Current Position: Governor since 2015
Former Position(s): Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Border and Transportation Security from 2003 – 2005; Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration from 2001 – 2003; US Representative from 1997 – 2001
Today’s report provides us with some good news on the vaccine front. Almost 13,000 doses administered helps us get closer to our goal, but the continued, steady increase in hospitalizations puts a strain on our health care workers.
LIVE: Governor Hutchinson Holds News Conference (07.29.21)
KUAR, – October 19, 2021 (Medium)
Gov. Asa Hutchinson proposed more than $300 million in income tax breaks Tuesday, but said there will not be a special session starting Oct. 25. He hopes a special session to discuss tax cuts can be called before Thanksgiving, but said no timetable has been set.
Several state lawmakers are expected to try and bring up other issues such as abortion restrictions, and Hutchinson said he wants to vet the legality of those issues being brought up in the special session.
“Everyone knows I’ve been in favor of lowering the individual income tax rate in Arkansas,” the governor said.
Hutchinson offered a three-phase plan. Phase one would increase the tax credit for low-income earners who make about $22,900 or less, from $29 to $60. It would cost $19.6 million annually.
Phase two would combine lower and middle-class income tax brackets and would create a total reduction of $132.7 million in taxes for this group.
The third phase would drop the upper income tax rate from 5.9% next year to 5.5% the following year at a cost of about $109.6 million. The rate would then drop to 5.3% the following year costing the state another $27.4 million in annual revenues.
Associated Press, – September 9, 2021 (Short)
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Thursday said President Joe Biden’s mandate that many private businesses require employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19 is the wrong approach for boosting vaccination rates.
Hutchinson, a Republican who chairs the National Governors Association, compared Biden’s order to a push by some conservatives to prohibit private businesses from requiring vaccinations.
“I have been consistent in the freedom of businesses to require their employees to be vaccinated, and I have opposed the government from saying businesses cannot exercise that freedom,” Hutchinson said in a statement. “The same principle should protect the private sector from government overreach that requires them to vaccinate all employees.”
Source: Government page
Asa Hutchinson is the 46th governor of the State of Arkansas. In 2018, he was re-elected with 65% of the vote, having received more votes than any other candidate for governor in the state’s history.
President Ronald Reagan appointed Governor Hutchinson as U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas. In 1996, he won the first of three successive terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. During his third term in Congress, President George W. Bush appointed him director of the Drug Enforcement Administration and later as an undersecretary in the newly created Department of Homeland Security.
His experience has established him as a national resource for his expertise on trade, energy, national security, and education. The governor has been invited to the White House several times to join discussions about health care, Medicaid, and education issues.
The Governor is the current Vice Chair of the National Governors Association. He is the former co-chair of the Council of Governors and the former chairman of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC), Southern States Energy Board (SSEB), and the Southern Regional Education Board.
Governor Hutchinson grew up on a small farm in Gravette. He is a graduate of the University of Arkansas law school. He and his wife, Susan, have been married 47 years. They have four children and six grandchildren.
William Asa Hutchinson II (//, AY-sə; born December 3, 1950) is an American attorney, businessman, and politician who is the 46th and current governor of Arkansas. A member of the Republican Party, he previously was the U.S. Attorney for the Fort Smith-based Western District of Arkansas (1982–1985), U.S. Representative for Arkansas’s 3rd congressional district (1997–2001), Administrator of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (2001–2003) and the first Undersecretary for Border and Transportation Security at the United States Department of Homeland Security (2003–2005).
In 2006, Hutchinson was the Republican nominee for Governor of Arkansas, but was defeated by Democratic nominee Mike Beebe, the outgoing state attorney general. In 2014, Hutchinson was again the Republican nominee for the governorship, this time winning the election by defeating Democratic U.S. Representative Mike Ross. He was reelected in 2018 with nearly two-thirds of the vote. Hutchinson is barred by term limits from seeking candidacy for Arkansas governor in 2022 and beyond.
From 2020 to 2021, Hutchinson served as vice chair of the National Governors Association, then succeeded Democratic Governor Andrew M. Cuomo of New York as chair of the organization for 2021–2022.
Early life and legal career
Hutchinson was born in Bentonville, Arkansas, the son of Coral Virginia (Mount) Hutchinson (1912–1998) and John Malcolm Hutchinson Sr. (1907–1991). He earned his bachelor’s degree from Bob Jones University in South Carolina in 1972, and received his J.D. from the University of Arkansas School of Law in 1975. He practiced law in Fort Smith for 21 years and handled more than 100 jury trials.
