Governor Hutchinson gets praise from White House for community COVID-19 forums

Arkansas News

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson speaks during a town hall meeting in Texarkana, Ark., regarding COVID-19 vaccines Thursday, July 15, 2021. (Kelsi Brinkmeyer/The Texarkana Gazette via AP)

WASHINGTON (KNWA/KFTA) — Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson (R) seems to be taking the right steps when it comes to explaining the importance of the COVID-19 vaccine, at least according to the White House.

On Wednesday, August 4, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki gave credit to Arkansas’ governor during the daily press briefing about his effort to address the community about getting vaccinated.

“The President said yesterday, the vast majority of leaders — and as I’ve said too — continue to step up and do the right thing.  People like Governor Hutchinson have been traveling their state, hearing from their communities, and answering questions about the vaccine.”

Hutchinson has held eight “Community COVID Conversations” across Arkansas, the first one was in Cabot on July 9 and nearly 100 people attended.

The forums were launched because of an increase in the number of new COVID-19 cases and a low vaccination rate.

“This is a chance for me to hear your concerns and ideas,” the Governor said. “It’s a chance for me to continue to encourage people to get vaccinated. This is the challenge we face.”

The last community conversation was in Siloam Springs on July 30. Many people who attended let the governor know they were not pleased with his handling of the pandemic, and other attendees were disappointed with the disrespect shown to Hutchinson.

Hundreds of people posted to social media and comments were both positive and negative.

“The data is skewed. And when lottery tickets and fishing licenses are being used as bait, something is amiss,” one person wrote. Another person had a request, “Please get vaccinated so we don’t have to shut everything down again. You’re making it hard on everyone by not doing it.”

Meanwhile, the Arkansas state legislature has agreed to let the governor’s most recent COVID-19 emergency declaration stand. It will last for 60 days and allow the state to seek additional staffing assistance from an interstate compact.

The state has a total of 20,559 active cases and last month, an increase of nearly 16,000 from last month, according to the Arkansas Department of Health.

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