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Arkansas Week May 9, 2014

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(2014) Arkansas is voting, the first ballots of the primaries. (UA) Lobbying for higher ed, a bi-partisan approach. (Obama) The President in Arkansas, unavoidably political? (M and A) But first, banking in Arkansas, is it swallow or be swallowed?

TRANSCRIPT

HELLO AGAIN EVERYONE AND THANKS FOR JOINING US. WE HAVE EARLY VOTING AND JUDICIAL QUALIFICATIONS AND VOTER I.D. AND A PRESIDENTIAL VISIT ON OUR AGENDA TONIGHT, BUT ALSO THIS: THE BUSINESS OF NUMBER THREE -- BUSINESS IN ARKANSAS. BIG BUSINESS: THE BILLIONS IN BANKING. A HANDFUL OF ARKANSAS-BASED BANKS HAVE GROWN ENORMOUSLY IN THE PAST SEVERAL YEARS, LARGELY IN THE SAME FASHION AS MUCH LARGER BANKS ELSEWHERE IN THE NATION: ACQUISITIONS, THE PURCHASE OF OTHER BANKS. THE BIG BUYERS IN ARKANSAS: ARVEST, CENTENNIAL, BANK OF THE OZARKS. AND SIMMONS, BASED AT PINE BLUFF. HAVING ABSORBED A ONCE FAR LARGER LITTLE ROCK INSTITUTION, AND WITH APPROVAL OF ANOTHER IN-STATE DEAL STILL PENDING, AND FLYING PRETTY MUCH UNDER THE RADAR, SIMMONS THIS WEEK ANNOUNCED ITS PURCHASE OF A $2 BILLION TENNESSEE BANK. WHAT TO MAKE OF ALL THIS? JOINING US FOR A LOOK AT THE EVER BIGGER BUSINESS OF BANKING IN ARKANSAS IS DR. ALEX FAYMAN, A PROFESSOR OF BUSINESS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL ARKANSAS, WHO STUDIES BANKING WITH AN EYE TO M & A. JOINING US IS DR. ALEX FAYMAN UNIVERSITY OF BUSINESS AT UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL ARKANSAS THAT STUDIES BANKING WITH AN EYE TOWARD THIS. THANKS FOR COMING IN.

MY PLEASURE.

WHAT IS GOING ON HERE? DO WE HAVE A UP OR OUT DYNAMIC GOING ON, GET BIGGER OR DISAPPEAR?

YEAH THAT'S WHAT IS HAPPENING. THE RECENT LEGISLATION DODD-FRANK ENACTED IN 2010 HAS CREATED AN ENVIRONMENT WHERE YOU HAVE TO GET BIG TO SURVIVE. YOU HAVE HEARD OF SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST. THIS IS GOING TO BE THE SURVIVAL OF THE LARGEST, SO INITIALLY ARKANSAS BANKS REACHED OUT TO EITHER PLACES IN THIS COUNTRY TO PURCHASE TROUBLED BANKS LIKE IN SOUTH FLORIDA. IF YOU GO TO KEY WEST YOU WILL SEE A LOT OF FAMILIAR SIGNS. I WAS THERE RECENTLY. I WAS SURPRISED TO SEE CENTENNIAL BANK WAS THERE AND THEY WERE CONSERVATIVE IN THE MANAGEMENT OF THEIR BOOKS IN THE CREDIT CRISIS AND THEY CAME OUT OF IT WITH A VERY SOLID BALANCE SHEETS. THEY LOOKED FOR ACQUISITIONS TO BECOME -- OPPORTUNISTICICALLY. NOW WITH THE ENACTMENT OF THE NEW LAW IT'S VERY DIFFICULT FOR SMALL BANKS TO DEAL WITH THE INCREASED LEVEL OF REGULATIONS, AND IT'S ECONOMIES OF SCALE. WHEN YOU MERGE WITH OTHER BANKS YOU HAVE TO ONLY PAY FOR A CERTAIN SOMETHING ONCE INSTEAD OF PAYING FOR THAT MULTIPLE TIMES.

