inVeritas Inside the 2014 Elections & Candidates

April 14th, 2014

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (April 14, 2014) – Over 400 candidates tossed their respective names in the ring vying to become an elected official in Arkansas. The primary election is scheduled for May 20, with the general election being held on November 4.

The 2014 ballot includes four congressional seats, the governor’s office, plus six constitutional offices, three state Supreme Court seats, 100 state House seats and 18 state Senate seats.

The Republican Party of Arkansas continues to push forward, as 133 Republican candidates filed for office this year, a new state record for the party. In the state legislature, Republicans have 3 Senate Districts with primaries, while Democrats have none. There will be 18 House District primaries, four of which will be on the Democratic ticket.

In the Arkansas Senate, there are 18 Senate seats on the ballot this year; 11 of which are held by Republicans and seven by Democrats. 11 of the Senate incumbents are unopposed – six Republicans and five Democrats. Today, in the 35 member Senate, there are 22 Republicans and 13 Democrats.

In the Arkansas House of Representatives, all 100 House seats are on the ballot this year. There are 51 unopposed House candidates on the ballot – 27 Republicans and 24 Democrats. The 49 contested House seats include 25 held by Republicans, 23 held by Democrats and one by a Green Party member.

Throughout the election cycle, inVeritas will provide a look at the candidates for the Arkansas Legislature. A quick glance of several Republicans running for the House of Representatives:

Lucas Roebuck, R-District 87

Lucas Roebuck is running for House District 87 – Representative Jonathan Barnett’s seat. Lucas was born in Redondo Beach, California and is the son of Mexican immigrants. He is one of six brothers.

He received his bachelor’s degree from John Brown University and later received his master’s degree in Journalism from the University of Arkansas. After graduating, Lucas worked for nearly a decade as a journalist and was the Opinion Page Editor for the Benton County Daily Record, Assignment Editor for KNWA-NBC, and Managing Editor for both the Northwest Arkansas Times and the Siloam Springs Herald-Leader. Lucas served as a professor and taught journalism, communications and English at Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, Idaho and at George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon before returning to Arkansas to work for John Brown University as Director of University Communications.

For more information on Lucas Roebuck, click here.

Mike Whitmore, R – District 90

Mike Whitmore is running for House District 90 – Representative Skip Carnine’s seat. Mike was born in Germany and moved to Springdale when he was in third grade. Mike received his bachelor’s degree from Hendrix College. He worked as an accounting consultant and co-owned a pet supplies business before returning to school to receive a Master of Accountancy from the University of Arkansas. Upon graduation, Mike taught accounting for two years at the University of Arkansas, before continuing his accounting career.

For more information on Mike Whitmore, click here.

Grant Hodges, R – District 96

Grant Hodges is running for House District 96 – Representative Duncan Baird’s seat. Grant, 22, is a recent graduate from the University of Arkansas, where he majored in Political Science. Grant worked with Congressmen John Boozman and Steve Womack. In 2012, he successfully managed Randy Alexander’s campaign for state representative.

For more information on Grant Hodges, click here.

Robin Lundstrum, R – District 87

Robin Lundstrum is running for House District 87 – Representative Jonathan Barnett’s seat. Robin is a small business owner and a member of the Elm Springs City Council. Robin received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas, as well as a master’s and doctorate in education.

Robin is a former assistant professor at John Brown University and served as Vice Chairman of the Republican Party of Arkansas.

For more information on Robin Lundstrum, click here.

Jana Della Rosa, R – District 90

Jana Della Rosa is running for House District 90 – Representative Skip Carnine’s seat. Jana was born and raised in Springdale, and graduated from Springdale High School. She attended the University of Arkansas, where she graduated at the top of her class with a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering.

In 2002, Jana joined the Bentonville-based Walmart Team for Church and Dwight Co., Inc., a $2.6B CPG company headquartered in New Jersey. During her 10-year tenure, she was promoted from an entry-level Sales Analyst position to the company’s top National Account Manager, responsible for all laundry product sales to Walmart.

Jana currently serves on the Board of Directors of Conservative Arkansas, a grassroots organization dedicated to identifying, electing, and holding accountable conservative candidates at both the state and national levels. She is also a member of the Benton County Republican Committee and the Benton County Republican Women.

For more information on Jana Della Rosa, click here.

