Dr. Boozman's Check-up

As the father of three daughters, I understand the nervous feelings that arise when you hand over the car keys to a teenager. Learning to drive is an exciting time for all teens, but it also comes with a big responsibility. Parents play an important role in educating about the dangers of driving. 

According to a recent survey, motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death among teenagers 14-18-years-old. Safe driving instruction by parents is a powerful step to ensuring teen drivers’ safety. In order to help provide parents with more resources to teach teens about safe driving, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has designated this week  as National Teen Driver Safety Week.  With many holidays approaching and teens driving to see family and friends, this week provides a great opportunity to talk to your teen about safe driving habits. 

Arkansas is a unique state where teens can earn a learner’s permit at 14 years old, a provisional license at 16 years old and an unrestricted license at 18. Due to the fact that teens in Arkansas can begin learning how to drive at 14 years old means that it is important to start teaching them safe habits while on the road. 

Although there are many important rules of the road to learn, National Teen Driver Safety Week focuses on five areas to improve their safety.  Many of these safety points reinforce laws already on the books such as no cell phone use, no extra passengers, no speeding, no alcohol, and no driving without using a seat belt. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration refers to this at the, “5 to Drive” rule.

As a parent it is important to set the rules for teen drivers before they hit the road, but also to reflect those same rules while driving.  For more resources on teen driving safety, please visit the National Teen Driving Safety Week or the teen driver education program.

I receive letters from many young Arkansans who want to know more about policy making. Connor, an Arkansas Boy Scout who is working on his Citizenship in the Nation merit badge wrote to me asking about illegal child immigration.

World Food Day

Oct 16 2014

Food insecurity knows no boundaries, but the good news is it is preventable and we are in a position to help. While the U.S. has made significant contributions to improve nutrition and agriculture worldwide, one in nine around world suffer from chronic hunger. A lack of adequate, nutritious food can harm the development of young children and can contribute to instability in some countries.     

This is why I am working to keep our commitment to fighting chronic hunger and malnutrition. 

The Global Food Security Act of 2014, which I have introduced along with U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Mike Johanns (R-NE), Chris Coons (D-DE), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), and Ben Cardin (D-MD) to combat hunger across the globe, improve nutrition in developing countries, and bolster U.S. security. 

The Global Food Security Act of 2014 would:

  • Highlight the role that agricultural development plays in inclusive economic growth, especially for women and small-scale producers.
  • Require the Administration to develop a whole-of-government strategy to address global food insecurity and malnutrition. 
  • Emphasize the importance of leveraging resources and expertise from U.S. academic institutions, non-governmental organizations, faith-based groups, private voluntary organizations, and the private sector.
  • Improve upon existing monitoring and evaluation practices to ensure the effective use of U.S. taxpayer dollars. 

Learn more about the Global Food Security Act of 2014

Bullying has long been prevalent during adolescence, but the stories of bullying are more violent than ever before. We need to eliminate the thought that ‘kids will be kids’ and these acts are just a 'rite of passage.' The reality is that bullying has long lasting impacts for both the bullied and bully. 

Children who are bullied may often underperform academically, develop self-esteem issues, and suffer from depression or anxiety - a result of being led to feel isolated from other kids. On the other hand, children who exhibit bullying behavior may engage in more risky behavior as they enter into teen and young adulthood. Some of these behaviors may include alcohol and drug abuse and aggressiveness toward others and others’ property, which could lead to criminal convictions. These behaviors lead both sets of children with an inability to reach their full potential. 

The unfortunate reality is that bullying takes place every day at all grade levels. We all have a responsibility to eliminate bullying and help create an environment in which students feel safe and accepted all the time. To raise awareness, October is designated as National Bullying Prevention Month. This important campaign aims to bring awareness on how to assess, recognize, prevent, and educate school administrators, teachers, parents and students on combatting bullying in their schools and communities. It is a month to engage each other and build a safe environment for discussions on bullying prevention to occur. 

It is important that we, as adults and parents, respond immediately to bullying when we recognize it – whether it be physical, social or cyber bullying. There are many warning signs that a child is being bullied or is bullying others. You can learn more about what bullying is, who is at risk, as well as response and prevention methods at this informative website

As a former member of the Rogers School board, a father to three daughters, and grandfather to one granddaughter, I understand the importance of this on-going discussion and the need for schools to implement their own anti-bullying guidelines. We must change the culture of bullying and put a stop to it once and for all. While we spend this month raising awareness about this issue, preventing bullying is something we need to work on year-round, at school and at home.