DOES THIS HAVE IMPLICATIONS -- OBVIOUSLY ARKANSAS BANKS -- THE ONES THAT WE MENTIONED ANYWAY. DOES THIS HAVE IMPLICATIONS BEYOND THE STATE OR FOR THE STATE? WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR ARKANSAS?

IT'S CERTAINLY NICE TO HAVE LARGER INSTITUTIONS -- THE FACT THEY'RE GETTING LARGER MEANS THEY CAN BETTER COMPETE WITH BIG NATIONAL PLAYERS LIKE BANK OF AMERICA. IF THEY DON'T GET LARGER THEY MIGHT GET SWALLOWED UP AND WE WILL END WITH NO ARKANSAS BANKS AT ALL, BASED IN ARKANSAS. WE DON'T WANT THAT. AS ARKANSANS WE LIKE TO HAVE OUR OWN BANKS. ALTHOUGH AS THE BANKS GET LARGER WE WILL LOSE SOME OF THE RELATIONSHIP BANKING THAT WE ARE USED TO IN THE STATE.

DOES IT MATTER IN A LAYMAN'S QUESTION WHY DOES IT MATTER IF WE GET OUR MONEY -- IF YOU NEED A BUSINESS LOAN -- GET IT FROM CENTENNIAL BANK OR BANK OF AMERICA OR -- I DON'T THINK IT'S IN BUSINESS.

THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN NOW THEY DO BUSINESS. THE REASON SMALL BANKS OF SUCCESSFUL IN THE COUNTRY AND WE HAVE A SYSTEM WITH VERY SMALL AND VERY LARGE BANKS. THE WAY THE SMALL BANKS DID WELL WAS THROUGH RELATIONSHIP BANKING OPPOSED TO THIS COOKIE CUTTER APPROACH THAT LARGE BANKS USE SO IF YOU HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH A BANK, YOU'RE AN ARKANSANS AND GOING TO THE BANK FOR THE CAR LOAN AND MORTGAGES THEY KNOW YOU BY NAME AND EVEN IF YOU DON'T HAVE THE PERFECT CREDIT SCORE THEY KNOW WHO YOU ARE AND KNOW YOUR HISTORY AND MORE LIKELY TO GET THAT LOAN VRZ GOING INTO A BANK OF AMERICA AND THEY HAVE DIFFERENT CRITERIA OF A LARGE BANK AND YOU'RE NOT GOING TO QUALIFY. THEY'RE NOT GOING TO CARE THAT YOU LIVED IN ARKANSAS AND DID BUSINESS FOR A LONG TIME.

WHAT DOES THIS SUGGEST -- YOU TOUCHED ON IT, THE SMALLER NEIGHBORHOOD BANKS, THE NICHE BANKS?

I'M AFRAID THEY'RE NOT GOING -- I DON'T WANT TO SOUND LIKE IT'S OVER FOR THEM, BUT A LOT OF THEM ARE GOING TO HAVE TROUBLE COMPETING AND YOU WILL CONTINUE SEEING THESE BANKS BE ABSORBED BY OTHER INSTITUTIONS, AND THERE IS HISTORY BEHIND THIS. IF YOU LOOK 20, 25 YEARS BACK THE FIRST -- EVERY TIME THERE'S BEEN NEW MAJOR LEGISLATION, BANKING LEGISLATION IN THIS COUNTRY, IT CREATED THIS MERGER FRENZY. THE FIRST TIME IN THE 90'S WHEN INTERSTATE BRANCHING WAS ALLOWED AND BANKS WERE BUYING OTHER BANKS AND YOU COULD EXPAND BEYOND STATE BORDERS AND THEN THERE WAS A MODERNIZATION ACT. WE SAW ACTIVITY AND BANKS WERE BUYING UP INSURANCE COMPANIES AND THAT BECAME LEGAL AT THIS POINT AND AGAIN WITH THE DODD-FRANK COMING OUT OF THE CREDIT CRISIS THE NEW LAWS -- AGAIN THIS LEVEL OF REGULATION THAT'S OUT THERE NOW SMALL BANKS, THE 200 MILLION, 300 MILLION BANKS -- WE HAVE A LOT IN ARKANSAS THEY CAN'T PAY FOR THE REGULATIONS. THAT'S A REGULATORY BURDEN THAT ALWAYS HAS BEEN THERE BUT BEFORE SMALL BANKS WERE ABLE TO DEAL WITH IT. NOT ANYMORE.

