Platform, Goals, and Q&As

Arkansas’ farmers are struggling more than ever before. Removing the United States from NAFTA was disastrous for Arkansas’ crop producers and ranchers, and all of us experience the fallout of terrible leadership every time we go to the grocery store.

Rodney will work to enact:

  • A new Farm Bill for today’s challenges, with updated reference prices
  • Responsive work-visa policies to meet farmers’ labor needs
BOTTOM LINE: Supporting farmers = supporting national security

We can no longer afford for our leaders to stick their heads in the sand and merely hope and pray that it will get better. We must elect leaders who will work in the trenches to build a better system and find solutions that work for Arkansans in every income bracket.

The United States spends more of our federal budget on the military than any other country in the world, yet we have more soldiers on government assistance programs than at any time in recent memory. Corporate profits continue to climb to new records, and so does the number of full-time workers who can’t support their families’ basic needs. We must forge new, equitable paths to achieve economic stability for everyone

Arkansas’ public schools are the lifeblood of our communities — especially outside of the metro areas. We must re-commit to investing in and adapting our public education system for the workforce we have now and the workforce of tomorrow. Our schools must be equipped to embrace the future and equip our children and our grandchildren with the skills and knowledge they’ll need to thrive in a fast-changing world.

This includes cybersecurity!

The safeguarding of our children’s private information must be taken seriously, and public schools currently get zero help to combat evolving, sophisticated cyber threats. As part of our nation’s critical infrastructure, public schools must have access to fully funded cybersecurity services that are effective at protecting school networks and the valuable data they hold.

The criminal justice system must be reformed so that we are actually investing in rehabilitation – particularly for those convicted of non-violent crimes.

Criminal justice should never be a money-maker for any institution, public or private.

The cash bond system should be eliminated, as well as other elements of our criminal justice system that criminalize poverty and increase the recidivism rate (not to mention increase the costs to taxpayers).

The government has no business interfering with individuals’ healthcare decisions. Period. 

Americans’ right to make their own healthcare decisions with their individual healthcare provider must be protected at every level — including women’s reproductive healthcare.  

The Veterans Administration is sorely outdated and must be overhauled, modernized, and made more responsive and more accessible for our military veterans. 

The VA should be operated at least as efficiently as a private-sector healthcare network, and patients within the VA network should have access to care that is equal to the access to care that non-veteran patients can expect at private-sector, for-profit healthcare clinics and hospitals.

Technology advancements have dramatically reduced operating expenses over the past decade at private-sector healthcare networks, and it’s past time for the VA to modernize its systems and find those same opportunities to lower operating expenses and meet the needs of more patients in less time.

Active military members should earn a living wage as they are serving our nation.

We have far too many military families on public assistance programs; this is not acceptable. Any American who is serving full-time in the military to protect our nation and our freedoms should earn enough to support their family.

No one is coming to take your guns away. I do not support diminishing individuals’ right to own guns.

I believe, though, that the gun control issue has devolved into a standoff and we must find a way to better regulate the sales of guns, particularly high-powered weapons intended for use in war. “Well-regulated,” as the Constitution says, is not what we have currently in this country. 

We can find a middle ground if we choose to; we can stop the mass shootings and the slaying of schoolchildren if we want to and if we are willing to work together and stop playing politics. 

If we elect lawmakers who are willing to work together — who, like me, believe that “thoughts and prayers” are the same as pretending there’s no problem — then this is solvable. We can identify common-sense regulations that:

  • Ensure gun owners have both the resources and the mandates to keep their weapons secure and accessible only to the owner
  • Ensure no guns can be sold to anyone convicted of a violent crime or anyone deemed mentally disabled by a judge 
  • Ensure that weapons of war such as automatic and semi-automatic rifles are no longer accessible to any individual who wants one

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law was a great start, yet the large influx of federal funds hasn’t helped the many towns in Arkansas that still have unsafe (or no) drinking water and no high-speed internet options. The oversight of federal spending and how those funds are dispersed at the state and local levels must improve, and every community in the United States should have safe drinking water; high-speed internet; public transportation so those who are able can work and support themselves; and safe, affordable housing. 

