Year in Review12/30/2016
In 1902, Winston Churchill was interviewed for an article in the newspaper. When asked what qualities a politician required, Churchill humorously responded, “The ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year – and then to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn’t happen.”
Churchill understood that a lot can change in a year. And as I look back over 2016, I am pleased with the change in Arkansas and our success. We continue to build on our state’s momentum in economic development, employment rates, efficiencies, education and infrastructure, to name a few.
From opening an office of transformation for state efficiencies to opening a trade office in Germany, we have continued to pursue excellence in our state government and economic development. This year, our economy grew at a faster pace than 75% of all other states in the country, and our unemployment rate was significantly lower than the national average. Additionally, 2016 has been a year of continued growth in the number of people who call Arkansas their home. The movement of people to our state is important to our economy, to the next generation of Arkansans, and to the dozens of companies that have relocated or expanded in Arkansas this year.
We’ve had great success in economic growth this year, but it’s important to recognize that success in economic development starts with a solid infrastructure. That’s why, this May, I worked to pass legislation that provided much needed funding to support our highways and roads to continue creating jobs and supporting hard-working Arkansans.
This year, our state pushed towards a more economically responsible approach to healthcare through the passage of Arkansas Works, putting a greater emphasis on work opportunities, personal responsibility, increased usage of employer-based insurance and cost-savings.
In education, over 200 Arkansas schools have been connected to high-speed broadband since the beginning of 2016, and our state continues to lead the nation in computer science education with over 5,500 students enrolled in computer coding courses. As educational opportunities improve throughout the state, likewise, opportunities for economic growth, health care and community development will increase.
It’s been a busy year. These accomplishments only scratch the surface of the advancements our state has made since last January, and I’m eager to serve Arkansans in 2017 by continuing to work for economic development, education and efficiencies. 2016 was a good year, but we’re not done yet.