ARE WE CREATING A DYNAMIC HERE THAT ELEVATES RISK ON A BROADER RISK TO THE TAXPAYER.

IT'S ACTUALLY A HUGE IRONY AND WE BLAME THE CRISIS ON LARGE BANKS IN THIS COUNTRY AND NOT THE SMALL BANKS BUT TO RESOLVE THE CRISIS WAS FOR LARGE BANKS TO BE ACQUIRED BY OTHER BANKS AND THEY GOT LARGER COMING OUT OF THE CRISIS. NOW THE NEW REGULATIONS THAT ARE SUPPOSED TO HELP PREVENT FUTURE CRISES WHO ARE THEY HURTING? WHO IS AFFECTED BY IT MOST? IT'S THE SMALL BANKS, THE ONES THAT DID NOT CAUSE THE CRISIS, SO AS FAR AS RISK IS CONCERNED THESE NEW REGULATIONS MAY PROVIDE FOR WAYS TO DISSOLVE THE LARGER INSTITUTIONS IN CASE SOMETHING REALLY TRAGIC HAPPENS AGAIN, BUT CONSUMER IN THIS COUNTRY ALWAYS WINS WHEN THERE IS MORE COMPETITION AND WE'RE GOING IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION RIGHT NOW IN THIS INDUSTRY.

DR. ALEX FAYMAN THANK YOU FOR COMING IN.

MY PLEASURE.

AND WE WILL BACK WITH OUR ROUNDTABLE IN JUST A MOMENT.

AND WE'RE BACK WITH THE ROUNDTABLE AND THANKS FOR STAYING WITH US. JACOB KAUFMANN IS HERE FROM KUAR IN CENTRAL ARK AND RICK FAHR AN INDEPENDENT JOURNALIST AND STEVE BRAWNER AN INDEPENDENT JOURNALIST. THANKS FOR COMING IN. LET'S START WITH EARLY VOTING. STEVE IT'S UNDER WAY, THE FIRST BALLOTS OF 14.

YES AND YOU HAVE TO PRESENT A ID WHEN YOU GO. WE WENT THROUGH TWO COURT CASES SO FAR AND BOTH TIMES JUDGE FOX SAID THIS CONSTITUTIONAL AND AN ADDITION TO THE CONSTITUTION AND VOTER REQUIREMENTS AND ONE STAYED ON THE SUPREME COURT AND HE STAYED ON THE OTHER ONE SO RIGHT NOW YOU NEED A PHOTO ID. THERE IS CONFUSION ABOUT ABSENTEE BALLOTS AND THAT IS BEING DECIDED BUT RIGHT NOW WE'RE VOTING IN BOTH PRIMARIES.

AND THE JUDICIAL QUALIFICATIONS IN THAT ETHER AND WE'RE TAPING OUR BROADCAST AS USUAL ON FRIDAY MORNING SO BY THE TIME WE REACH AIR THE COURT MAY HAVE RULED IN ONE FASHION OR ANOTHER.

WITH THAT QUESTION WHETHER THEY CAN SEEK OR HOLD OFFICE YOU HAVE TO QUESTION WHETHER OR NOT WHETHER THE COURT BEFORE THE ELECTION DAY IS GOING TO DISCOUNT A SIZABLE AMOUNT OF THE BALLOT AND WE HAD 20,000 PEOPLE VOTE ALREADY AND BALLOTS WOULD BE IN QUESTION IF CANDIDATES ARE DEEMED NOT ABLE TO RUN BASED ON THE RULINGS.

