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Gov. Hutchinson discusses statewide issues at NEA Mayors Caucus

The governor gave an opening remark to the mayors, before speaking with the media.
The governor gave an opening remark to the mayors, before speaking with the media.(KAIT)
Published: Jun. 16, 2021 at 5:21 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 16, 2021 at 7:26 PM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Mayors from seven different counties gathered Wednesday at the Woodard McCallister Club at the Centennial Bank Stadium for the first-ever NEA Mayors Caucus. Joining them was Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

Hutchinson delivered the opening speech to the caucus before meeting with the media afterward.

With vaccine rates lower than the national average in Arkansas, Hutchinson said he is disappointed with the state’s progress but said he wants to educate, not mandate.

“We need to do better,” Hutchinson said. “I mean we’re below the national average in the rate of vaccination. We have assessed goals, we are encouraging everyone, so we’re doing everything that we can. It’s an individual decision.”

His preferred method of improving vaccination rates is working with employers to host medical professionals, in order to give workers access to proper information and answer any concerns.

On Tuesday, Hutchinson announced the appointment of those on the Arkansas Cyber Advisory Council, which will recommend the best courses of action to protect the data of people, businesses, and cities in the state.

The Delta is particularly susceptible to possible cyber threats, especially when it comes to the food production industry.

“You look at our agriculture community. If you use software, if you are on the internet, which most of our farmers are, then you’re subject to manipulation, and you are subject to an attack,” Hutchinson said. “You can’t overspend, but you do have to make sure you have the right security measures in place.”

As for the mayors’ meeting, Hutchinson said it’s great to see the leaders uniting to compete with other regions in the state, such as central and northwest Arkansas.

“It’s very encouraging that Northeast Arkansas realizes that we need to do a lot more in terms of a regional approach,” Hutchinson said. “So all the mayors cooperating and getting together is exactly the right approach. That’ll make us more efficient, it’ll help us invest better and it’ll help us to recruit workers.”

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