U.S. Sen. John Boozman (R-Arkansas) received a warm welcome from students and faculty when he toured campus March 20.
He spoke to the UCA Student Government Association and physical therapy students about ongoing health care issues and educational opportunities on campus.
Boozman’s staff was close by his side as he spoke with SGA senators, met with UCA instructors and discussed education matters with administrative officials.
While at the University of Arkansas – Fayetteville, Boozman studied optometry and later became a prominent eye care provider in Northwest Arkansas.
He was elected as a senator in 2011 and served as a U.S. House of Representatives member from 2001-2011.
Boozman explained the importance of building a relationship with the community
to SGA members and praised the senate’s efforts to increase relations with state government.
He criticized Pres. Barack Obama’s health care law and discussed its negative effects on the medical community in terms of care and affordability.
Boozman has pushed for a delay in expanding “Obamacare” as it continues its national debut this year.
According to his senate website, he cosponsored the proposed Freeing Americans from Inequitable Requirements (FAIR) Act.
The act would change the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, making the individual health insurance mandate not required until the employer health insurance mandate is enforced without any exceptions, according to the bill’s page.
Boozman said Obama’s Affordable Care Act has origins that lack efficiency and that the previous system already “wasn’t working.”
“The problem with Obamacare is they’re taking an old system and adding people to it,” he said.
Boozman criticized the health care reforms as being too costly and ineffective in terms of paperwork and deductibles.
Other pressing issues Boozman said Washington faces include jobs and the ongoing Ukraine crisis.
He said the U.S. needs to continue to assist Ukraine and impose sanctions on Russia, providing a “forceful approach” to promote stability.
Apart from his political statements, Boozman encouraged internship opportunities at his offices in Arkansas and Washington, D.C.
UCA graduate Clermon Acklin works for Boozman and said he was grateful for the opportunities he received to work closely in government.
SGA President Adam Price, senior, mentioned SGA’s recent efforts to increase collaboration with student governments on college campuses across Arkansas.
He said UCA’s student government is proposing to lobby on university issues in the state legislature.
Boozman also said the future relies on public-private partnerships that garner positive results.
Executive Assistant to the President Gilbert Baker and President Tom Courtway attended, offering brief statements of appreciation for Boozman’s visit.
Courtway described the campus as he and Boozman walked to the UCA Physical Therapy Center.
After the meeting with SGA in the Student Center, Courtway and Baker led Boozman to the Physical Therapy Center, where he was welcomed by physical therapy faculty including William Bandy and Steven Forbush.
UCA’s physical therapy department within the College of Health and Behavioral Sciences provides more than 40,000 square feet of teaching, lab and research space, according to its website.
The program began in 1972 as the first in Arkansas.
Nancy Reese, physical therapy professor and chairperson, discussed ongoing research and advancements in the field with Boozman as he was led through the building to tour labs and lecture rooms.
Second-year students Bobby Gragston, Amanda Ward, Kristen Foster, Bekah Fisher, TJ Frix, Courtney Barr, Jessica Winberry and Kyle Reed were among several who took pictures with Boozman.
While in the Physical Therapy Center, he frequently posed for pictures with patients and students who offered their time to show UCA’s educational offerings.
He spoke with patients Jen Goodwin and Scotty Ellis, who were receiving physical therapy during this time in the building.
Senior clinical instructor Twala Maresh explained the tools students use to gain experience.
Boozman said he was impressed with the facilities UCA had to offer to physical therapy students and that, as a medical professional, he was pleased to see people showing an interest in the field.