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Cotton put on list as ’24 contender

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., is one of the leading contenders for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, The Washington Post prognosticators said Friday.

The lawmaker from Dardanelle tied for second with former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, one spot behind U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri.

The Post Pundit 2020 Power Ranking placed Cotton ahead of Vice President Mike Pence and Donald Trump Jr.

The paper classified Cotton as a “Young Reformer,” along with Hawley, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and U.S. Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina.

“[W]hile each sounds a different note, all sing from similar hymnals,” The Post panel stated.

One of the panelists, Greg Sargent, suggested that Cotton would be well-suited to fill the void if the party suffers defeat in November.

“A Trump loss will unleash tremendous rage and lust for revenge among the Trump base. Cotton can step up as the hero who will purge the GOP of all the quislings and cowards who refused to fully implement Trump’s agenda of authoritarian nationalist militarism. Fun times!,” Sargent wrote.

The Post piece came the same week Cotton was unveiling digital ads that he’s running in Minnesota targeting Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

“Joe Biden won’t stand up for law and order,” it states. “He’s too liberal and too confused to lead.”

Cotton, who is up for reelection this year, has plenty of money to spend on out-of-state ads. Arkansas Democrats didn’t field anyone to challenge him.

Hill recognizes mentor Hebert

Sixty years after J. Gaston Hebert was ordained to the ministry, U.S. Rep. French Hill, R-Ark., paid tribute to the longtime Arkansas priest.

Speaking on the House floor, Hill lauded Msgr. Hebert for his “lasting contributions to our Catholic diocese in Arkansas.”

Hebert grew up attending St. Mary Church in Hot Springs. He was baptized there and received his first Communion there. In 1960, he returned to his home parish to celebrate his first Mass after his ordination, Hill said.

As a teacher at Little Rock’s Catholic High School between 1960 and 1975, Hebert helped to educate an entire generation of students, including Hill.

He also served as the pastor for two decades at Christ the King Church in Little Rock, subsequently acting as a vicar general and diocesan administrator.

In his speech, Hill thanked Hebert for his “love, dedication, and years of service,” adding, “we miss seeing you and are forever grateful.”

In an interview afterward, the lawmaker from Little Rock portrayed Hebert as a tremendous example.

“He was my communications teacher, and he was my drama teacher. He is one of the smartest, most articulate men I knew in my youth, and [I] still believe that today,” Hill said.

“He was a demanding teacher and a perfectionist, and those high standards were critical, I think, to my education and setting my standards for myself and trying to live up to the expectations that he had for each of his students,” Hill said.

Boozman calls for flexibility in WIC

U.S. Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., has signed a letter urging Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to allow additional flexibility for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children.

The lawmaker from Rogers joined with his colleagues on the Agriculture Committee in sending the request.

“We appreciate the Department’s actions to utilize administrative authorities as well as to implement temporary, emergency authorities provided by Congress in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to waive certain regulations in order to more effectively feed children during school closures and support social distancing,” the letter stated.

“Extending these existing state-based waivers through September 30, 2020, would provide certainty and availability to WIC participants, providers and vendors navigating variable phased re-opening procedures across public, private, and health sectors,” the lawmakers wrote.

Boozman serves as co-chairman of the Senate Hunger Caucus. With Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., preparing to retire, Boozman will be in line to replace him if Republicans retain control.

Planning to visit the nation’s capital? Know something happening in Washington, D.C.? Please contact Frank Lockwood at (202) 662-7690 or flockwood@ arkansasonline.com . Want the latest from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s Washington bureau? It’s available on Twitter, @LockwoodFrank.

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