THE COURT CAN DO WHAT IT WANTS TO DO.

WHAT I FOUND INTERESTING IN THIS WEEK AND AT LEAST IN FAULKNER COUNTY THE LACK OF TURNOUT IN EARLY VOTING. AS OF YESTERDAY AFTERNOON WE HAD 1400 VOTERS CAST BALLOTS IN THE COUNTY AND THAT IS 68,000 REGISTERED VOTERS SO A SMALL PERCENTAGE AND SEEMS TO BE LAGGING BEHIND IN PAST YEARS BUT MAYBE THEY WILL PICK UP.

IT MIGHT HAVE TO DO WITH THE PRIMARIES THIS YEAR AND THE DEMOCRAT ONE IS UNCONTESTED AND LESS PEOPLE TURNING OUT FOR THAT ONE. IT REMAINS TO BE SEEN FOR THE REPUBLICAN ELECTION AND SHAPE THAT UP.

AND WHETHER IT GETS INTEREST ON THAT SIDE.

AND FAULKNER COUNTY IS A DISTRACTED COUNTY IN THE PAST WEEKS SO WHO KNOWS. I HAVEN'T SEEN THE NUMBER OTHERWISE STATE WIDE OF THE 4TH DISTRICT HAS THE MOST INTERESTING CONGRESSIONAL RACE AND THE 2ND DISTRICT ON THE REPUBLICAN SIDE. THOSE RACES ARE TRYING TO BE COMPETITIVE AND THEN YOU HAVE THE GOVERNOR'S RACE BUT THE SENATE RACE DOESN'T HAVE COMPETITION SO IT COMES DOWN TO THE LOCAL RACES. IN MY COUNTY AT ONE TIME WE HAD EIGHT PEOPLE RUNNING FOR SHERIFF. SHERIFF PENDING TON DROPPED OUT AND LESS COMPETITIVE. I SUSPECT THEY WOULD HAVE A HIGH TURN OUT AND OTHERS WON'T HAVE AS HIGH AS TURN OUT.

BACK ON THE 4TH DISTRICT THAT ONE IS GETTING VERY INTERESTING. REPUBLICANS BEHAVING LIKE DEMOCRATS.

, WELL THE LAST POLL I SAW HAD BRUCE WESTERMAN UP SIGNIFICANTLY AND SURPRISED ME BECAUSE MOLE IS RUNNING A ACTIVE CAMPAIGN AND EVEN THOSE HE'S YOUNG AND NEW TO THE DISTRICT, BUT WESTERMAN HAS A BIG LEAD AND THEY WILL GO AFTER EACH OTHER. POLITICS MAKES STRANGE BED FELLOWS BUT IT MAKES PEOPLE COMPETITIVE AS THE RACE NEARS AND THE 2ND DISTRICT HAS GOTTEN SNIPPY BETWEEN THE CANDIDATES AND FRENCH HILL, ANNE CREMOR AND COLONEL REYNOLDS AND CHANGED HIS NAME TO GET THAT MILITARY TITLE ON THE BALLOT SO THAT IS COMPETITIVE TOO BUT IN THAT ONE FRENCH HILL HAS A LOT OF MONEY AND A BIG LEAD.

TOMMY MOLE I THINK WESTERMAN HAS AT LEAST A DOUBLE DIGIT.

YEAH, PRETTY BIG LEAD.

-- LEAD IN THAT AND THE CONTENTIOUS ISSUE IS MOLE QUESTIONED WESTERMAN WHETHER HE'S IN FAVOR OF THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT AND HE TRIED TO PAINT HIM AS IN FAVOR OF THE REFORMS AND WESTERMAN SUPPORTERS WILL SAY HE'S OPPOSED TO THEM AND IT'S INTERESTING HOW THE VOTERS LOOK AT THE ISSUES.