In 1982, Hutchinson was appointed by President Ronald Reagan as U.S. Attorney for the United States Western District of Arkansas. At the age of thirty-one, Hutchinson was the youngest U.S. Attorney in the nation. He made national headlines after successfully prosecuting The Covenant, The Sword, and The Arm of the Lord (CSA), a white supremacist organization founded by polygamist James Ellison. The CSA forced a three-day armed stand-off with local, state and federal law enforcement. As U.S. Attorney, Hutchinson put on a flak jacket and personally negotiated a peaceful conclusion to the stand-off.
In early 2005, Hutchinson founded a consulting firm, Hutchinson Group, LLC, with partners Betty Guhman and Kirk Tompkins, in Little Rock, and accepted a contract for a one-year position with Venable LLP in Washington, D.C., as the chair of its Homeland Security practice. Hutchinson ended his contract with Venable LLP in March 2006 to focus on his gubernatorial campaign and his consulting firm in Little Rock. In January 2007, Hutchinson rejoined Venable.
In June 2006, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported that Hutchinson’s $2,800 investment in Fortress America Acquisition Corporation, a company that Hutchinson was advising, was worth over a million dollars after the company’s initial public offering. The news story noted that Hutchinson was unable to touch his stock for another two years. The six founding shareholders in Fortress America, in addition to Hutchinson, included former U.S. Representative Tom McMillen of Maryland, former U.S. Senator Don Nickles of Oklahoma, and a private-equity firm that had former CIA Director James Woolsey among its partners.
Two months earlier, on May 4, 2006, Hutchinson had filed a financial disclosure form, which he was required to submit as candidate for governor. The form did not list his 200,000 shares in Fortress America, which were trading at about $5 per share. “Just totally an oversight,” Hutchinson said when questioned by the media in June. He filed an amended report the next day to correct the error.
In 1986, Hutchinson ran against incumbent Democratic Senator and former Governor Dale Bumpers. It was a nationally Democratic year, and Hutchinson fared worse than Bumpers’ previous Senate challenger, Little Rock investment banker William P. “Bill” Clark, in the 1980 election.
In 1990, Hutchinson ran against Winston Bryant for Attorney General of Arkansas; he lost in a tight race. After losing the 1990 race, Hutchinson became the co-chairman, with Sheffield Nelson, of the Arkansas Republican Party, a position he held for five years. Hutchinson considered a rematch with Bumpers in 1992 before he deferred to Mike Huckabee, who lost to Bumpers.
U.S. House of Representatives
In 1992 Hutchinson’s brother, Tim, was elected to Congress in Arkansas’s third congressional district, when veteran Republican U.S. Representative John Paul Hammerschmidt retired. In 1996, when his brother decided not to run for a third term in the House in order to seek the open Senate seat caused by the retirement of Democrat David Pryor, Hutchinson ran for the seat and won.
Hutchinson, who had at first decided to run for an open seat in the Arkansas House of Representatives from Sebastian County, defeated Ann Henry, a long-time friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton, in November 1996. Although Henry outspent Hutchinson during the campaign, the district’s heavy Republican tilt and his brother Tim’s presence atop the ballot helped Asa win with 55 percent of the vote—to date, the last remotely competitive race in the Third District. His brother Tim also won his campaign for the U.S. Senate and served for one term, losing his reelection bid in 2002.
In 1998, Hutchinson was reelected to the House with far less difficulty, taking 80 percent of the vote against an underfunded Democratic challenger. He was re-elected unopposed in November 2000.
In office, Hutchinson compiled a voting record as conservative as that of his brother. He led efforts to crack down on illegal drugs, particularly methamphetamine. Hutchinson also served as one of the managers (prosecutors) during the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton in 1998. In 1999, Hutchinson was involved in the effort to reform campaign finance laws and offered an alternative proposal to the bill by Christopher Shays and Marty Meehan, which he opposed on the grounds that it “went too far” because it attempted to ban television commercials by legal third-party organizations. Hutchinson did support the bill by John McCain and Russ Feingold in the Senate.
Hutchinson attempted, unsuccessfully, to modify the civil asset forfeiture reform bill that sought to prevent police abuse of its power to seize private property on mere suspicion of being linked to any criminal investigation. His amendment, allegedly, would have empowered the police to continue profiting from drug money.
Drug Enforcement Administration
Department of Homeland Security
After the September 11 attacks, Congress created the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). President George W. Bush tapped Hutchinson to lead the Border and Transportation Security Directorate, a division of the DHS. Hutchinson was confirmed by unanimous consent by the Senate on January 23, 2003. Hutchinson left office as Undersecretary on March 1, 2005.
Hutchinson agreed to serve on The Constitution Project’s Guantanamo Task Force in December 2010. He told the Associated Press he agreed to join the task force because he believed it was “something important for our national security and our war on terrorism.”
In the wake of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the National Rifle Association (NRA) assembled a task force of experts in homeland security, law enforcement training, and school safety to review school security standards in select areas of the country. The stated goal of the task force was to come up with a comprehensive plan to address the safety of children in schools and to prevent such shootings in the future. Hutchinson served as the leader of the task force. On April 2, 2013, Hutchinson presented the National School Shield plan during a news conference at the National Press Club.
