Not whole truth

Editor, The Commercial:

As one might expect, Rep. Vivian Flowers has taken exception to recent attempts to take her to the woodshed. From what I've seen, I'd probably be rankled, too, when my hand was caught in the cookie jar.

Flowers says that in "almost 10 years ... " she's been absent "a total of six days." That's not all she's missed, according to "VoteSmart," a nonpartisan website that provides unbiased information on the American political scene. The site identifies 16 missed "critical" votes not made for, against or present by Flowers.

Then there's the Great-32-Citations-for-Very-Tardy-Campaign-Financial-Reports-Debacle. Flowers says she paid only one fine for these 32 transgressions. That's kinda-sorta-but-not-quite-the-whole-truth.

In 2017, the Arkansas Ethics Commission called Flowers' hand, citing 32 separate failures to submit financial reports on time. They settled these 32 separate incidents for one $500 fine rather than the normal $50 a pop. Yes, it was one fine. But also yes, the fine was for 32 separate violations of election laws.

And on May 21, 2021, she filed her report for the Nov. 2020 General Election 142 days late. Do you see a pattern?

In the 2023 legislative session, Flowers sponsored a bill restoring gun rights to convicted felons who met certain conditions. Turns out, on the day her give-em-back-guns bill reached the appropriate legislative committee, all the members had left their 10-foot poles at home, meaning they would not touch it -- but they did rightfully kill it.

Then there was Flowers' opposition to Saracen Casino. If Flowers had her way, that land would still be growing soybeans instead of growing the tax coffers of Pine Bluff and Jefferson County and providing 1,200 jobs into our local economy.

Despite Flowers' opposition, we now have a state-of-the-art public library. If Flowers had her way it would still be an ugly, bare space, not quite as elegant as a parking lot. We would also not have the new city council chamber, nor would we have the Detective Kevin D. Collins Training Center.

Flowers' opposition to the Public Safety Tax was based on what she perceived as supposed procedural imperfections. Even with imperfections, it was the only game in town for our first responders. Who knows when we will have the next opportunity to provide additional support to our first responders?

PS: The truth ain't dirty.

Joe Dempsey

Pine Bluff

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