AND T IT'S PLAYING OUT ELSEWHERE IN THE STATE.

AND YOU HAVE THE RACE OF RICE AND HOLLINS AND THAT ISSUE IN THAT AREA AND YOU HAVE MISSY IRVIN THAT VOTED FOR IT AND THEN AGAINST IT. SHE'S GOT A PRIMARY OPPONENT AND RECENT POLL TALK BUSINESS SHOWED THAT MOST REPUBLICANS ARE AGAINST THE PRIVATE OPTION BUT YET IT WOULDN'T NECESSARILY BE A DEFINING ISSUE THAT WOULD CAUSE THEM TO VOTE OR AGAINST SOMEONE SO I MEAN THAT IS SO CRITICAL FOR THAT ONE ISSUE BECAUSE IT ONLY PASSED -- IT HAD NO VOTES TO SPARE, AND IF ONE OR TWO SENATORS CHANGE HANDS WE'RE BACK WHERE WE WERE THIS YEAR TRYING TO SEE IF IT PASSES NEXT YEAR.

ARKANSAS HAD THE FIRST PRESIDENTIAL VISIT BY THE INCUMBENT THIS BAFT WEEK. MR. OBAMA CAME IN TO ASSESS AND GET A LOOK AT THE DAMAGE IN CENTRAL ARKANSAS AND NORTH CENTRAL ARKANSAS RICK FROM THE STORMS.

HE DID.  HE WAS HERE WEDNESDAY MEETING WITH FIRST RESPONDERS AND FAMILIES TOURING THE AREA. SPOKE AT THE EVENT TOO. WAS RECEIVED WARMLY . THERE WERE SOME CONCERN THAT THERE MAY BE SOMANCEST INVOLVING THE PRESIDENT'S BUSINESS BECAUSE HE DIDN'T CARRY ARKANSAS BY ANY STRETCH OF THE IMAGINATION BUT HE WAS RECEIVED WARMLY BY ALL ACCOUNTS. FROM A POLITICAL STANDPOINT MAYBE THE MOST INTERESTING ASPECT OF THE DAY WAS THE FACT THAT SENATOR PRYOR WAS NEVER MORE THAN SIX OR 8 FEET FROM HIM. THERE WERE MANY PHOTOS TAKEN OF PRESIDENT OBAMA SPEAKING AND MARK PRYOR RIGHT THERE AND ALTHOUGH PRYOR HAS NOT EMBRACED HIM IN THE LAST FIVE YEARS HE WAS CERTAINLY WELCOMING HIM THIS TIME.

IT COULD BE ARGUED AND MR. OBAMA'S VISIT WAS BILLED AS NON POLITICAL AND CERTAINLY THERE WASN'T POLITICAL RHETORIC INVOLVED AND THE STORM DAMAGE AND THE RECOVERY EFFORT AND THE FIRST RESPONDERS AND ALL OF THAT, BUT YOU PROVIDED THE SEGUE IS MR. PRYOR DOUBLING DOWN?

THAT'S AN INTERESTING QUESTION.

I MEAN WE SAY HE HASN'T NECESSARILY EMBRACED MR. OBAMA. HE DOESN'T HAVE TO. HE VOTED FOR --

RIGHT AND HE'S GOING TO BE PAINTED AS AN OBAMA SUPPORTER NO MATTER WHAT AND THE VOTING RECORD IS, BUT ON KEY ISSUES OF THE PRESIDENCY PRYOR HAS BEEN A DEMOCRATIC VOTE BUT CERTAINLY PRYOR HAS TRIED TO DISTANCE HIMSELF IN PAST YEARS BUT IF HE IS LOOKING FOR A WAY TO DIFFERENTIATE HIMSELF FROM HIS OPPONENT REPRESENTATIVE COTTON THIS MAYBE A GAMBLE HE IS WILLING TO TAKE.

