Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Mid Term Mid Week Thump

The  people have spoken and I hope they know what they are saying.
Last evenings election night
mayhem that resulting in tilting the Congressional legislative balance in favor of Republicans as well as many state houses, may have consequences that are yet unrealized.

As a Democratic Republic, it is our belief in the "one man or woman vote," to determine who will represent the overall electorate. Despite record turn out during early voting and otherwise, our system of sending folks to office worked again.

Although there were some small hiccups and long lines at some polling places, the choices have been made that all of us now must live with while hopefully holding these individuals accountable for this latest multi million dollar slug fest for power.

 Let us not forget all the talk about "taking our country back," from Tom Cotton and his quip about "our values as a free people in Arkansas." As the messiness of the election wound up, I could not overlook Governor elect Asa Hutchinson who ran ads in the Black community that he was a man all about " marriage was for one man and one women."

Amidst it all, there are significant issues such as tax reform, illegal immigration, energy policies and the countries infrastructure which should be front and center nationally. While locally it is imperative that our Health Care Independence Act  continues in lieu of ongoing HIV infections, prison overcrowding and jail bed space, educational outcomes and other social determinants should be on the legislative plate come 2015.

The polls have closed. The seemingly endless vicious ads have ceased. And the victor speeches have come and gone. So with all that said and done, let's see what awaits us as the political wheels grind on. We'll keep the light on....

PFLAG November Meet UP

The monthly meeting of the local chapter of  Parents and Friends of Lesbian and Gays will take place, November 7, inside the First Presbyterian Church, 800 Scott Street in downtown Little
Rock at 6:30pm.

Organizer Carla Coley announced that the main topic of the meeting will center around what good has recently happened in the LGBTQ movement and she encourages participants to submit  a story or article to share. Also she states that the tone of the meeting will be to accent  positive aspects.  Coley states that she is seeking individual who would like to step up and play a bigger role as well as adding input in leading the PFLAG meetings. Check out their Facebook page for more contact information.

Arkansas HPG Signs On

The Arkansas HIV Planning Group signed on to a support letter forged by The AIDS Budget and Appropriations Coalition (ABAC) which urges member of the appropriations committee to prioritize domestic HIV/AIDS funding in the fiscal year 2015 budget.

Currently the Congress has been authorizing supplemental and stop gap funding measures as they haggle over the many tenants of the entire budget appropriation. This issue has been a topic of discussion at recent AHPG meetings concerning how the Arkansas Department of Health's Hepatitis C, HIV Section will be able to adequately budget for the next round of prevention funding in the state. Section Chief Ralph Wilmoth, has stated that the section is continuously monitoring the state of affairs around what's happening in D.C. "All our subsequent planning, is related to budget shortfalls or how we may need to reallocated our resources," he concludes.

AHPG Co-Chair, C. Mabin said, " I felt it imperative that AHPG sign on this letter as a signal that only are we in lock step with ABAC but also duly concerned with this budgetary dilemma. This could directly affect how we can effectively use federal dollars in our mission to decrease infections in Arkansas."

The letter emphasizes that failure to continue to our nations investment in a health care safety-net and to support prevention, care and treatment and research programs will result in significant increases in HIV infections. Plus the document highlights that this could also result in higher hospital and emergency room cost and diminish hope for a cure and or vaccine to eradicate HIV disease. The letter outlined the following funding request to fully fund the Ryan White Program:

Part A: $656 million

Part B (Care): $415 million

Part B (ADAP): $900 million
Part C: $215 million

Part D: $75 million

Part F/AETC: $34 million

Part F/Dental: $13 million

Part F/SPNS: $25 million
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