Dr. Boozman's Check-up

I discussed the magnitude of the recent Office of Personnel Management (OPM) breaches, especially the second, larger breach that targeted some of "the most sensitive information we have" with Elizabeth Harrington of the Washington Free-Beacon this morning. 

Here's the takeaway:

The security breaches have left the personal information of roughly 22 million federal employees in the hands of hackers, including Social Security numbers, fingerprints, and passwords.

Individuals applying for security clearances include members of SEAL Team 6.

“The second breach, you’ve got military personnel,” Boozman said. “We might have a situation, you never know, SEAL Team 6, their records are in there because they went through the same security clearance.”

“So it’s just really very, very serious,” he said.

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman recognized the 60th anniversary of integration in Hoxie in the Congressional Record, the official proceedings of Congress. 

Boozman’s office will present a copy of the Congressional Record at events commemorating this anniversary. The following are the remarks printed in the Congressional Record: 

Mr. President, I rise today to honor the resilience, determination and courage of the community of Hoxie, Arkansas for its leadership in school desegregation and the foundation it laid for integration across the country.

This year, the community is celebrating the 60th anniversary of the first day of school for the African American students who became known as the Hoxie 21. 

This small Northeast Arkansas community voluntarily integrated its schools in the summer of 1955 in response to the Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education. The reasoning for the school board and Superintendent Kunkel Edward Vance’s decision was simple; integration was "morally right in the sight of God." 

On July 11, 1955, African American students made history in Hoxie and helped build the momentum for integration. 

This unprecedented move began with a smooth transition, and the students were welcomed into the school. The news of a small town in the South desegregating peacefully caught the attention of Life Magazine, and in its July 1955 issue the

story captured the attention of the world. Unfortunately, the media attention brought with it an avalanche of negativity despite the positive and peaceful progression.  

This action was unpopular in the South and while segregationists flooded the community in protest, families of the Hoxie 21 and school leaders stood their ground and with great faith persevered against the inequality.  

The Hoxie School Board fought back by filing suit on the segregationists, charging the segregationists with trespassing on school property, threatening picket lines, organizing boycotts and intimidating school officials. Citizens of Hoxie of all races peacefully waited for a resolution, and with encouragement from the NAACP were able to stand up against the verbal and physical threats from the segregationists.  Their patience and fortitude was soon rewarded.  In September, the FBI became involved in the investigation.  Two months later, Federal District Judge Thomas C. Trimble ruled that segregationists prevented integration in Hoxie, and issued a temporary restraining order against them. In December, a permanent ban against the segregationist was issued and later upheld by the Supreme Court, freeing the school of their influence. It was the first mediation in support of a school district trying to comply with Brown v. Board of Education - a momentous moment for the country and a victory for integration. 

This decision was instrumental in desegregating the entire country and was a major victory for the 14th Amendment. This demonstrates that change only comes when people stand up for what is morally right. 

I congratulate the town of Hoxie and the Hoxie 21 on this milestone. I am encouraged by your dedication to share this history and positive message. I thank the Hoxie 21 and the community for their bravery in the face of adversity. It is an honor to tell your story and educate people about your struggle. 

ICYMI: Boozman Op-Ed, Just Walk Away

"The regime in Tehran is clearly in the driver's seat and the President is just along for the ride."

Jul 06 2015

I highlighted my concerns with a potential deal to stop Iran from securing a nuclear weapon in this piece published in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on July 6, 2015. 


“A nuclear armed Iran would be a threat to the United States, our allies and the world as a whole. While resolving this crisis diplomatically is in everyone’s best interest, the framework the Obama Administration has presented gives little confidence that the agreement under consideration is the right solution.” 

“In the years since the P5+1 negotiations began, the goalposts have moved from dismantling Iran’s clandestine nuclear weapons program to containing it.” 

“The President already caved to allowing the Iranians to maintain the capacity to continue enrichment activities at Fordow. This is no ordinary site. It is a fortified, underground military bunker built into the side of a mountain. It was constructed in secret and serves one purpose—to covertly produce weapons-grade highly enriched uranium.” 