Ebola Clearinghouse: This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs & Border Protection (CBP) put in place new layers of entry screening at five U.S. airports that receive over 94 percent of travelers from the Ebola-affected nations of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Stay up-to-date on CDC’s efforts to combat the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and protect Americans at home at the new agency-created clearinghouse: http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/index.html 

VA Updates Disability Claims: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today announced that it is introducing a uniformed disability claims form to better serve veterans, families and survivors. VA believes that a standardized claim filing process will make it easier for veterans and their survivors to clearly state what benefits they are seeking and provide information that is necessary to process their claims and appeals. 

Get the Latest on Fighting ISIL: The State Department launched www.state.gov/counteringisil where it will host the most up-to-date public information about the coalition, including the latest stats on members and their public support for coalition efforts. The Department of Defense (DOD) has also launched a website, www.defense.gov/counter-ISIL, which has up-to-the-minute information about the military line of this coalition effort against ISIL terrorists.

Mailing of Social Security Statements Resumes: The Social Security Administration announced it will resume the periodic mailing of Social Security Statements—once every five years for most workers—after it discontinued the practice in 2011. In addition, the agency is encouraging everyone to create a secure “My Social Security” account to immediately access their statement online 24 hours a day.

In case you missed our interview with Jonesboro’s KASU radio, you can listen to the interview here. We covered a wide range of issues including the threats of ISIS and Ebola to our national security and discussed the disastrous critical habitat proposal.

In a recent interview with "60 Minutes" President Obama said that U.S. intelligence agencies underestimated the threat from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). In this edition of 'From the Mailbag' Senator Boozman discusses the need to confront these terrorists and the threat they pose to our national security.

Last week the World Health Organization (WHO) warned the number of Ebola cases could hit 21,000 by early November unless efforts to curb the outbreak are ramped up. I recently participated in a Senate committee hearing on the global challenge and public health threat of the Ebola crisis in West Africa and what our country can and is doing to help. In this edition of "From the Mailbag" I answer a question about the threat of Ebola. 

Time is running out for Arkansas students interested in applying for an excellent opportunity to spend an educational week in our nation’s capital and earn money for college.

Established in 1962, the United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) is a unique educational experience for outstanding high school students interested in pursuing careers in public service. The program gives an opportunity to two student leaders from each state to spend a week in Washington experiencing their national government in action.

USSYP’s next Washington Week will take place March 7 - 14, 2015 and each student delegate will receive a $5,000 undergraduate scholarship to the college or university of their choice.

During Washington Week, student delegates will hear major policy addresses by Senators, cabinet members, officials from the Departments of State and Defense and directors of other federal agencies, as well as participate in a meeting with a Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

All transportation, hotel and meal expenses will be provided by The Hearst Foundations.

The deadline for Arkansas students to apply for the program is October 3, 2014. Interested students should contact their high school principal. Arkansas’s USSYP delegates will be chosen by the state department of education.

For more information on USSYP, please visit www.ussenateyouth.org

Arkansas boasts a rich history and significant role in helping preserve law and order to our developing nation. Through the legacy of famous Hanging Judge Isaac Parker and great lawmen like Deputy U.S. Marshal Bass Reeves, Fort Smith established itself as the center of the U.S. Marshals Service history. Today we celebrate the 225th anniversary of the creation of the Marshals Service. I can’t think of a better way to honor the men and women who served our nation’s oldest and most versatile federal law enforcement agency than with the groundbreaking of a national museum dedicated to the work they have done since 1789. 

I’ve been proud to play a part in bringing the U.S. Marshals Museum home to Fort Smith and joining with other members of the Arkansas Congressional Delegation to honor the service of our Marshals with a commemorative coin. This has all been the result of the vision, hard work and dedication of Fort Smith residents. We should be proud of our history and I’m happy to see us embracing our past to provide opportunities for the future.   

Read about the groundbreaking
Times Record - Ground Broken For $50 Million Marshals Museum In Fort Smith

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - Marshals Museum on its way to fruition

The City Wire - Large crowd gathers in Fort Smith for U.S. Marshals Museum groundbreaking