BREAKING: COVID Funds Approved For Marshallese, Latinx, NWA Hotspots

Arkansas legislators voted on Tuesday to approve the use of $7 million in federal CARES Act funds for COVID relief in northwest Arkansas. The already approved federal dollars will target a spike in cases in Marshallese and Latinx communities. More than 60 percent of COVID deaths in Arkansas are in these communities. The vote comes after a failure last Friday to even consider the appropriation. Several legislators held up the vote.

Communities in Rep. Megan Godfrey’s district (HD89-Springdale) have been hit hard by COVID-19.

“I’m thrilled that my colleagues voted to approve this desperately needed funding. The impact of covid in these beloved communities deserves a compassionate, thorough, targeted response. Our vote showed these communities that we care about them and we stand to fight for them,” said Rep. Megan Godfrey.

This vote emerged as a bi-partisan victory, led in part by Democratic lawmakers.

“This is a needed victory for the people of Arkansas who have been faced with so many burdens because of this pandemic. It’s important to see what it looks like when government works,said D.P.A. Chairman Michael John Gray.This funding is a vital lifeline to the Marshallese and Latinx communities, and to all of northwest Arkansas.”

The vote also revealed some division. Before the final vote, incumbent State Rep. Jim Dotson (HD93-Bentonville) tried to cut the funds for NWA COVID testing and contract tracing nearly in half, proposing a drop from $7 million to just $4 million. Dotson said the problem had “already been addressed.” His motion failed, drawing rebuke from Republican leadership. Dotson is up for re-election this November. He faces Daisy Bonilla.

“I’m grateful the full $7 million in critical funding passed. I’m a social worker – every one of my clients has been directly impacted by this pandemic and our communities desperately need this support. This is why I’m so disappointed my opponent tried to cut the funding by $3 million. Bentonville deserves a leader who does the right thing for everyone in our community,” said Daisy Bonilla.


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