When we took an oath to serve, we recognized that meant more than pressing our red or green button to vote. It means being involved in our community.
That is just part of the reason why the 89th General Assembly began a series of events this year designed to not only let the public see that members of both parties can work as a team, but to also give back to the communities we serve.
We began earlier this year with the Hoops for Kids’ Sake event. Members of the Arkansas House and Arkansas Senate squared off on the court of the Jack T. Stephens Center. By charging a small admission fee for the exhibition game and with generous sponsors, Hoops for Kids Sake raised $13,000 for the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Central Arkansas. With the help of a few celebrity players and our own former Harlem Globetrotter Fred Smith, the House soundly defeated the Senate with a final score of 69-60.
But the real winners that night were the children in our community facing adversity who are encouraged and supported through the one on one relationships provided by the Big Brothers and Big Sisters program.
We are happy to announce that plans are already in the works for another House vs. Senate basketball game. We hope to defend our title on Feb. 18 during the upcoming fiscal session. Once again, proceeds will go to a charity organization.
We also started another fund raising tradition this year with the 1st annual Speaker’s Cup. In July, House Democrats and House Republicans challenged each other in a golf tournament to raise money for a program called First Tee. House Democrats won the tournament and will hold the Speaker’s Cup until the next challenge.
During the Special Session, Speaker Carter formally handed over the trophy to Speaker Pro Tem Darrin Williams. Rep. Williams announced on the House floor that the tournament raised $40,000 for The First Tee program which helps builds character and instills life-enhancing values to over 1,500 area young people through the game of golf.
Our efforts don’t end with just sports. Members are frequently seen working together to help to package meals and volunteer at various functions to help end hunger in our state.
Far too often headlines and news stories are filled with how we may disagree on policy or proposed laws. But what you may not see behind the scenes is the mutual respect we have for one another and the admiration we all have for public service. You can find pictures of events on our Facebook page www.facebook.com/arkansashouse.