Farm Bill, hunger relief efforts and trade with Cuba.
The audio of my interview, along with the wide array of others Tony conducted during the tour, is available online here.
May 11 2018
My staff and I put together a video to show Arkansans what one of my typical days working for them in Washington, D.C. looks like. We wanted to give you a behind-the-scenes look at what goes on during an average day: meetings with Arkansans & stakeholders, attending committee hearings, giving a speech on the Senate floor and helping to celebrate worthy causes are just a few of the highlights. Watch the video to see for yourself how the day unfolds.
It's an honor to represent you. I'm working hard to use the power of this office for good, help make your life better and ensure that future generations will enjoy the many benefits our state and country have to offer.