Governor Hutchinson Pays Tribute to Firefighter, Officer Who Died in Line of Duty; Introduces Reading Initiative

March 1, 2022

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson opened his weekly news briefing today with a tribute to a firefighter and a corrections officer who died in separate incidents on Saturday and Monday.

Sergeant Joshua Caudell, 29, of the Department of Corrections was shot and killed while assisting local law enforcement. Jason Lang, 20, of the West Memphis Fire Department stopped on his way to an EMT training class to assist with a traffic accident and was struck and killed by an 18-wheeler.

Governor Hutchinson ordered the Arkansas and U.S. flags to be lowered to half-staff in their honor.


Arkansas will do all it can to honor the sanctions imposed by the international community against Russia, Governor Hutchinson said.

He has worked with the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division to ensure that distributers are no longer acquiring Russian liquor.

The Governor noted that he has proclaimed March 1 through March 3 as days of prayer for Ukraine.
“There is not a more important moment than now to continue in prayer for them and their safety, and that they will have increased support from our allies,” Governor Hutchinson said.

As part of the efforts from the state to follow the sanctions, a review of state records showed that there are no Russia-owned assets in Arkansas and no direct investment of Arkansas funds.

The Governor has asked that state employees to be vigilant for signs of a cyberattack on state systems.

10 Minutes Matter

Governor Hutchinson announced a new reading initiative in partnership with the Department of Human Services and Department of Education, called “10 Minutes Matter.”

The partnership emphasizes the importance of reading to children from birth to five years old for 10 minutes a day. Studies show that reading one short book a day to young children can increase their vocabulary by 300,000 words by the time they start school, the Governor said.

The state will provide reading kits for childcare centers, schools, and pediatrician offices.


Governor Hutchinson said that the COVID-19 numbers continue to decline.

Up-to-date numbers are available on the Arkansas Department of Health’s COVID-19 dashboard.

The dashboard can be found HERE.
You can watch the full briefing HERE.
You can view the slide presentation from today’s briefing HERE.

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