Roby Brock

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Roby Brock of covers business and political news happening in Arkansas.

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As state lawmakers prepare for an April 6th special session to consider the fate of the governor’s health care reform program, Arkansas Works, two state lawmakers say there are multiple issues to address to secure the votes needed for passage.

Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson, R-Little Rock, and Rep. Clarke Tucker, D-Little Rock, appeared on this week’s edition of Talk Business & Politics to explain how Republicans and Democrats may be persuaded to support the Medicaid expansion plan.

Jorge Royan / Wikimedia Commons

Gov. Asa Hutchinson will be joining a group of Arkansas agricultural business interests on a trade trip to Cuba later this month.

The delegation is being led by the Rogers-based World Trade Center Arkansas and is expected to include representatives from Tyson Foods, Riceland Foods and other in-state agri-related businesses. The dates of the trip are Sept. 28-30.

“Governor Hutchinson is set to visit Cuba at the end of the month to promote Arkansas agriculture. We will have more details in the coming weeks,” governor’s spokesman J.R. Davis tells Talk Business & Politics.

Arkansas’ May unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.7% from April, but the measuring stick for job health was down 0.8% from one year ago.

Employment numbers rose by 900 for the month and unemployment ranks added 600 to the jobless rolls between April and May in Arkansas.

During the past 12 months, 46,100 Arkansans have been added to the workforce, while 3,000 have exited. Economists speculate that those departing the workforce are a combination of those giving up looking for work, those moving out of state, and retirements led by Baby Boomers.

Roby Brock / Talk Business & Politics

Members of a task force looking at health reforms in Arkansas took a detour down a philosophical road regarding contract management at the Department of Human Services in a discussion that lasted more than an hour.

Tom Cotton
Talk Business & Politics

U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas, said Wednesday that he does not think President Obama is willing to commit the resources necessary to defeat ISIS, the militant terrorist group responsible for the kidnapping and killing of Westerners, including American journalists and workers.

“I’m sure the President would like to eliminate the Islamic State (ISIS) and he’s stated his strategy is to defeat and degrade them – which is a fine strategy – but I think he lacks the commitment to put the resources behind that strategy to achieve those proper ends,” Cotton said.

Senator Tom Cotton
Talk Business & Politics

Arkansas’ junior senator, Tom Cotton, likes the crowded GOP field of potential Presidential candidates and says he’s a long way from making a decision on who he will support.

Sen. Cotton, R-Ark., was a guest on this week’s edition of Talk Business & Politics with Roby Brock, which airs Monday evening at 6:06 p.m. on KUAR.

As part of the review process under Amendment 82, the state’s superproject amendment, lawmakers have received an independent consultant’s analysis of the proposed $87 million Lockheed Martin  Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) bond issue that will be at the center of debate in next week’s special session.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson made the official call for legislators to meet in special session beginning Tuesday, May 26 to vote on helping lure the military’s new JLTV production facility to Camden. The new military vehicle will replace the long-running Humvee vehicle.

Governor Hutchinson Facebook
Arkansas Economic Development Commission

You haven’t seen much out of Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s public schedule the last two days. That’s because the new Arkansas governor has been on the West Coast for a little R & R. Not “rest and relaxation,” but for a few “rendezvous and recruitment.”

Rex Nelson
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Rex Nelson has joined Pine Bluff-based Simmons First National Corp. as director of corporate communications, the financial institution announced on Monday.

“Simmons is a vital and growing company and with that growth comes an added challenge and responsibility to communicate well to our customers, associates, communities, and investors. Rex’s experiences in government, journalism, and public affairs give him a unique skill set that will create a great foundation for taking our communications to the next level,” said Simmons First chairman and CEO George Makris.

File. A look inside the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Amidst a backdrop described by several podium speakers as a religious revival, Central Arkansas’ startup community held a celebration on Monday to announce a major grant that will spark more activity in the state’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Winrock International CEO Rodney Ferguson stepped to the stage and said, “I’m not a Baptist preacher, but it sure feels like a revival here today.”