Hometown proud: Tom Cotton and the local phone company | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Hometown proud: Tom Cotton and the local phone company

Posted By on Thu, Oct 23, 2014 at 6:53 AM

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The latest Yell County Record includes a front page spread and this ad inside with the label that Anna and Tom Cotton live in Dardanelle.

It is perhaps only a coincidence that there's been a bit of skepticism about how deep Cotton's roots are planted in his boyhood hometown. The house pictured as Tom and Anna's home is a family rental property and Anna Cotton has been working in Washington. If elected, he and she will spend about as much time in Arkansas as the average senator — not a whole lot. That's the nature of the business.

A better Yell County question today for Tom Cotton is what he thinks about the outrageous pork barreling from USDA funds in Yell County. 

Roby Brock reported on Talk Business that Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack had announced a $24 million government subsidized loan to Danville-based ArkWest Communication to expand broadband access to rural customers in Yell County. ArkWest is headed by P.T. Sanders, one of Cotton's major campaign supporters. Back in 2013, when Cotton took office, the Democrat-Gazette reported:

A white hard hat was the first item Tom Cotton placed on a shelf behind his desk in the Cannon House Office Building shortly before swearing to support and defend the U.S. Constitution as Arkansas’ newest member of the House of Representatives.

The hat came from P.T. Sanders, president of Danville-based telecommunications company, Arkwest Communications.

About 50 Arkwest employees worked for Cotton at polling stations during last year’s Republican primary election, Sanders said Thursday.

He and Cotton shared a frustration with government regulations that were hurting his business, Sanders said 

Damn those government regulations! Damn their $24 million in subsidized loan money!

Does government really need to get into the business of financing private business? It's a bad idea for student lending, isn't it? Tom Cotton thinks so. And the USDA? Isn't that the agency where Cotton is hungering to slash spending?

Not in this case, I'd guess. His campaign employee, Rep. John Burris, happily tweeted Brock's news yesterday:

Great company led by great ppl. They get AR and will be here for a long time.

You could say the same thing about all those hundreds of thousands of people who receive health insurance and nutritional assistance from programs that Cotton wants to slash.

PS — A Democratic fact-checker says the USDA loan that Cotton's campaign supporter received flowed through an omnibus spending bill that — yes, you guessed it — Tom Cotton voted against.

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