“Our longstanding policy that the Iranian regime must abandon its nuclear ambitions is itself being abandoned.” 

“The regime in Tehran is clearly in the driver’s seat and the President is just along for the ride. The danger is obvious. In a push to cement his legacy, President Obama is willing to concede just about every demand with which we started out. Unless we walk away, the end result will be chaos for the region, and the world at large, for years to come.”

The major federal disaster declaration, signed by President Obama on June 26, 2015, offers Individual Assistance in the counties of Crawford, Garland, Howard, Jefferson, Little River, Miller, Perry, Sebastian, and Sevier counties. Additional counties may be included at a later date.

There are several ways to apply for disaster assistance. 

  • Individuals can call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585 for the speech- and hearing-impaired. If you use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362.
  • Another option is to register online at www.disasterassistance.gov or via web-enabled phone or tablet at m.fema.gov. 

The toll free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m.to 10 p.m. CDT, seven days a week. 

In most cases, a FEMA inspector will call you within a few days of registering to arrange a visit to your damaged home or apartment. A FEMA inspector will always have an official badge visible during the inspection. Request to see identification before allowing the inspector to enter your home. 

If you qualify for FEMA assistance, you will receive a federal government check or the funds will be directly deposited into your designated bank account. A separate letter also will be sent to you explaining how you may use the funds.   

If you have questions about FEMA assistance, call 1-800-320-FEMA (3362). You can also visit www.disasterassistance.gov or www.fema.gov.

It was a busy week in Washington that included decisions by the Supreme Court, a hearing on the cyberattack at OPM and honoring an Arkansas war hero. Read more in this Week in Review. 

  • SCOTUS Rulings- The Supreme Court ruled President Obama’s health care law allows premium subsidies for people buying health insurance through exchanges established by the federal government. Justice Scalia pointedly noted in the dissent that the Court went to great interpretive lengths to protect the law. I will continue to work with my colleagues to repeal and replace this failed program and give the American people real reform that puts them back in charge of their healthcare decisions. The Supreme Court also legalized same-sex marriage in a ruling today. I respectfully disagree with this ruling. This doesn’t change the fact that I believe marriage is between a man and a woman.  I am a cosponsor of the State Marriage Defense Act of 2015, legislation which respects the definition of marriage held by the people of each state and protects states from the federal government's efforts to force any other definition upon them. I’m disappointed this issue was not allowed to be decided by the states.

  • OPM Data Breach –As Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government (FSGG), I am conducting oversight of the growing  problem of cybersecurity attacks of government agencies. The head of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) testified before the FSGG subcommittee about the recent data breach. As I told Neil Cavuto following the hearing, the government is doing a “sloppy, shoddy job” of protecting data.

  • Creating Opportunities for American Jobs and Economic Growth: The Senate passed, with my support, Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). This legislation ensures that we can negotiate a fair trade deal while increasing transparency and maintaining Congress’s important role in the process. This requires text of any trade deal be made public 60 days before Congress votes, requires the administration to consult with Congress during negotiations of a trade deal and sets clear negotiation objectives for the administration. International trade supports more than 340,000 Arkansas jobs. Opening new markets for Arkansas’s agriculture producers, small businesses and globally-engaged workforce will drive that number up.

  • Perryville Post Office  – Congressman French Hill and I introduced companion legislation to name the Perryville Post Office in honor of Sergeant Harold George Bennett, a Perryville native. Sgt. Bennett spent 179 days as a POW during the Vietnam War and his captors executed him on June 25, 1965. Thursday marked the 50th anniversary of his death. 
  • Disaster Declaration – The President issued a disaster declaration for Arkansas because of severe storms and flooding in the state. I was proud to join members of the Arkansas Congressional Delegation to support Governor Hutchinson’s request for federal disaster assistance for 33 Arkansas counties. We wrote a letter requesting assistance from the President.
  • Improving Rural Drinking Water – I joined Senators Jon Tester (D-MT) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) to introduce the Water Supply Cost Savings Act, legislation that would provide cost-effective solutions to improve access to high quality drinking water in rural communities. 

