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WASHINGTON -- U.S. Rep. French Hill spent two days along the U.S.-Mexico border last week, his first trip there as a member of Congress.

Hill, a Republican from Little Rock, traveled with U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham, R-La., on the trip to El Paso, Texas, which was organized by U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas.

On Wednesday the congressmen toured part of the border with a local sheriff. Hill said the sheriff showed them a gap in the border fence. On Thursday they observed U.S. Customs and Border Protection workers at a border crossing and also spoke with business owners in both countries, Hill said.

"I wanted to get the perspective not only of the Customs and Border Patrol but also of local law enforcement and local business folks," Hill said. "It was a short but very helpful trip."

BIG DAM RESTROOMS

The National Park Service has awarded a $138,000 Land and Water Conservation Fund grant to Little Rock to build restrooms and a bike repair hub at Murray Park at the base of the Big Dam Bridge in Little Rock.

According to the grant award form, the entire project is expected to cost $276,000.

CHIEF OF STAFF

U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman, a Republican from Hot Springs, has hired a longtime employee of Arkansas Republican politicians as his new chief of staff.

Vivian Moeglein, 37, worked for then-U.S. Rep. Asa Hutchinson from 1997 until 2001, when she was hired as legislative director for then-U.S. Rep. John Boozman. In 2006, she took a position representing the American Council of Engineering Companies, the trade association of America's engineering industry, on transportation-related policy before Congress. She has a bachelor of arts in government and politics from the University of Maryland at College Park.

Westerman's first chief of staff, Ken Ryan James, resigned after an unpaid parking ticket led to a bench warrant and the suspension of his driver's license, which he discovered when he was pulled over for speeding while driving the congressman and his wife.

BUDGET OFFICE

A former University of Arkansas economics professor has been named director of the Congressional Budget Office, which provides Congress with non-partisan analysis of the budget and economic forecasts.

Keith Hall replaced Doug Elmendorf at the budgeting agency Wednesday. Hall taught economics at the university between 1985 and 1992.

HUCKABEE

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is scheduled to speak at the Iowa Faith and Freedom spring kickoff April 25 along with several other potential Republican candidates for president. Other speakers at the Waukee, Iowa, event are: Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Carly Fiorina of California, Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin and former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania.

ALZHEIMER'S ASSOCIATION

Several Arkansans traveled to Washington, D.C., to attend the 27th annual Alzheimer's Association Advocacy Forum from March 23-25.

Mike Son of Bella Vista, Kathy Short of Fayetteville, Phil Schmidt of Little Rock, Robin LeGuin of Arkadelphia and Sherry Pearce of Jonesboro visited Capitol Hill to ask the delegation to vote to increase funding to address the disease, which has no known cure.

EPA SCHOLARSHIP

University of Arkansas civil engineering student Ryan DuChanois, 20, of Greenland has received a research fellowship from the Environmental Protection Agency. He is eligible for up to $20,700 a year of academic support and $8,600 to use for a summer internship at an EPA facility working with scientists in his field of study.

DuChanois said by phone that this summer he will intern with the agency in Corvallis, Ore., and will study how to incorporate sustainable resources into infrastructure, with a focus on hydrology. During the school year he will research the toxicity of pharmaceutical and pesticide compounds in wastewater, he said.

IN THE DISTRICT

The U.S. House and Senate are halfway through a two-week break. They return April 13.

U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, a Republican from Rogers, on Wednesday attended a business round table in Pindall, toured the Hillcrest Home in Harrison and visited Clay Maxey Ford in Harrison. On Thursday, he toured EOA Children's House in Springdale. On Saturday, he was scheduled to attend the annual Trent Trumbo Easter Feed at Central United Methodist Church in Fayetteville.

On Tuesday, Womack is scheduled to appear at a town hall-style meeting at 5 p.m. at Russellville High School's Black Box Room at the Center for the Arts, located at 2209 South Knoxville Ave. in Russellville.

Westerman is scheduled to hold an open house at 3:30 p.m. Monday at his Pine Bluff district office located at 100 E. 8th Ave., Room 2521. He is scheduled to hold an open house at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at his El Dorado district office located at 101 N. Washington St.

U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford, a Republican from Jonesboro, was scheduled to hold his annual pre-pig roast fundraiser Saturday before the Miracle League of Jonesboro's Weiner pig roast at Weiner High School.

U.S. Sen. John Boozman, a Republican from Rogers, on Wednesday helped pack boxes at Operation Reboot in Rogers, an organization that collects donations ranging from bedroom and living room furniture to cookware, towels and smaller furnishings to help formerly homeless veterans who have recently found housing.

Also Wednesday, he held a round-table conversation with community bankers at First Western Bank's Pinnacle Branch, met with mayors at Wooden Spoon, a restaurant in Gentry, and with small-business owners in Fayetteville.

On Thursday he talked with small-business owners in Rogers, visited Ozark Sportsman's Supply and spoke at the Springdale Kiwanis Club Lunch at Western Sizzlin.

MOBILE OFFICE

Westerman's staff will be available to answer constituent questions Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. at the Clark County Courthouse at 401 Clay St. in Arkadelphia; at 10:30 a.m. at the Nevada County Courthouse at 215 E. 2nd St. in Prescott; at 12:15 p.m. at the Miller County Courthouse at 400 Laurel St. in Texarkana; at 2:15 p.m. at the Lafayette County Courthouse at No. 1 Courthouse Square in Lewisville and at 4 p.m. at the Columbia County Courthouse at No. 1 Courthouse Square in Magnolia.

SERVICE ACADEMIES

Womack is scheduled to hold information sessions Saturdayfor high school students interested in attending a military service academy or joining ROTC.

From 9-11 a.m. representatives from the academies will be available to answer questions at the 188th Fighter Wing Civil Engineering Complex Building No. 450 in Fort Smith. From 2-4 p.m. they will be that the Armed Forces Reserve Center Assembly Hall and Auditorium at 6800 SW Minuteman Ave. in Bentonville.

Planning to visit the nation's capital? Know something happening in Washington, D.C.? Contact us at (202) 662-7690 or swire@arkansasonline.com.

SundayMonday on 04/05/2015

Print Headline: Hill, peers tour Mexican border

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