TIM GRIFFIN WAS THE ALSO THERE AND I DON'T THINK THEY'RE GOING TO PAINT THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR RACE AND SUPPORT OF OBAMA AND THERE ARE DIFFERENT SIDES THERE AND ONLY CERTAIN PEOPLE WILL TAKE FLACK FROM IT AND ONE THING THAT MAY COME OUT AND PRYOR MENTIONED IT BEFORE THE VISIT AND OBVIOUSLY EVERYTHING GOING ON HAS TO DO WITH FEDERAL DISASTER RELIEF AND IT WASN'T MENTIONED EXPLICITLY BUT UNDER THE SURFACE AND PRYOR SUPPORTED THE FEMA SUPPORT TO HER VICTIMS AND TOM COTTON IS KNOWN NOT TO VOTE FOR IT AND ONE OF THE TENSIONS OUT OF THE PRESIDENT'S TRIP THAT SOME PEOPLE ARE THINKING ABOUT.

STEVE.

WELL, SENATOR PRYOR HAD A PRESS RELEASE AND HE'S THE ONE THAT ANNOUNCED OBAMA WAS COMING AND INVITED HIM. NOT ONLY DID HE NOT RUN FROM THIS HE EMBRACED IT AND TOOK CREDIT FOR IT.

INVITED HIM.

RIGHT. I THINK WHEN YOU ASK IF HE'S DOUBLING DOWN THERE IS NO WHERE ELSE TO GO. EARLIER IN THE CAMPAIGN HE'S ARGUED FOR OBAMACARE. HE CAN'T ARGUE AGAINST IT, SO HE MIGHT AS WELL DO HIS JOB, AND INVITE THE PRESIDENT AND STAND BESIDES HIM LIKE HE DID.

IS THERE A SENSE AT ALL WITH WE WILL GET TO THE DISASTER ISSUE IN A MOMENT, BUT THE RACE IS DYNAMIC BUT SHIFTING SOMEWHAT?

I THINK FOR THE MOST PARTISAN SAN --

THIS IS MAY, NOT NOVEMBER.

I DON'T THINK PEOPLE HAVE TUNED INTO THE RACE AT THIS POINT. OBVIOUSLY WE TALK ABOUT IT A LOT HERE BUT THE AVERAGE ARKANSANS HASN'T GIVEN WEIGHT TO IT AND THERE IS ROOM TO CHANGE THAT SITUATION.

RICK.

SEEMS LIKE WHAT I AM SEEING FROM AFAR THAT YOU HAVE TWO CANDIDATES RUNNING DIFFERENT TYPES OF CAMPAIGNS. PRYOR SEEMS TO BE FOCUSING MORE ON RETAIL POLITICS TYPE OF CAMPAIGN. HE IS HERE A LOT. HE'S IN THE STATE A LOT SHAKING HANDS MAKING HIMSELF SEEN WHEREAS REPRESENTATIVE COTTON IS RUNNING A WELL FINANCED CAMPAIGN FROM WASHINGTON BLASTING HIS OPPONENT 'S RECORD AND CALLING HIM INTO QUESTION A LOT OF VOTES THAT PRYOR HAS TAKEN ON ISSUES THAT WILL PROBABLY RESONATE WITH SOME VOTERS HERE, SO THEY'RE RUNNING ENTIRELY DIFFERENT CAMPAIGNS. I WILL BE INTERESTED TO SEE IN COMING MONTHS HOW MUCH TIME COTTON SPENDS GOING AROUND THE 4TH OF JULY AND THOSE TYPES OF RETAIL POLITICS EVENTS THAT HAVE BEEN MAIN STAY OVER THE YEARS.

I THINK THE CONSENSUS U.S. IS THAT YOU CAN'T IGNORE THE RETAIL ASPECT BUT WITH EACH PASSING CYCLE WE SEE OVER THE AIR ELECTRONIC ADVERTISING ASSUME A BIGGER SHARE OF THE ENGINE THAT DRIVES THEM.

