Senator Missy Irvin, Rep. John Payton and Rep. Josh Miller were sworn in on Monday, January 14, along with the other members of the Arkansas House and Senate. The public galleries of both were packed to standing room only watching government in action.

Supreme Court Justice Dan Kemp performed the swearing in ceremony. Senate Pro-Tem Jim Hendren spoke to the Senate about some of the bad things that have been in the press concerning members who have been alleged to have participated in kickback schemes and have exhibited greed, dishonesty and selfishness. Their behaviors  have been a, “Betrayal their duty to their constituents, their oath of office and to the colleagues of this Congress. We can not change the past but we can control the events as we move forward. If you were to believe the things that are said and written, you would think the Congress is a holy corrupt institution. This is a lie. We have members in this Congress who are some of the finest individuals I have ever known.”

“Let us begin this session of the General Assembly with the determination that the culture of greed and corruption is over. We will not participate in it,  we will not ignore it and we will not tolerate those who do. This does not just apply only to members of the Arkansas Senate. To the lobbyists, business interests, organizations and those who have a vital role to play in our process. Be on notice you will be held accountable as well”.

He went on to say, “We can’t blame the lack of trust in this institution on media bias, blogs or even on organizations that traffic on spreading hate and mistrust. Our colleagues brought this on us all. So to any member or lobbyists, business interests or organization that is tempted to stray from the boundaries of unethical behavior. I ask you to realize that your actions bring this to us all.”

You may hear Hendren’s entire speech on The Sun Times Facebook page.