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Talk Business & Politics Staff

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Talk Business' Roby Brock (left) with Economist Mervin Jebaraj (right)
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Out with the old year; in with the new year!  How did Arkansas' and the national economy hold up in 2017?  What can we expect in 2018?  Roby Brock with Talk Business and Politics sits down with Economist Mervin Jebaraj to go over the numbers.


Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced his initial campaign team structure on Monday, Jan. 1. Five positions were filled as the governor embarks on his re-election bid. The staff and consultants include:

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There’s a lot of new talent running for office in Arkansas these days.  Among those is a teacher from Helena-West Helena running as a Democrat for the first U.S. Congressional District.  His name is Chintan Desai.  He wants to take on GOP incumbent Congressman Rick Crawford next November, although he may have to defeat primary challenger Richard Butler first.  Roby Brock with Talk Business and Politics sits down with Desai for a conversation.


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The Alabama U.S. Senate Special Election has been the buzz of the nation this week.  Did the upset win of Doug Jones over Roy Moore change the dynamics for next year’s races?  Roby Brock with Talk Business and Politics sits down with Republican strategist Richard Bearden and Democratic strategist Jessica DeLoach Sabin to talk about how the election impacts the political climate in Arkansas.


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On Tuesday, Arkansas Democrats received an early Christmas present.  Jared Henderson, 39, announced he would run for the Governor seat to challenge incumbent Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson.  Roby Brock with Talk Business and Politics sits down with Henderson for a one-on-one to discuss his platform.


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Could we see a special election to replace Sen. Tom Cotton should he jump to a rumored CIA post?  Plus, tax cuts passed the Senate, but are they a political winner or loser?  Roby Brock with Talk Business and Politics discusses those topics and more with John Brummett, a columnist with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.


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Health care is the big topic as open enrollment is underway across the nation for health insurance.  People without insurance from their employer can get enrolled in the marketplace.  Roby Brock with Talk Business and Politics sits down with Arkansas’ director of the marketplace Angela Lowther to learn more.


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There was rampant speculation late last week that Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) may be tabbed to join the Trump Administration as the new director of the CIA.  The news follows speculation that President Trump would be removing Rex Tillerson from the Secretary of State position—news that has been denied by the White House.  Roby Brock with Talk Business and Politics sits down with Republican John Burris and Democrat Jessica DeLoach Sabin and discusses how Cotton's new job could impact Arkansas' political landscape if he takes the job.


Talk Business and Politics

Tax cuts, the economy… it’s all the rage these days to discuss.  Roby Brock with Talk Business and Politics sits down with Randy Zook, CEO of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce to discuss his take on tax reform and where Arkansas legislators stand on the issue.


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Roby Brock with Talk Business and Politics has the details on a potential Democratic challenger for Arkansas governor in 2018.  Plus, a speaker at the University Of Arkansas Clinton School Of Public Service discusses how America has been preparing for a nuclear disaster.  


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The Arkansas Agriculture Department’s Forestry Commission (AFC) has suppressed 103 wildfires that burned 1,805 acres in the last four days, and now, 59 of 75 Arkansas counties are under high wildfire danger. Current drought conditions and weather forecasts for low humidity and gusty winds will create elevated wildfire danger across Arkansas through this week.

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Roby Brock with Talk Business and Politics on this episode talks about sexual misconduct in the national headlines and how the national discussion impacts Arkansans.  Brock is speaking with Weekend Anchor Janelle Lilley of KATV in Little Rock and Tamika Edwards of Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families.


Arkansas voters oppose a Republican effort to repeal Obamacare immediately and wait two years to find a replacement plan.

Arkansas voters are relatively split on President Donald Trump’s campaign ties to the Russian government, but a majority are not ready to impeach him over the matter or call for his resignation at this time. That's according to a new Talk Business & Politics-Hendrix College survey that shows voters are keenly aware of the issue.

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Despite objections from world leaders, big business, Democrats, and people within his party and family, President Donald Trump announced Thursday (June 1) he’s removing the U.S. from the historic Paris Climate Accord.

It means the U.S. will join Syria and Nicaragua as the only countries not participating, and Nicaragua didn’t join because officials didn’t think the agreement went far enough to protect the environment.

“I was elected to serve the people of Pittsburgh, not Paris,” Trump said unapologetically during a press conference on the White House grounds.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue took an aerial tour Sunday over flood-ravaged Northeast Arkansas. Perdue promised the federal government would provide resources to help residents and farmers put their lives back in order.

At least 10 percent of Arkansas’ rice crop could be lost as historic floodwaters wash through northeast Arkansas and head south in the coming days. The University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture estimates 100,000 rice acres have probably been destroyed or significantly impacted, and that number could rise dramatically by this weekend, U of A rice extension agronomist Dr.

Arkansas-based retail giant Wal-Mart in its re-organization of the Walmart U.S. technology division is eliminating around 300 jobs in the Information Systems Division (ISD).

Arkansas House Minority Leader and State Rep. Michael John Gray, D-Augusta, was elected as the new chairman of the Democratic Party of Arkansas. He succeeds Vincent Insalaco, who steered the state’s Democrats for two election cycles.

“To the hundreds of Arkansas Democrats who gathered today to elect new leadership, I am humbled and overwhelmed to be the next chair of the Party. To all of the Democrats across our state, I look forward to serving all of you and fighting for a brighter future for all of our fellow Arkansans. To our new officers, congratulations and thank you to all who stepped up to run,” Gray said.

The Delta Regional Authority has donated $1 million toward the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub’s I-Fund, a funding and training program for small businesses started by college students. The program will expand in its geographical reach and will be called the Delta I-Fund, according to an email newsletter from the Hub.

The next two 12-week sessions will be in the fall, offering $50,000 in potential funding for each startup. All companies accepted to the program will receive $5,000. Participants will be selected by a five-person committee, according to the Hub.

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