Opportunities for education, workforce training, and jobs that pay enough to support a family should not be pegged to where a person lives or how wealthy their neighbors and family are. All Americans deserve the same access to opportunities, and it’s time that Arkansas’ representatives fight to ensure that small cities, towns, and rural counties are no longer overlooked when infrastructure dollars are distributed. 

Our nation’s healthcare system is failing on numerous fronts, and Congress must act to ensure:

  • That there are enough trained providers (doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, midwives) to handle the medical care needs of our population now and over the next several decades
  • That every county — yes, even every rural county — has sufficient healthcare providers for the local population and Arkansans can see a healthcare provider without a long wait
  • That institutions training our future nurses, doctors, and healthcare staff are funded adequately so that all Americans wanting to work in healthcare have access to the training and education required for those jobs 
  • That prescription medication are fairly priced, are comparable to the prices set in neighboring nations, and are not enriching Big Pharma at the expense of our sickest citizens.  

Public assistance programs for able-bodied Americans need a revamp so that recipients can get the aid they need while they also can choose a new career pathway and receive education and/or training that will land them a job in a high-demand industry — a job that pays better than any assistance program ever could and offers a pathway for continued income growth. 

Assistance programs for Americans whose physicians deem them as unable to work and support themselves must be protected and boosted — they should empower those disabled citizens to a life with dignity while giving them opportunities to contribute to their communities in the ways in which they are able.

Senior citizens and disabled and chronically ill Americans should be able to keep their homes and afford their medical care at the same time, and Congress should encourage more in-home care models such as the PACE model and the Hospital At Home model.

The United States cannot afford to ignore the call when other major powers around the globe are violating international law, killing innocent civilians, or committing other atrocities against marginalized groups or less-powerful nations. 

However, when the United States does provide assistance or funds internationally, safeguards and accountability checks must be in place and enforced to ensure that our aid funds are used for the intended purpose and are not used in a manner that harms civilians, violates international law, or further harms any marginalized or historically persecuted human beings.

Finally, sending aid funds to other nations or groups must be balanced with investments within our own borders: When whole towns and cities in the United States still do not have drinking water that is free of lead or other contaminants, it is hard to understand why we send millions to other countries. A balance test or formula for such investments (domestic vs. international aid) must be developed and followed. 

The United States must increase funding for child advocacy and protection programs and ensure that children without a safe family home have the same opportunities to develop and grow into healthy adults while in foster care. 

Family court systems and child protective services in each state must be able to vet, recruit, and retain more foster families and fund more programs to ensure children are supported, nurtured, and given opportunities to thrive as they enter adulthood. 

Our nation’s border policies need to be updated, yes. More importantly, though, is the immigration court system that is so backed up and so under-funded that individuals seeking asylum or permanent residency in the United States must often wait years before they get to plead their case before a judge.

The immigration court system is vastly under-funded and short-staffed, and asylum-seekers — including young children — have no guarantee of representation, legal counsel, or even an interpreter. The system is so broken that it is wholly ineffective and harmful both to our nation and to immigrants whose claims fall within long-established federal law for granting asylum. 

We have to do better, immediately, and stop the politicking and blame-game that is harming people on both sides of the border.

BallotPedia survey

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Rodney Govens’ Candidate Connection Q&A

Click here to read the Ballotpedia page about Rodney

I am a U.S. Army veteran, husband and father, and longtime Court Appointed Special Advocate for abused and neglected children. Born into a military family stationed in Germany, I grew up in Columbia, S.C., and my telecommunications career brought me to Arkansas in 2017; along with my wife of 19 years, Stacy, I live in Cabot with our 7-year-old twins, Grayson and Zoey.

During my three-and-a-half years in the Army, I served as an E-4 Specialist in the Signal Corps with 596 Signal Company from Fort Riley, Kansas, including deployment to Iraq as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. Service honors awarded included the Army Achievement Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, among others.