  • Honoring Arkansas Electric Cooperative Volunteers –  I honored Arkansas Electric Cooperative volunteers who helped provide electric service to remote villages of Guatemala in the Congressional Record. Read my statement here
  • Arkansas Airports Receive FAA Grants - The FAA awarded nearly $2 million to five Arkansas airports for improvements to runways, taxiways and aprons. These infrastructure upgrades will help accommodate future growth and development throughout the state. 
  • KASU Interview: I joined Jonesboro’s KASU radio earlier this week to discuss the busy week in Washington. We talked about trade issues and why I support Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), water regulations and the Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) and efforts in the Senate to comply with the World Trade Organization (WTO). 
  • Thank You Interns - Thanks to the students who spent their summer in my Washington office helping the people of Arkansas. If you know of a qualified candidate who might be interested in learning about the legislative process and constituent service you can find an application here.

I honored Arkansas Electric Cooperative volunteers who helped provide electric service to remote villages of Guatemala. I recognized their efforts in the Congressional Record with the following statement:

Mr. President, I rise today to recognize the work of 12 power linemen from nine electric cooperatives in Arkansas for their work to bring reliable electricity to citizens in Guatemala. 

The Arkansas linemen dedicated more than two weeks to completely change the lives of more than 1,390 residents in two villages in rural Guatemala – Jolom I’Jix and Zapotal. Through construction activities such as installation of poles, distribution transformers, household connections and meters, these volunteers extended the electric distribution system four miles, connecting homes to an electric grid powered by a small hydroelectric plant. 

Since 2013, Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas volunteers have worked to improve the lives of Guatemalans by providing electricity. The significance of this project stretches to impact numerous aspects of daily life for these residents. Electricity is a critical element in improving the quality of life and to providing healthcare, education, access to clean water, and economic growth. Equipped with this newfound source of electricity, hope for a brighter future exists for subsistence farmers whose main worry is simply providing food for their family. 

This effort, funded by participating co-ops and supporters in Arkansas, continues the state’s storied history of making an impact. By being a beacon of good for these villagers, the linemen were able to engrave a lasting impact, which will help future generations of Guatemalans. 

I offer my sincere gratitude to all those who contributed to make a difference for those who are truly in need. Doug Evans, Will Glover, Kyle Metcalf, Andy Caywood, Michael Counts, Andy Ward, Brent Hufstedler, Kirk Kempson, Joey Burk, Kris Rankin, Paul Garrison and Ryan Hayes; thank you for your dedication and service to helping connect citizens of Guatemala to electric service.

Today I want to share the story about an organization that was established by Dr. Merlin Augustine in honor and appreciation of his parents, Merlin Sr. and Nora Augustine.

Growing up Dr. Augustine had great role models who were always showing compassion during a time when there were no social programs to assist those in need. M & N Augustine epitomizes the spirit of the way Dr. Augustine’s parents lived when they were raising their family in Louisiana. Merlin Sr. was a janitor who raised sweet potatoes and sugar cane on the family farm. Salary may have been meager for a man with a wife and six children, but he never hesitated to help out a neighbor who was in need -- or offer his son's bedroom when a family needed shelter. Merlin Jr. thought his father was too generous, but eventually he came to understand it wasn't enough to toss a check in the collection plate. He had to do more, and that's what the M&N Foundation aims to do.

The M&N Augustine Foundation is a nonprofit organization helping people who have nowhere else to go and in need of assistance with food, clothing, medicine and shelter. The M&N Augustine Foundation has helped people all the way from Fayetteville to Africa. The Foundation’s outreach to feed the hungry is celebrated with volunteers throughout Northwest Arkansas the Saturday before Easter with its annual Easter Feed. This year was the 22nd year of this event. More than 6,000 people were supported by this effort.

I am proud to highlight the M&N Augustine Foundation for its faith-based outreach. Numerous organizations and individuals throughout our communities and the country are motivated by their faith to help others. People of faith often serve tirelessly behind the scenes to better our communities. Join me today by celebrating those who have generously given back to our community and recognize their faithful acts of service. Let’s #FaithitForward.