Mickey Gates, R – District 22 Mickey Gates is running for House District 22 – Representative Bruce Westerman’s seat. Mickey is the President of Stonebridge Collection – located in Hot Springs. Stonebridge Collection custom engraves its own knifes to the customer’s specifications. Mickey also served as Justice of the Peace in Garland County.

For more information on Mickey Gates, click here.

Donald Laymon, R – District 22

Donald Laymon is running for House District 22 – Representative Bruce Westerman’s seat. Donald was born in Heber Springs and raised in Little Rock, but now resides in Hot Springs Village. He, like his opponent, served as Justice of the Peace. Donald is a financial advisor and serves in ministry as an evangelist with the Assemblies of God. He is also a former secretary of the Garland County Republican Party.

For more information on Donald Laymon, click here.

Lance Eaves, R – District 46

Lance Eaves is running for House District 46 – Representative Mark Biviano’s seat. Although born in Conway, Les spent his early years growing up in Newport, where his father started the family business, Delta Trailers. Les later moved to Arlington, Texas where he attended high school and college at the University of Texas, Arlington. He then moved back to Arkansas to begin a career working with his father at the family business that began in 1971. Les now serves as the Vice President of Delta Manufacturing, Inc. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the NATM (National Association of Trailer Manufacturers)

For more information on Les Eaves, click here.

Marge Wolf, R – District 94

Marge Wolf is running for House District 94 – Representative Debra Hobbs’ seat. Marge is one of six children. Marge is the President and CEO of the Northwest Arkansas Food Bank and serves as the City Alderman for Ward 2 in Rogers. For 8 years, Marge served as the Chief Executive Officer for Main Street Rogers and 13 years as Chief Executive Officer for the Rogers-Lowell United Way. In 2012, she served as President of the Arkansas Hunger Relief Association.

For more information on Marge Wolf, click here.

Damon Wallace, R – District 96

Damon Wallace is running for House District 96 – Representative Duncan Baird’s seat. Damon is a single dad with two adult daughters. Damon is an EMT, Paramedic, and a Respiratory Therapy Technician. He is also a Registered Respiratory Therapist and earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. Damon served twenty-one years in the healthcare industry and now as a business owner. In 2003, he started investing in rental property and bought the first of his two automotive shops in 2008.

For more information on Damon Wallace, click here.

Kyle Reeves, R – District 46

Kyle Reeves is running for House District 46 – Representative Mark Biviano’s seat. Kyle has lived in Arkansas since the 1980s, where he received his bachelor’s degree and his master’s degree from Harding University. Kyle worked in the telecommunications industry, where he was a 3-time Emmy nominee for his work in TV and he built the first “All Digital” LPTV station in the United States. He now works in the natural gas business as a small business owner.

For more information on Kyle Reeves, click here.

NanoMech Starts Work on New $10M Headquarters

March 31st, 2014

Arkansas Business

3/31/14

NanoMech will break ground Monday afternoon on its 25,000-SF corporate headquarters in Springdale. The new building, expected to be complete by September, will adjoin the company’s existing facility on an expanded 9-acre corporate campus at 2447 Technology Way in Springdale. An initial production facility will be ready by July, the company said.

The company scheduled a groundbreaking ceremony for 2 p.m. The $10 million project is expected to add 25 to 50 jobs. Project architect is Fayetteville’s Miller Boskus Lack Architects and the contractor is Kinco Constructors of Little Rock.

In addition to its Springdale headquarters, NanoMech has offices on the campus of the University of Arkansas Research & Technology Park in Fayetteville, and in Dallas, Houston and Detroit.

When announcing the expansion in January, the company said the new facility will incorporate “cutting edge assembly lines, laboratories, and the latest in security, environmental, and safety systems for handling advanced manufacturing, military, and strategic projects,” and will include a secure wall and security fencing enclosing the campus.

NanoMech, recognized last year with a prestigious R&D 100 award, manufactures nanomaterials-based products such as nGlide, used for machine lubrication, and TuffTek, a coating used for heavy-duty cutting tools.

“The new factory and expanded headquarters will also allow us to meet current demand for our products while advancing ongoing research and development efforts,” said NanoMech CEO Jim Phillips in a news release. “This state-of-the-art, smart manufacturing facility and laboratories will further position our products and scientists as some of the best and most innovative in the world.” Ajay Malshe, a UA researcher and NanoMech’s founder and CTO, said the new facility will enable the company to accelerate commercialization of new products.