Since my honorable discharge in 2005, I’ve worked as operations manager for broadband and telecom providers serving rural Arkansas — a role that introduced me to Arkansans in rural communities and small towns all over the Natural State.

I am a passionate advocate for change and I believe Arkansans deserve better government and more responsive and accessible Representatives.

  1. Arkansas’ farmers are struggling more than ever before. Removing the United States from NAFTA and implementing other legislation was disastrous for Arkansas’ crop producers and ranchers, and all of us experience the fallout of terrible leadership every time we go to the grocery store. We can no longer afford for our leaders to stick their heads in the sand and merely hope and pray that it will get better. We must elect leaders who will work in the trenches to build a better system and find solutions that work for Arkansans in every income bracket.
  2. The United States spends more of our federal budget on the military than any other country in the world, yet we have more soldiers on government assistance programs than at any time in recent memory. Corporate profits continue to climb to new records, and so does the number of full-time workers who can’t support their families’ basic needs. We must forge new, equitable paths to achieve economic stability for everyone.
  3. Our public schools are the lifeblood of our communities — especially outside of the large metro areas. We must re-commit to investing in and adapting our public education system for the workforce we have now and the workforce of tomorrow. Our schools must be equipped to embrace the future and equip our children and our grandchildren with the skills and knowledge they’ll need to thrive in a fast-changing world.

I believe — indeed, I’ve seen it firsthand in Iraq — that there are “no winners in war.” I believe the United States should balance its emphasis on supporting struggling nations with an underemphasized need to ensure working families can support themselves and that no child experiences hunger, no senior citizen must choose between groceries or their prescriptions. When the U.S. does provide aid to other countries for defense, it should include systems of accountability and assurances that international laws will be followed, and every measure possible is taken to prevent civilian casualties.

I am also passionate about elected officials in D.C. needing to be more in-touch with their constituents and the everyday challenges they face, more transparent, and more responsive to constituents’ feedback.

I have multiple people that I look to for positive traits that I want to emulate. Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Muhammad Ali are all people I look to. Gandhi’s resolve and discipline in his protest, Dr. King’s ability to unify all people of all backgrounds, and Ali’s willingness to fight for what he believed in are all characteristics that I believe I strive to mimic.

Movies: ”Pay It Forward,” and “The Help”


Books: “The Giver” by Lois Lowry, and “To Kill A Mockingbird” by Harper Lee

Elected officials should have multiple “town hall” engagements and come home as often as possible. Without voter engagement, how can you accurately represent your constituents and people? This should be the foundation for the position.

Another characteristic must include being accountable to your constituents. That includes your voting record, finance records, and other impacting behaviors involving taxpayer money.

We also need to have an empathetic leader. Leaders need to be able to relate and feel their constituency’s situations — because without empathy, it is impossible to ensure that your people are heard and understood.

At its core, being a U.S. Representative requires more than just casting a vote in D.C. It requires constant and regular feedback-gathering from the areas that you represent.

It requires that you remain available and engaged with your people so they never feel forgotten or abandoned.

It is the U.S. Representative’s responsibility to ensure their presence is felt at local levels year-round, not just at election time. People have felt forgotten for too long and this is evidenced by the voter turnout over the last few elections in Arkansas’s 1st district.

It is time that a representative finally lives up to the job and provides more than adequate representation.

I want to help fix some aspects of foster care and ensure that foster children have better outcomes when they age out of foster care. I want to ensure that teachers and law enforcement officers get more and better resources and training to be successful in their careers without the stress of worrying about a lack of income. I want to be able to look back and see an increase in foster homes and more foster care engagement from everyone in the 1st Congressional District. At a bare minimum, I want my constituents to say that I was always around and available and didn’t shy away from fighting for them.

I remember Hurricane Hugo in 1989 (I was 5 years old). Hurricane Hugo devastated South Carolina, specifically Charleston.

I remember watching the emergency news interruption as it made landfall and watched as it traversed through South Carolina, through Columbia.