Governor of Arkansas
Shortly after his return to Arkansas, Hutchinson announced his intention to run for governor in 2006. Initially, Hutchinson was to face three-term Lieutenant Governor Winthrop Paul Rockefeller, who was favored in most pre-election polls, in the Republican primary. However, Rockefeller’s withdrawal and death from a blood disorder in early 2006 led to Hutchinson winning the primary. He was defeated in the general election by the Democratic candidate, then-Arkansas Attorney General Mike Beebe.
Hutchinson was the Republican nominee for governor of Arkansas in 2014. He was supported by House Speaker Davy Carter. On November 4, 2014, after defeating Tea Party-backed Curtis Coleman in the Republican Primary, he defeated Democratic gubernatorial nominee Mike Ross in the general election with 55 percent of the vote, the best showing for a Republican in an open-seat gubernatorial race since the end of Reconstruction. His victory also gave the GOP complete control of state government for the first time since the end of Reconstruction.
Hutchinson won re-election on November 6, 2018, in a landslide, taking over 65 percent of the vote and carrying all but eight counties. In a bad year for the GOP nationally, Hutchinson garnered the largest margin of victory for a Republican candidate in Arkansas’ history.
Hutchinson assumed office as governor on January 13, 2015.
Under Hutchinson, the state of Arkansas resumed executions in 2017 after having executed no prisoners since 2005. In 2021, DNA testing on the murder weapon and a bloody shirt at the scene of the crime did not match Ledell Lee, who was convicted and executed for murder. Hutchinson defended the execution of Lee, saying “the DNA findings released today do not present any conclusive evidence to undermine [Lee’s guilty verdict].”
As governor, Hutchinson implemented work requirements for Medicaid enrollees. As a result, by December 2018, almost 17,000 Arkansans had lost their Medicaid health insurance, with reapplication available in the new calendar year.
In February 2019, Hutchinson signed a bill into law that would criminalize abortion in the event Roe v. Wade is overturned. On March 9, 2021, he signed SB6, a near-total abortion bill, into state law. He said that the bill was intended “to set the stage for the Supreme Court overturning current case law. I would have preferred the legislation to include the exceptions for rape and incest, which has been my consistent view, and such exceptions would increase the chances for a review by the U.S. Supreme Court.”
In 2015, Hutchinson signed into law legislation that would prohibit localities from extending civil rights protections to LGBT individuals. At the time, Arkansas was among states that allowed discrimination in the workplace, housing and business on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation. In March 2021, Hutchinson signed into law legislation that would allow doctors to refuse non-emergency medical treatment to LGBT individuals based on moral objection. In April 2021, he vetoed a bill that would make it illegal for transgender minors to receive gender-affirming medication or surgery, calling it “a vast government overreach”, though the state legislature later overrode this veto.
In August 2021, Hutchinson signed bills into law that prohibited businesses and government facilities from requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination for staff and customers to enter facilities. While Arkansas was experiencing a wave of COVID-19 cases, he also signed a bill into law that prohibited state and local officials from enacting mask mandates. He later said that he regretted doing so.
Asa Hutchinson’s older brother, Tim, preceded him as U.S. Representative from Arkansas’s 3rd congressional district and served one term as a United States Senator from Arkansas from 1997 to 2003, being defeated for a second term by then-Arkansas Attorney General Mark Pryor, a Democrat, in 2002. Asa and Tim Hutchinson are both graduates of Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina with Asa, Class of 1972. His identical twin nephews, Jeremy and Timothy Chad Hutchinson, sons of Tim Hutchinson, were the first twins to serve alongside each other in the Arkansas General Assembly, both as members of the House of Representatives. Hutchinson is the brother-in-law of former Arkansas state Senator who in 1958 married Hutchinson’s sister, Marylea Hutchinson. Arkansas District 2 State Senator Jim Hendren of Sulphur Springs is Hutchinson’s nephew. Hutchinson’s son, Asa Hutchinson III has been arrested multiple times for driving offenses to include arrests in 2019, 2018 and 2016 for DWI and an arrest for possession of a controlled substance at a music festival in 2016.
|Democratic gain from Republican||Swing|
|Republican gain from Democratic|
|Republican||Asa Hutchinson (incumbent)||145,251||69.7|
|Republican||Asa Hutchinson (incumbent)||582,406||65.33%||+9.89%|
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Former FBI Director William Sessions, former Arkansas U.S. Rep. Asa Hutchinson, a retired Army general and a retired appeals court judge in Washington are among 11 people selected for a task force that will meet for the first time in early January, said Virginia Sloan, a lawyer and president of The Constitution Project.
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