“Aggressive demand for our technology suggests the need for rapid scale-up production to meet government and private sector orders for our breakthrough products,” he said.

Read more at Arkansas Business

inVeritas inside: Fiscal Session Adjourns Sine-Die

March 19th, 2014

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (March 19, 2014) – The House and Senate of the 89th General Assembly officially adjourned sine-die this afternoon at the State Capitol. Today, the House of Representatives overrode Governor Beebe’s line item veto to HB1048, declaring that the sand used in natural gas fracking is exempt from the state’s sales tax. The House voted 55-41, while the Senate voted 26-7 to override the veto.

The House also elected Representative Jeremy Gillam, R-Judsonia, speaker-designate for the 90th General Assembly. Representative Gillam received 57 of the needed 51 votes in the secret ballot election. Gillam defeated Representatives Matthew Shepherd, Kim Hammer and Fred Love for the top post. Speaker-designate Gillam will have to be reconfirmed following the November elections.

It was a session filled with intense debate and differing opinion, as inVeritas tracked legislation through the 31-day session. This was the third time lawmakers met in a fiscal session since a constitutional amendment was approved by voters in 2008 requiring the Arkansas Legislature to meet and budget every even-numbered year.

As expected, the session focused primarily on the state’s compromise to Medicaid expansion, also known as the “private option,” which uses federal Medicaid dollars to purchase private insurance for those under 138% of the federal poverty level. After Speaker Davy Carter vowed to vote every day until the bill passed, the House finally secured the 75-needed votes after four failed attempts and a week off of voting. All appropriation bills require a supermajority, meaning 26 members of the 100-member House or nine members of the 35-member Senate can block appropriations bills. Ironically, the vote came just 26 hours after the filing period ended for state and federal offices.

The House voted 76-24 to authorize the use of $915 million for the private option. Three Republican representatives, Skip Carnine, Kim Hammer and Mary Lou Slinkard, all whom had previously voted against the bill, each pressed the green button on the fifth vote for the final passage. Early in the session, the Senate passed the bill on its first try by a vote of 27-8, the exact number needed pass appropriation bills in the Senate.

Last week, on the 31st day, the Legislature approved the $5 billion budget bill for the coming year, also known as the Revenue Stabilization Act (RSA). The bill proposes a $5.04 billion budget, a 2% increase from last fiscal year’s $4.94 billion budget. The budget includes a $65 million increase in public school funding, a $3.1 million increase in prison funding, a $7 million increase in reimbursement to county jails for housing state inmates, and an increase in $5.2 million to give state employees a 1% cost-of-living adjustment. The budget bill also sets aside $19 million for the state’s “rainy-day fund” and includes $22 million in supplemental appropriations from the state’s estimated $126 million budget surplus.

Finally, the Legislature passed a bill authorizing Governor Beebe to hold off on calling a special election to fill the vacant seat of Lt. Governor Mark Darr, who resigned on February 1st after an ethics violation.

The fight to defund Arkansas’ version of Medicaid expansion will continue through November, as a number of legislative candidates are running against Obamacare and the private option. Democrats will try to regain control of the House, while Republicans hope to widen the margin.

inVeritas inside: 3rd Fiscal Session Comes to a Close

March 13th, 2014

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (March 13, 2014) – The fiscal session of the 89th General Assembly recessed yesterday and will reconvene on March 19th to adjourn sine die. inVeritas tracked legislation through the 31-day fiscal session, which was filled with intense debate and differing opinions. This was the third time lawmakers met in a fiscal session since a constitutional amendment was approved by voters in 2008 requiring the Arkansas Legislature to meet and budget every even-numbered year.

As expected, the session focused primarily on the state’s compromise to Medicaid expansion, also known as the “private option,” which uses federal Medicaid dollars to purchase private insurance for those under 138% of the federal poverty level. After Speaker Davy Carter vowed to vote every day until the bill passed, the House finally secured the 75-needed votes after four failed attempts and a week off of voting. All appropriation bills require a supermajority, meaning 26 members of the 100-member House or nine members of the 35-member Senate can block appropriations bills. Ironically, the vote came just 26 hours after the filing period ended for state and federal offices.

