Happy 182nd Birthday, Arkansas!
It just so happens, that on the day we’re celebrating the 182nd birthday of our great state, I’ve driven across half of it in my pickup truck. I’ve made my way back home to my grandson’s baseball game, after leaving the Capitol and I’ve had several hours to reflect about the importance of this day and the people who have chosen to serve our great state.
In March of 1819, the citizens of a sparsely populated area south of the Missouri Territory had petitioned to be recognized by the federal government as a new territory. On June 15th of that year, it became official and President James Monroe appointed James Miller, a hero from the War of 1812, as Governor, and Robert Crittenden as Secretary of the Territory. Within a few months and after all three branches of government were in place, Secretary Crittenden called for an election of a General Assembly to elevate the territory status from “first grade” to “second grade” status. It’s remarkable to think about how quickly a group of driven, engaged people made such monumental progress in creating the state we call home.
As I think about the parallels between today and the beginning of our state, I’m grateful to have been chosen by my district to represent and serve them and our shared interests. The reason I was in Little Rock today was to elect and swear in our new Speaker of the House and my colleague, Rep. Matthew Shepherd of El Dorado. Arkansas is lucky to have Rep. Shepherd, a man after my own heart, dedicated to serving our state and moving us forward through dedication to the best interests of our family and neighbors. I’m struck and humbled by the profound nature of the work that I’m allowed to do on behalf of my friends and neighbors and this year, in much the same way and schedule (Jan. 2019) as our state founders, I look forward to our upcoming General Assembly where my colleagues and I will meet again at the State Capitol to work on advancing our state forward to create more opportunities and prosperity for our fellow Arkansans.