Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Each year on Memorial Day, we are reminded to take time to reflect on our soldiers and their sacrifice. We take this day not only to honor those who have served, or are serving, but also to grieve for those we have lost.

From our founding, America has been a nation hard won. We fought for our independence, we fought for the liberation of other countries from foreign dictators, and even today we face enemies that we must fight. In each case, it is inspiring to see the men and women that step forward to serve our common purpose to promote good and defend the land we love.

The level of sacrifice and commitment our soldiers show in the face of danger, I believe, is a remarkable thing. This is not something that is universal; it is something rare that should be appreciated and honored. We should take this day to try to nurture that same selfless commitment in our own lives.

In renewing our commitment to the troops we remind them that their cause is worthy, and their struggle noble. We should take time to consider what they are fighting for, and remember it is not all up to them.

In our support of then, we will work to secure better benefits for returning soldiers, families of military, and their children. We will continue to invest in better technology, training, and resources available to our troops, so that they may face our enemies with confidence. This unwavering support is a moral obligation that the United States government should always uphold to its’ troops; that every available resource or tool is at their disposal from deployment until their safe return home.

As important as it is to remember those fallen soldiers, it’s also important that we remember the veterans that return home. Many of these men and women come back injured, in need of work, or needing help to get the best education that they can for themselves and their children. Our duty to our troops does not end when they return home.

Memorial Day is just one day. I ask that you keep these men and women in your thoughts and prayers every day, and think of what you can do to honor their service and sacrifice. Keep in your hearts and minds the families and loved ones of those currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, that they may return home safely.

Most of all let the soldiers and their families know you care. This is the greatest commitment we can ask of anyone, and their families share that sacrifice. For that, we can never thank them enough, and wish them only the best.

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Friday, April 23, 2010

Delta Regional Authority Nomination

I am proud to see that President Obama has nominated Mr. Masingill as Co-Chair of the Delta Regional Authority. The residents of the 252 counties and parishes that make up the region are of great importance to me, and I cannot think of a better individual to serve their needs than Chris Masingill. He understands the ins and outs of operating between local, state, and federal agencies better than anyone I know, and how critical it is to making this program work efficiently and effectively. His experience reflects his deep passion for improving the quality of life in the region, and that enthasiasm is what drives the relationsships amongst the many groups and states involved in making this program successful.

I wish Chris only the best in his new role and am confident about the progess the Delta Regional Authority will see on his watch.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Health Care Bill I Introduced

This past Wednesday I introduced my own version of the Healthcare bill to the House of Representatives. It has been referred to several house committees for consideration. The reason that I have introduced this bill is that I don’t think any of us have a right to disagree or to not be supportive of someone else’s effort unless we at least provide an alternative. Health care reform must be deficit-neutral and must be fully paid for by squeezing out more savings from the pharmaceutical manufacturers and private insurance industry instead of cramming down hospitals and other providers and taxing Americans.

The bill I have introduced includes several pieces of legislation that I have presented to the floor in the past including language for the Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate prices of pharmaceuticals for Medicare Part D recipients, eliminating pre-existing conditions, allowing drug importation that Congressional Budget Office has projected will save 50 billion alone over the next 10 years, exempting all pharmacies and pharmacists from durable medical equipment accreditation, and no taxpayer funding for abortions.

As a former pharmacist and co-chairman of the bipartisan Congressional Community Pharmacy Coalition, I feel the most important part of the reform effort is that the bill will stay completely deficient neutral.

The bill I introduced, H.R. 4813, is now on my website. To read the full text of the bill, please go to http://www.house.gov/berry/ It is entitled Health Care Reform Bill on the left tab.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Not seeking Re-Election

Since 1997, the people of the First Congressional District of Arkansas have entrusted me to serve them in Washington. It has been an honor I have never taken for granted and for their support I will be eternally grateful. After much prayer and consideration, I have decided it is time for me to return home to Arkansas. The people deserve a representative who has the ability to rise to the numerous challenges that face our state and our nation. As a lifelong farmer, time has taken its toll on my health and I am no longer able to serve the district with the vitality I once possessed. Therefore, I have decided not to seek reelection in 2010. I am at perfect peace with this decision and look forward to returning to the farm and my home state of Arkansas.

Thank you for allowing me to serve you in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2010

Today, I am proud to join with all Americans as we celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He called on Americans to fulfill our nation's promise of Democracy while inspiring our nation's most profound movements by uniting people from all walks of life. On this day we remember and honor his struggles, his accomplishments and his life.

Dr. King faced resistance, encountered threats and ultimately gave his life for the civil rights cause. By challenging our nation to live up to the ideals bestowed to us by the founding fathers, Dr. King instilled a new generation with hope that the American dream is available to all, and not limited by the color of your skin.

While we have made significant strides marching towards the Promised Land that Dr. King spoke of, social injustices he fought against still exist. In honor of his birthday, let us all recognize the full depth of Dr. King's vision and recommit ourselves to establishing equality for all Americans. His legacy remains an inspiration to our nation and we must continue to honor his dream by working to dispel intolerance and social disparities wherever they arise. Although a shadow fell on our nation with Dr. King's untimely departure, his work, his dream and his legacy continue to serve as an example for us all.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Earthquake in Haiti

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Haiti as they struggle to recover from Tuesday’s earthquake. We especially pray for families who are still waiting to hear from loved ones and for the continued successful rescue efforts of survivors. The rebuilding may be tireless and long, but the United States will do all we can to help the people of Haiti move forward from this tragedy to rebuild their communities and their lives.

Anyone seeking information about U.S. citizens in Haiti can e-mail the State Department at Haiti-Earthquake@state.gov

If you are interested in providing assistance or expertise in Haiti, you can contact the Center for International Disaster Information for details. The Center, operated under a grant from the United States Agency for International Development's Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, has established a dedicated page to coordinate Haiti support at: http://www.cidi.org/incident/haiti-10a/

Thursday, December 03, 2009

George Kell Post Office

Today a bill was passed to name the post office in Swifton after George Kell, who was known as a famous athlete and community leader. I am pleased to see the House passage of this bill honoring George Kell, native son of Arkansas’s First Congressional District. Throughout his life, he distinguished himself as an athlete, broadcaster, and community leader. Kell passed away earlier this year at the age of 86 and it was a tremendous loss that was felt by all who loved him. I am thankful my colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives joined me in keeping Kell's memory alive today by renaming this post office in his honor.

George Kell enjoyed a long career in Major League Baseball with the Athletics, Tigers, Red Sox, White Sox, and Orioles. During his 15-year playing career, Kell made the All-Star team 10 times and established himself as one of the greatest third basemen in the history of the American League. For his accomplishments, he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

After his retirement from baseball, Kell returned to the Detroit Tigers organization as their TV announcer, a position he held for almost 40 years. His broadcasting career allowed him to connect with generations of new fans who were too young to ever see him play the game.

Despite all his accomplishments in baseball, George Kell was simply a good friend and neighbor to those who knew him best. Throughout his life, he kept returning to his hometown of Swifton, a place he loved like no other. He was an active and respected member of the community, even serving on the Arkansas Highway Commission for 10 years. His career gave him the opportunity to see it all, but he knew there was no place like home.

George Kell’s enduring popularity is evidenced by the fan mail he continued to receive long after his retirement. It is a fitting tribute that we name the Swifton post office, where he went regularly to correspond with his fans across the country, after this great citizen. It’s the least we can do for a friend and a native son of Arkansas.