Congressional Recap: Ag Forum, Plant Tours Part Of In-State Schedules

by Talk Business and Politics ([email protected]) 62 views 

It was a week off in the nation’s capital, but members of the state’s congressional delegation spent the week back in their districts and filing key financial reports heading into the 2016 campaign.

The following is the week that was in the nation’s capital.

At least 60 people spent Wednesday (Oct. 14) learning that economic development can go hand in hand with agriculture as part of a forum on both issues.

U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Jonesboro, hosted the 1st annual Agri-Tech Symposium in the Arkansas State University Convocation Center auditorium. A pair of California-based agriculture venture capitalists, Eric O’Brien and Clay Mitchell, spoke about how farmers can build capital in a tough industry.

O’Brien and Mitchell, who founded Fall Line Capital, both said technology has changed agriculture as well as some of the costs of operating a farm. Pete Nelson, chairman and CEO of AG Innovation Development in Memphis, said new technologies and logistics help Northeast Arkansas farmers get their crops out of the ground.

Nelson did say that the region’s crops face tough issues, like water erosion and pests.
Crawford said the meeting Wednesday is the first of many that he plans to host for farmers to learn more about the industry.

The state’s senior U.S. Senator this week paid visits to two businesses, learning about both businesses’ plans. U.S. Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., on Thursday visited Taber Extrusions in Russellville, as well as Bad Boy Mowers in Batesville on Wednesday.

As for the visit to Taber, Boozman said the company has had several new innovations in the military, aerospace and automotive industries.

“As an industry-leader, Taber Extrusions sets a high standard of quality for its products. The company’s commitment to innovation and excellence is unmatched in the industry. I appreciate the opportunity to see the high-tech work performed at the Russellville facility and I’ll continue to promote pro-growth policies that help businesses in Arkansas compete in the global economy,” Boozman said in a statement.

On the tour through Batesville, Boozman hosted a town hall meeting with Attorney General Leslie Rutledge at the University of Arkansas Batesville campus and toured the Independence Power Plant at nearby Newark.

Thursday was also the deadline for federal candidates to turn in their third quarter campaign financial reports to the Federal Election Commission.

Former U.S. Prosecuting Attorney Conner Eldridge, a Democrat who is challenging Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., raised $403,040 during the third quarter while spending $2,278.

Eldridge reported having $400,761 cash on hand after Thursday’s deadline.
Boozman, who is running for a second term, reported in July that he had raised $858,640 and spent $254,537 so far this year.

However, according to published reports, Boozman said late Thursday that he had roughly $1.1 million cash on hand, raising $108,238 in the quarter.

Other lawmakers also reported their totals.
U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Jonesboro, reported having $419,342 cash on hand as of Sept. 30, raising $270,598 and spending $249,286 so far this year.

U.S. Rep. French Hill, R-Little Rock, reported having $542,590 in the bank as of Sept. 30. Hill, who is in his first term, has raised $609,913 so far this year and has spent $112,575.

U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, R-Rogers brought in $259,966 and spent $146,488, leaving $915,712 cash on hand.

U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman, R-Hot Springs, had $220,133 in the bank after raising $244,386 and spending $116,454 so far this year.

The filing period for candidates is from noon Nov. 2 until noon Nov. 9. The primary is March 1, 2016, with the runoff on March 22, 2016. The general election is Nov. 8, 2016.

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