Saturday, January 24, 2009

Here's to Our Health

Governor Mike Beebe has proposed in his State of the State address an $88 million-a-year health plan that includes the Fayetteville Satellite Campus of the UAMS Medical School train health care professional, a system of regional Trauma Centers to deal quickly with major injuries, funding for Community Health Clinics like St. Francis House, home health care, ARKids First, and other important health-related funding with leveraged matching federal funds. Mayor Lioneld Jordan said in his State of the City Address that securing the UAMS Satellite Campus was his number one priority for local economic development. Chamber President Steve Clark says health care is a key to our economic development.

Yesterday, State Senator Sue Madison (D-Fayetteville), State Rep. Jim House (D-Fayetteville), and State Rep. Uvalde Lindsey (D-Fayetteville) indicated that they would support the health care package. Only State Senator Bill Pritchard (R-Elkins) told the local Cowbirds that he was not committed to supporting the tobacco taxes to fund the programs, because he didn't get what he wanted for drug courts. And even if he did, he added, he would rather tax booze than smokes.

WTF? What's wrong with Prickard? Does he need attention? Is it a mental health issue? Does he think we don't need the med center and the community health clinics? Does he think he has more political moxie than Beebe? Smarter than the local advisory board? Is he flipping the bird to the local donors who provided the $3 million match for the satellite med school? Is he a tool for the out of state lobbyists for Big Tobacco?

Give him a call this weekend and check on him. 442-8611. You can also send Pritchard an email at, although we hear he brags that he is not influenced by messages from constituents.

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