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The Sun-Times - Heber Springs, AR
  • Paul Rawlings: OCTOBER 3, 1963—OCTOBER 3, 2013

  • When the 2013 Arkansas Republican congressional delegation, as all Republicans for the past 75 years, campaigned on the promise to make government “smaller” few people expected “smaller” meant reducing government all the way to 0.
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  • President John F. Kennedy in his dedication speech at Greers Ferry Dam on October 3, 1963 described the Arkansas Congressional delegation in the following language:
     
    “I suppose pound for pound the Arkansas delegation in the Congress of the United States wields more influence than any other delegation of any of the other 49 States. And I don’t  know whether  the people of Arkansas realize that your delegation holds within its hands, in a very real sense, not only a good many important measures which affect this State, but measures which also affect the country.”
     
    “Senator Bill Fulbright, Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee handled and passed legislation with great distinction which gave us some hope of preventing a nuclear war with the Soviet Union.  Senator John McClellan is handling the Congressional investigation of crime and corruption.  Congressman Oren Harris is handling legislation dealing with mental health and building medical schools. Congressman Trimble is chairman of the Rules Committee which all bills must go through before they go to the floor of the House. Congressman Wilbur Mills, Chairman of the most influential Ways and Means Committee in the House which just 10 days ago passed a tax reform bill.”
     
    “I think it is important that you in Arkansas realize that the decision you make in electing your Congressman and Senator has an influence not only on the lives of the people of this State, but also on the lives of the people of the entire country.  And I think this State can take the greatest pride and satisfaction in the way it has met this great responsibility in the people it sent to deal with the Nation’s business.”
     
    ARKANSAS CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION ALL DEMOCRATS IN 1963
     
    John McClellan served longer than any other U.S. Senator from Arkansas (1943-1977) during which time he was chairman of the Appropriations Committee  22 years and chairman of the Senate Permanent subcommittee on Investigations 15 years.
     
    J. William Fulbright was U.S Senator from Arkansas 1945-1975 and served as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
     
    Wilbur D. Mills was an Arkansas congressman1939-1977 and served as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee and is responsible for Medicare becoming law.
     
    Took Gathings was an Arkansas congressman 1939-1969 and served as chairman of the House Agriculture Committee.
     
    James W. Trimble was an Arkansas Congressman from 1944-1966 and a member of the powerful House Rules Committee
     
    Oren Harris was an Arkansas Congressman 1953-1966 and served as chairman of the House Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce and directed 4 House sub committees.
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    Former President Clinton in his 50th anniversary speech of the Greers Ferry dedication
    did not say (and no informed person believes) the 2013 Arkansas congressional delegation made up of 5 Republicans and 1 Democrat  “wields more influence than any other delegation of the other 49 states.”
     
    95% of Americans on October 3, 2013 disapprove of the way the Arkansas congressional delegation, and the delegation from the other 49 states deal with the nation’s business.
     
    In 2013 not one Arkansas Republican is serving as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the Appropriations Committee, the Senate Permanent subcommittee on Investigations, the House Ways and Means Committee, the House Agriculture Committee, the House Rules Committee, or the House Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce.
     
    Not one Arkansas Republican can take credit for sponsoring or passing a bill, such as Medicare which Wilbur Mills sponsored and passed enabling over 50 million old and disabled Americans to live a longer and better life.
     
    When the 2013 Arkansas Republican congressional delegation, as all Republicans for the past 75 years, campaigned on the promise to make government “smaller” few people expected  “smaller” meant  reducing government all the way to 0.
     
    At midnight on September 30, 2013 the Arkansas Republican Congressional Delegation along with all other Republican Congressional delegations “shut the government down.”
     
    Examine the records of  President Clinton, Senators Robinson, McClellan, Fulbright and Congressmen, Mills, Gathings, Trimble and Harris and the “influence” they had on important issues affecting Arkansas and the nation.
     
    Examine the record of the Republicans Arkansas voters sent to Washington.  The American people have never selected an Arkansas Republican to live in the White House.  Name one Arkansas Republican who is/was as “influential” and affected Arkansas and national issues as much as President Clinton, Senators Robinson, McClellan, Fulbright, Congressmen, Mills, Gathings, Trimble, Harris and other Democrats who could be named.
     
    It is important who the voters of Arkansas send to Washington to do the “nation’s business” and history shows whether they are a Republican or a Democrat does affect how they do the “nation’s business” so at every election please examine the record of the candidates and the record of their party and choose wisely.
     
    (Paul Rawlings of Heber Springs contributes each week to the editorial pages of The Sun-Times)
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