Mother, son push for medical research
WASHINGTON — Ashley McGarrah of Rogers took Jaxon, her 3-year-old son, to Capitol Hill last week and asked three Republican members of the Arkansas congressional delegation to increase funding for the National Institutes of Health.
They met with U.S. Rep. Steve Womack of Rogers, U.S. Sen. John Boozman of Rogers and U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton of Dardanelle.
They also participated in the 2017 Rally for Medical Research as representatives of the American Heart Association.
Jaxon was born with a heart defect and has undergone three open-heart surgeries.
“Medical research saved my son’s life. Without medical research he wouldn’t be here today,” McGarrah said.
Jaxon’s heart problems have continued, she said, but she expressed confidence that researchers — with sufficient funding — can come up with solutions.
“Medical research can save my son’s life. It’s already done it once and we need it again, so we’re here today,” she said on Thursday, shortly before meeting with Cotton.
The trip, which included their first flight, was enjoyable for both mother and son, she said.
“Jaxon had a blast. … Jaxon took over the Capitol,” she said.
Crawford joins band for storm fundraiser
U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford played at a $15-per-person fundraiser Tuesday for victims of Hurricane Harvey. The Republican from Jonesboro sat in with the Wil Gravatt Band, a group that has been playing country and honky-tonk music on Capitol Hill for years.
Held at an American Legion Hall near the Capitol, the event raised money for the Food Bank of the Golden Crescent, a Victoria, Texas-based charitable organization.
The Wil Gravatt Band describes Crawford on its website as “the most talented member of Congress.”
In July, he joined them at a fundraiser for victims of the June 14 shooting in Alexandria, Va., which injured House Whip Steve Scalise and three others.
Crawford wasn’t the only lawmaker at the July event strumming a guitar and singing songs. U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., was also a featured performer at the July event, backed by a band called The Second Amendments.
Boozman speaks at POW/MIA ceremony
U.S. Sen. John Boozman spoke Friday at the Defense Department’s National POW/ MIA Recognition Day, acknowledging the risks taken by service members and the sacrifices they make.
The ceremony, on the lawn outside the Pentagon, included performances by the U.S. Army Band, honor guards and a flyover by two F/A-18 fighter jets.
The Republican from Rogers, who serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee, told the audience about Marine Pfc. Larry Roberts of Damascus, who went missing in action during World War II.
He was killed in 1943 on a small Pacific island while battling Japanese forces, and his remains were finally identified with the help of DNA testing. He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery earlier this year.
The nation is indebted to men like Roberts and is duty-bound to bring them home, Boozman said.
“Each day when I walk by the POW/MIA flag outside my office, it’s a reminder of the obligation we have to our prisoners of war, those missing in action and their families,” Boozman said.
“To our POWs, thank you for your steadfast commitment to our country in the hours, days, weeks, months and years of despair, torture and hardship. To the families waiting to be reunited with your loved ones, thank you for your sacrifice, thank you for your courage, and never, ever give up hope,” he added.
Westerman plans event during break
The House of Representatives isn’t scheduled to meet this week. Instead, lawmakers will spend the time in their districts. The Senate will convene Monday-Wednesday, breaking in time for the celebration of Rosh Hashanah.
The two-day holiday, sometimes referred to as the Jewish New Year, runs from sundown Wednesday until sundown Friday.
U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman plans to focus on transportation and infrastructure while he’s back in Arkansas. He’ll discuss those topics at a lunch Monday in Pine Bluff. He’ll also get an update in Benton on U.S. 70 widening. When it’s completed, the road linking Hot Springs and Interstate 30 will have five lanes.
On Tuesday, the Republican from Hot Springs will meet with trucking industry executives in Mulberry; on Wednesday, he will tour a rail line in El Dorado and discuss transportation and infrastructure in Camden. He’ll also tour Transitech in Fordyce. The company fixes railcars.
Cotton, Hill speak to credit unions
U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton and U.S. Rep. French Hill spoke last week to members of the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions.
The organization held its 2017 Congressional Caucus, drawing credit union officials from across the country.
Cotton, a Republican from Dardanelle, serves on the Senate Banking Committee. Hill, a Republican from Little Rock, serves on the House Financial Services Committee and is former CEO and chairman of the board of Delta Trust and Banking Corp.
Hill said he spoke about challenges posed by the Dodd-Frank Act, which was passed after the 2008 financial crisis. He also touched on efforts to overhaul the nation’s tax laws.
The White House has announced plans to unveil new tax legislation later this month.
Credit unions are currently exempt from federal corporate income taxes. Maintaining that exemption “remains our number one legislative priority,” the association states on its website. Planning to visit the nation’s capital? Know something happening in Washington, D.C.? Please contact Frank Lockwood at (202) 662-7690 or email@example.com. Want the latest from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s
Washington bureau? It’s available on Twitter, @LockwoodFrank
Ashley McGarrah and her son, Jaxon, 3, take in the sights on Capitol Hill last week.