AND THAT IS GETTING EASIER WITH EVERY SUPREME COURT. U.S. SUPREME COURT RULING THAT SAYS THE 501(C)(3) AND 501(C)(4) ORGANIZATIONS AND OTHERS, SUPER PACS CAN SPEND AS MUCH MONEY SO YOU DON'T HAVE TO SHAKE AS MANY HANDS IF YOU PUT A 30 SECOND SPOT IN FRONT OF THE TELEVISION VIEWER AND IT'S EASIER TO DO.

IT'S NOT JUST THAT AND SHAKING HANDS. AMERICAN FOR PROSPERITY HAVE THREE OR FOUR OFFICES IN ARKANSAS THAT THEY DIDN'T HAVE BEFORE AND I DON'T THINK IF THERE IS A EQUIVALENT LEFT GROUP SHAKING HANDS OFTEN TIMES.

I THINK OF THE TWO CANDIDATES PRYOR HAS DONE A BETTER JOB IN RECENT WEEKS OF REALLY DRIVING UP COTTON'S NEGATIVES. I THINK HE HAS DEFINED THE ISSUES AS MEDICARE AND THOSE SENIOR CITIZEN ISSUES. HE'S HITTING COTTON PRETTY HARD. COTTON'S -- IT'S WELL KNOWN THAT PRYOR VOTED FOR OBAMACARE SO THAT WAS THE BIG AMMUNITION THAT COTTON HAD AND NOW PRYOR HAS FOUGHT BACK WITH THE VOTES ON THE ENTITLEMENT ISSUES SO PRYOR IS RUNNING A HARD HITTING CAMPAIGN AGAINST COTTON IN RECENT WEEKS. COTTON IS RUNNINGADS THAT ARE POSITIVE AND ONE WITH HIS DAD ON A FARM. HE'S GOT THE ONE WITH THE DRILL SERGEANT AND TRYING TO REDEFINE HIMSELF AND IT'S GOING TO GET HARD HITTING AND GET WORSE.

WHAT WE'RE REALLY TALKING ABOUT TO FOLKS THAT HAVE IDEOLOGICAL DIFFERENCES ON THE ISSUES, AND THE MEDICAID, MEDICARE SETS UP PERFECTLY AS AN EXAMPLE OF THIS. TOM COTTON WANTS TO RAISE THE AGE FOR MEDICARE COVERAGE TO 70 AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO SAVE MONEY. GET THE NATIONAL DEBT AND ALL OF THAT. PRYOR SCREAMING OH MY GOSH YOU'RE NOT TAKING CARE OF SENIORS. YOU'RE HURTING SENIORS, BUT THAT IS A PERFECT IDEOLOGICAL JUXTAPOSITION OF WHERE THOSE FOLKS ARE AND IT'S JUST A MATTER OF DO MORE ARKANSANS SUPPORT GETTING RID OF THE DEBT OR I WANT MINE.

WE WILL CONTINUE TO FOLLOW AS WE HAVE BEEN FOLLOWING THE STORY OF WHO WILL REPRESENT THE UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS AT THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY? IT'S VICE PRESIDENT FOR -- WHATEVER IT IS LOBBYIST AND SOMETHING OF A SURPRISE WHEN THE GENTLEMAN FROM MOUNTAIN HOME APPEARED TO BE PASSED OVER ONLY THE NEXT DAY OR TWO DAYS LATER TO BE ALSO RETAINED BY THE UNIVERSITY, SO IT NOW HAS TWO LOBBYISTS. ONE FROM ONE PARTY AND ONE FROM THE OTHER. IS THIS A REFLECTION OF THE NEW POLITICAL DYNAMIC IN ARKANSAS?

