Wed July 06, 2022

By Jeff Smithpeters

Senator John Boozman tours Hempstead County Courthouse, meets officials, staff, talks economy, inflation

County Judge Jerry Crane (left) and County Attorney Jim Burke (center) speak with Senator John Boozman (right) during the latter's tour of Hope's new courthouse

Today Senator John Boozman made a stop at 11:00 a.m. in Hope to tour the new courthouse and visit with its staff. The visit was part of a swing through southwest Arkansas that started in Texarkana this morning and, after Hope, will proceed to Arkadelphia. Boozman won the Republican nomination in the May 18 primary and faces Democrat Natalie James on the November 8 ballot.

While in the County Clerk’s office, Boozman spoke about his impressions of the newly outfitted building. “I’m really excited about this stately building and all it represents,” he said.

His mission on today’s trip was to discuss economic development in the area. He had just appeared in Texarkana, Arkansas at that town’s Regional Economic Development committee’s meeting, and after his tour of the Hope County Courthouse, was scheduled to attend a Clark County Economic Development meeting later in the afternoon.

“We can really discuss all kinds of problems here and throughout the world. But if you don't have a job where you can support your family, everything else is pretty unimportant. So that's what we've been talking about. Lots of concern about inflation. Lots of concern about the labor market, which is a huge concern. But I am really impressed with all this going on. And we're just blessed. We have such a wonderful state with so many nice people scattered about,” Boozman said.

Boozman met and shook hands with many courthouse officials and staff members, including County Judge Jerry Crane, County Attorney Jim Burke, County Clerk Karen Smith, Prosecuting Attorney Christi McQueen, Prosecutor-elect Ben Hale (who will take over from McQueen in January). He also spoke with administrative staff members, thanking them for their work, which he said should not be taken for granted.

When asked, just before his departure, what could be done to fight inflation, Boozman pointed to energy development.

“The underlying issue with inflation is high energy prices. And that affects all of us. Everything that we use is trucked or railed in using diesel. We in Arkansas travel so much in our cars. So energy is of huge importance.

“The way you solve that problem is this. Rarely do you have a crisis that the answer is staring you in the face. It’s to produce more. And so we've used oil and gas. We need to use solar, wind, we need to use all the resources the Lord has blessed us with. But we need to be drilling. We need to produce more energy. And in doing so, you bring the price down. And the Biden administration knows this. That's why they've gone to Venezuela and Saudi Arabia and places like that [to buy oil].”

By 11:30 a.m. the tour was finished and Senator Boozman, travelling with two assistants, headed toward his next stop.