Weekly Columns

Arkansas in August

Aug 08 2014

Arkansans understand the weather in our state changes rapidly, but one thing is certain – summers are hot! So it may surprise you to find out that one of my favorite times of year is August, the pinnacle of heat and humidity. It’s one of my favorite times of year because I get to spend the month in Arkansas. 

The practice of Congress adjourning for the month of August dates back to the second session of the First Congress in 1790. Ironically, members wanted to leave the nation’s capital during the heat and humidity of the summer so they went to work at home. This practice was made law in 1970 as part of the Legislative Reorganization Act. 

As a regular feature of the Congressional calendar, the August recess is a time during which my colleagues and I go home and spend significant time in the state we represent. The term recess can be misleading. It’s a break from usual work. The break from Washington gives me an opportunity to travel around the state to meet with Arkansans, attend weekday meetings and host an agriculture tour. 

Arkansas’s economy is dependent on agriculture. It accounts for nearly one-quarter of our state’s economic activity, making it a very important industry to our state. For this reason, I host an annual state-wide tour of agriculture facilities. We are blessed to have such hardworking Arkansas families who support our agriculture industry. We all have a responsibility to protect and promote this community. As part of the tour, I will be meeting with producers, ranchers and other agribusinesses, touring agriculture facilities, and speaking at a farm bureau meeting. 

I appreciate this break from Washington because I’d much rather spend time in our state visiting with fellow Arkansans and hearing what issues are of concern to you. While traveling around the state, I gain a better understanding of how to vote and make improvements to our laws to make sure that our tax dollars are being used best. 

The good news is that even when I’m not able to join events in person, today’s technology makes it easier to stay in contact. An open line of communication with Arkansans is one of the best ways to fulfill my commitment to the people of our state.  To stay in contact, I host tele-town halls, have Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts and use these tools to learn about what you think of the issues under debate in Washington. Most recently I hosted a Facebook Q&A. The Q&A is a convenient way for people to reach me and have an open discussion to answer questions on a wide range of issues. This technology makes it easier to keep Arkansans informed about the discussions in Washington as well as the services I am honored to assist Arkansans with around the state. I look forward to answering Facebook questions again very soon.

I look forward to spending August in Arkansas. Please don’t hesitate to stop and talk with me if you see me.