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Director’s DE S K

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individual financial planning, and one of his most used statements in that counseling is, “What happens in your house is more impor- tant than what happens in the White House.”

Dave, as you can imagine, fields many phone calls from people wanting to blame their personal financial woes on federal govern- ment — and his response is a classic call to have them examine their own personal issues for improvement instead of Washington D.C. (To be fair, he has made this statement with both Repub- licans and Democrats occupying the presidency). In order to get better, one must know the playing field he controls, and work at it this way. Gains and losses are amplified when the tools to affect them are under your control, and time is wasted when we blame others in positions affected only by an election.

What we are seeing, though, is armchair quarterbacking take

over in all levels of society. Lost in this is that our official duties in county government do not give deference to arguing over whether we agree with certain laws. Tey are passed and we must follow and administer them, regardless of our opinions. Tis is not large- ly a problem in counties, we are typically too busy stretching our dollars with each new policy and unfunded mandate that comes down to spend a great deal of time bemoaning the changes.

But it does happen some. And ideological debate is creeping into

all levels of government, often times misplaced. A quorum court can spend countless hours questioning federal regulations regard- ing what kind of food our prisoners must eat, but at the end of the day only federal change can override it. Te ACA can be debated in committee at the legislature, but only federal government or courts can make major rule changes.

Misplaced ideological debate is one thing harming our govern- ment, but maybe even more dangerous is this ever-present push to rush change at ALL levels of government. I think we all get

that technology causes shifts in how we handle things at light- speed, but we cannot let these rapid shifts drive change in govern- ment to the point that we cannot administer. Te failed ACA sign-up website is a perfect example of having a law implemented without deference to the operational requirements needed to make it work. As laws come faster and with less vetting, we will find ourselves with practical application gaps.

In Arkansas, the problem is compounded by some of the

strongest term-limits laws in the country. Our legislators want to accomplish things, and this is commendable, but the squeeze to have much work done in a short period of time gives rise to pro- posals that do not allow time for affected groups to discover and implement changes necessary for the pursuits. Worse yet, a short session with a great number of bills gives little time for interaction before bills are presented and run through the system.

If we want to make partisan politics work, it takes time … time to discuss, time to ask interested parties how things will be implemented, time to vet with constituents, and time to pon- der for possible better solutions along the way. Rushed bills can easily become bad acts if not looked at closely, which gives me an opportunity to invite all of you to take part in watching bills in the upcoming session and asking questions of each other as to the impact. Sometimes two public hearings is all you get, and we have to act quickly as an association to make sure that our voice is strong and loud in this process.

Tere are two major rules in acting. One is to know your place; the other is to not go too fast. If all of government adopted these rules and reminded themselves of the negative possibilities produced by rushed and misplaced legislation we could find our country once again engaged in congenial philosophical discussion with opposing teams shaking hands at the end of the game.


The State Capitol Rose Gardens, along the northwest lawn and near the Justice Building, feature more than 1,500 rose bushes of more than 50 varieties that bloom throughout the summer. Ranging from the English rose and hybrid teas to shrubs and climbers, the plants are part of the national test program. Growers submit 20 specimens to the test garden each year, where they remain for three years before being replaced by younger plants and new varieties. Removed plants are donated to schools and organizations to share the beauty around Arkansas.

For more information on your Capitol go to

(AAC Photos / Christy L. Smith)



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