WELL, I WOULD SAY IT'S HELPFUL IF YOU'RE HIRING LOBBYIST TO HAVE PEOPLE THAT CAN EASILY TALK AND HAVE THE EXISTING RELATIONSHIPS WITH BOTH PARTIES IN THE LEGISLATURE AND JOHNNY KEY STATE SENATOR FROM MOUNTAIN HOME -- MAYBE IT'S MOUNTAIN HOME.

YEAH.

AND JOHN BURRRESS AND ONE OF THE ARCHITECTS OF THE PRIVATE OPTION IS RUNNING TO TAKE HIS PLACE AND ANOTHER INTERESTING BATTLE AND JOHNNY KEY STEPPED DOWN NOT RUNNING FOR THE STATE SENATE HOPING TO GET THIS JOB BUT HE APPEARED TO BE PASSED UP AND RAISED EYEBROWS WITH HIM BUT HE GOT IT AFTER SENATOR PRYOR'S FORMER AID RANDY --

CHIEF OF STAFF.

CHIEF OF STAFF.

OF ARKANSAS.

AND NICE EXAMPLE OF LEGISLATORS AND PEOPLE INVOLVED WITH LEGISLATORS AND HAVING EASY ACCESS TO THE PROCESS.

THERE IS SOMETHING TO SAY ABOUT THAT.

THEY HAVE DIFFERENT POSITIONS AND (INAUDIBLE) IS WORKING FOR THE UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS FAYETTEVILLE AND JOHNNY KEY IS WORKING FOR THE SYSTEM. SURELY THE TWO PARTY THING HAD TO DO WITH IT, BUT ALSO THERE IS A STATE LAW THAT HE CANNOT LOBBY OFFICIALLY FOR A YEAR UNTIL OUT OF OFFICE. NOW HE'S GOING TO DO IT ANYWAY BUT DO IT IN A LESS AGGRESSIVE WAY.

YES.

AND NEXT SESSION IS GOING TO BE A BOGGER FOR EDUCATION ISSUES. IT'S POSSIBLE WHAT THE THINKING WAS WELL WE NEED SOMEBODY READY TO GO FULL TIME 100% NEXT YEAR AND WAIT A YEAR AND NO SESSION AND THE 2016 THEN WE COULD HAVE BOTH FULL TIME.

YEAH.

IT SEEMS LIKE U OF A IS TRYING TO SAY THAT SENATOR KEY IS NOT GOING TO BE REGISTERED AS A LOBBYIST, IE, A CONSULTANT. HE'S GOING TO BE AN EMPLOYEE AND THEREFORE HE CAN TALK TO ANYBODY HE WANTS.

IN AN INFORMATIONAL CAPACITY LIKE FORMER SENATOR LINCOLN DID NOT LOBBY WHEN SHE IMMEDIATELY LEFT THE SENATE. SHE PROVIDED INFORMATION FOR CLIENTS OF THE FIRM.

THERE HAS TO BE SOME DIFFERENCE OF THE AGGRESSIVENESS THAT YOU CAN DO THIS. I MEAN UA CERTAINLY DOESN'T NEED ANYMORE NEG HEAD LINES AND ONE MORE THAT YOU HAVE THESE LOBBYISTS AND THE COMBINATION OF HAVING BOTH PARTIES AND HAVING A FULL TIME HARD CHARGING LOBBYIST AND ONE THAT CAN COME IN AND DO IT OFFICIAL LATER ON.

WE'RE GOING TO LEAVE IT THERE BECAUSE WE'RE OUT OF TIME. GENTS THANKS TO YOU FOR COMING IN AND THANKS TO YOU ALWAYS FOR WATCHING. SEE YOU NEXT TIME.

"ARKANSAS WEEK" IS MADE POSSIBLE IN PART BY THE "ARKANSAS TIMES" KEEPING YOU INFORMED BY COVERING PEOPLE, EVENTS, AND POLITICS IN ARKANSAS. BY FM 89 KUAR LITTLE ROCK WITH IN DEPTH NEWS REPORTING, ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION EACH WEEKDAY.

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