When we lost signal as the hurricane got closer in Orangeburg, I attempted to go to sleep but the fear gripped me to the point where I couldn’t rest.

Assistant Maintenance Supervisor,
Wellesley Place Apartments,
1995-1996. (During ages 13 and 14.)

I helped the Maintenance Supervisor with apartment and dwelling upkeep as well as evictions and demand repair. I was beginning training in HVAC but because of my young age, I was unable to officially take any training. I oversaw the pool cleanliness and chemical disbursement to adhere to DHEC standards.

“Why We Can’t Wait” by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

This book touches on multiple themes and over-arching messages and includes King’s “Letter From A Birmingham Jail.” The major message is that we should not wait for needed change and must get involved, peacefully, in order to secure our futures.

Arkansas’s Congressional District 1 has an approximate population of 750,000. As a Congressman, you have an opportunity to speak with people in a unique way that U.S. Senators cannot.

Congressional representatives should have regular meetings and “town halls” to discuss implemented legislation and gather ideas for future legislation. This makes the House of Representatives truly “the people’s house” when it comes to government.

I don’t think prior experience is necessary, and in some cases prior experience can be a disadvantage. Prior experiences can lead to stagnant ideas and stubborn approaches to processes and procedure.

In my (career working for) multiple telecommunications companies, sometimes “experienced” leaders are not open to learning different approaches to challenges and issues. In the same breath, experience can help and be a huge advantage, but I believe the underlying issue is more along the line of passion and desire.

As a leader, you have to want to lead and be a part of your team more than anything. As an experienced leader in the telecommunications space, I have always leaned on learning from my teams as much as I try to teach and implement new ideas. No one person has the best ideas, but teamwork can supplement and provide better ideas than just a single source.

The country feels more divided than ever when you look across social media, but when you speak with people, you feel the same problems are impacting us all.

Teachers are not paid adequately. Our law enforcement neighbors are not paid adequately nor trained well enough for their responsibilities in policing our communities. Our active duty military are worried about feeding their kids and families while on deployments in defense of our nation. Our foster care system is broken and continues to struggle to adequately prepare our foster teenagers to become productive members of society.

These challenges we face today are going to continue for the next 10 years if we don’t handle them sooner rather than later.

While advancements in Artificial Intelligence and shortages in teaching and nursing continue to be problematic, we have a lot of the same issues that continue to persist.

I believe it can be, but too often we see representatives more enamored with running their re-election campaigns than getting their job done in Washington D.C.

Two years seems challenging, but I would not want to increase it to 6 years like the U.S. Senate.

I believe that the American people should hold the pwer to elect and remove leaders from office, and our elections provide that opportunity regularly. I am not against mandated term limits.

There are so many, but I want to focus on why ensuring all children have the same opportunities with broadband infrastructure as you find in heavily populated metro areas.

A few years ago, I had the pleasure of talking to a 16-year-old high school junior. He was in all honors classes and had to be bussed to another school in order to take a higher level math (Calculus), because it was not offered at his school.

He had a myriad of extracurricular activities including multiple sports, and he had his sights on going to an Ivy League college. Unfortunately, in rural Arkansas where he lived, his internet service was not adequate enough to even fill out an application online. He could not get enough time to fill out his application at the local library as they only allowed 20 minutes at a time online.

There were a lot of obstacles, and he felt that his dreams were out of reach. While I was working in the telecommunications space, we were able to bring fiber-to-the-home internet to his community, and he was finally able to get his applications in.

Last we spoke, he was enrolled at Stanford University in California and is looking to get his master’s degree in the next two years. Without the broadband infrastructure, he would not be able to accomplish his dreams — and this story is all too familiar in rural communities.

You cannot work for the American people and not compromise. Republicans, Democrats, and everyone must be able to come together to discuss, debate, and compromise for the greater good.

Not compromising has led us to where we are now — and this is not a good place to be.

Corruption should never be tolerated, and the U.S. House should not get tied to political party affiliation when investigating allegations.

The House of Representatives should be investigating all allegations of corruption across all branches of government.

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