The House voted 76-24 to authorize the use of $915 million for the private option. Three Republican representatives, Skip Carnine, Kim Hammer and Mary Lou Slinkard, all whom had previously voted against the bill, each pressed the green button on the fifth vote for the final passage. Early in the session, the Senate passed the bill on its first try by a vote of 27-8, the exact number needed pass appropriation bills in the Senate.

On the 31st day, the Legislature approved the $5 billion budget bill for the coming year, also known as the Revenue Stabilization Act (RSA). The bill proposes a $5.04 billion budget, a 2% increase from last fiscal year’s $4.94 billion budget. The budget includes a $65 million increase in public school funding, a $3.1 million increase in prison funding, a $7 million increase in reimbursement to county jails for housing state inmates, and an increase in $5.2 million to give state employees a 1% cost-of-living adjustment. The budget bill also sets aside $19 million for the state’s “rainy-day fund” and includes $22 million in supplemental appropriations from the state’s estimated $126 million budget surplus.

Finally, the Legislature passed a bill authorizing Governor Beebe to hold off on calling a special election to fill the vacant seat of Lt. Governor Mark Darr, who resigned on February 1st after an ethics violation.

The fight to defund Arkansas’ version of Medicaid expansion will continue through November, as a number of legislative candidates are running against Obamacare and the private option. Democrats will try to regain control of the House and the Speaker’s chair, as Republicans hope to widen the margin.

November can’t get here soon enough.

inVeritas involved: Senior Associate Nathan Green Shines with ACCESS Starry Starry Night

March 11th, 2014

inVeritas Senior Associate Nathan Green first became involved with ACCESS when he was just a high school student.  A close family friend with Down’s syndrome was making great strides at this small nonprofit academy for students with learning disabilities.  He spent several days volunteering at the school.  Nathan’s mother served on the board of directors.  During college, Nathan worked for a summer in the school’s administrative office, answering the phones and helping with filing.  He spent some days in the classroom, helping teachers and reading to children.

Fast forward six years, after attending law school, ACCESS again called on Nathan to serve its mission through its young professional group, ACCESS in Action.  This group organizes an annual bingo bash, raising money for academy scholarships.  Green served on this committee for six years, chairing the event in 2010.  In 2013, ACCESS board member Lynn O’Connor asked Nathan to serve on the committee for their largest fundraiser, Starry Starry Night.  Tuition is just over $8,000 a year per student at ACCESS, but it costs nearly two-times that much to provide the roughly one-to-two teacher-to-student ratio and additional services required. ACCESS hopes to raise about $175,000 from its 16th Starry Starry Night event, in the school’s 20th anniversary year.

“It’s an honor to work with Nathan and to support his passion for ACCESS,” said inVeritas CEO Ruth Whitney.  “He is an amazing example of a servant leader, willing to give his time and talents to this life-changing program.”

ACCESS serves 168 full-time students.  It is comprised of a preschool, an evaluation and resource center, ACCESS Academy for individuals 5-21, and ACCESS Life for ages 18-35.  ACCESS also offers in- and out-patient therapy programs. The campus includes a greenhouse where students grow and sell plants, an art studio with pottery kilns, a teen room with a foosball table, and an apartment with working appliances. The ACCESS Life students use the apartment to learn independent living skills. They grocery shop and cook meals, wash clothes and fold laundry. They go out in the community to exercise, volunteer at food banks, and work in local businesses. They create their own websites and resumes and stage mock job interviews.

“Every time I walk into the building I am inspired.” Nathan said.  “I see individuals who no one ever thought could live independently living on their own, taking the bus to work, and holding a steady job.  It really is amazing.”

Nathan began his career at inVeritas in late 2011, and since then he has recruited nearly every one of his fellow team members to become involved with ACCESS in some capacity.  When Nathan first started, the entire firm took a day to volunteer in the ACCESS gardens, helping with spring cleanup.  Most recently, inVeritas served as title sponsor of the 2013 Bingo Bash.  Several inVeritas team members continue to serve on the Bingo Bash committee, which will be held on July 17th at Holy Souls.

inVeritas is serving as silver sponsor of this year’s Starry Starry Night, and the entire team will be attending the event this Thursday.  Click here for more info on this event.

For more information on how to get involved with ACCESS, please contact Nathan Green at ngreen@inveritasinfo.com or Callie Gutierrez at callie@accessgroupinc.org.