Beebe, Boozman, Clinton, and McLarty Roast and Toast Congressman Ross during UACCH Foundation Fundraiser April 8th.
HOPE, AR – For his more than two decades of public service, Congressman Mike Ross was honored by the University of Arkansas Community College Foundation as the target of this year’s Roast and Toast, held April 8th. There are several gifts that come with years of public service, including colorful stories from your experiences and good friends. The two of those combined made for a great evening at Historic Washington Friday night. The University of Arkansas Community College at Hope Foundation was excited to be joined by Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe and Hope’s own Mack McLarty as the Guest Roasters for this year’s event. Congressman Ross and U.S. Senator John Boozman entertained the crowd by video comment from Washington, D.C. because of an emergency voting schedule to prevent an impending federal government shutdown. Video comments were also provided by President Bill Clinton. The evening of roasting and toasting was skillfully guided by Roast Master, Arkansas business and political media personality Roby Brock. Mr. Brock ensured that all involved got their fair share of roasting along with the Congressman.
The historic evening brought together a most impressive cast of Arkansas’ state and federal policy leaders under one roof to honor their good friend, Congressman Mike Ross. Governor Mike Beebe, who served with Ross in the Arkansas State Senate for ten years, beginning when Ross was elected at age 29,- provided a hilarious historical perspective on how Ross honed his constituent service skills. Senator John Boozman worked closely with Congressman Ross when Boozman took office in the 108th Congress in 2001. Senator Boozman provided some “hair” raising details regarding how the two have worked across party lines to get projects done for Arkansas.
Mack McLarty is the first Arkansan to have served as White House Chief of Staff. A native son of Hope, McLarty has remained active in community, state, national, and international business. He and Ross have worked together on projects and shared a common friendship with President Clinton. Mr. McLarty ‘s comments questioning Ross’ favorite wild animal, a bobcat or curley wolf, came close to causing a Friday night fight.
The evening began with a reception at the Woodlawn Plantation Home, The 300 guests then moved into the 1940 WPA Gymnasium for an evening full of laughter and good fellowship. Guests were treated to “Rep. Mike Ross’s Chicken Linguini” for dinner, prepared identically the way Chef Laurent presents the meal on the menu of the National Democratic Club in Washington, DC. UACCH Chancellor Chris Thomason, welcomed guests who filled the gymnasium floor and stage area. Thomason informed the crowd of two rules for the evening, that the truth was irrelevant as long as it was funny and there was to be absolutely no biting or hair pulling. As laughter filled the room, all in attendance witnessed the roasters commitment to following the simple rules, as the truth was hard to find and not a single hair was harmed.
For more information about the UACCH Foundation, visit the UACCH website at www.uacch.edu.