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Newly Elected Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe Visits UAM

Brooke Burger
Managing Editor

   Prior to Election Day, the newly elected Arkansas Governor visited the University of Arkansas – Monticello campus. Democrat Mike Beebe won with 55 percent of the vote and 59 of Arkansas’ 75 counties. He will replace Gov. Mike Huckabee in January. 

   Saturday, Nov. 4, Beebe spoke for the Early Vote/GOTV Rally in the Green Room of the John F. Gibson University Center at UAM. The event started at 1:30 p.m., with an introduction from Chancellor Jack Lassiter and welcome from County Judge Damon Lampkin. 

   Representative Mike Ross (D-Ark. 4th) introduced Beebe at the event saying, “This man will know more about state governor going in the job than most do when they leave.” 

   Beebe opened his speech by commenting on the Monticello community, its leaders and the university:  “There are reasons why certain communities prosper. More often than not, the two main reasons are leadership of the people in the community and institutions of higher education. Let me ask the people of Monticello not to take this jewel (UAM) for granted. Monticello is extraordinarily fortunate. If you take it for granted, you’re making a big mistake.” 

   During his speech, Beebe discussed some of his plan for education in Arkansas. Beebe said many underprivileged children do not receive proper preparation for elementary schools. According to his Web site, www.mikebeebe.com, he would like to provide a $40 million annual appropriation for pre-schools in Arkansas to better prepare children for elementary school systems. Beebe also talked about economic development, which he said is intertwined with education. 

   “We’re now more competitive in business partly because of higher education,” Beebe said.  

   Beebe says he would like to see Arkansas improve its work force training programs in order to have a more skilled workforce. He also wants to work with alternative fuels. According to Beebe, a more skilled workforce and alternative fuels will help improve Arkansas’ economic development. 

   “It’s an alternative fuel measure that’s going to change the community,” Beebe said. According to Beebe, switching to alternative fuels will have a powerful economic effect with an increase in new jobs, but it will also have a positive environmental impact on global warming. 

   “I want to be the Silicon Valley of alternative fuels right here in South Arkansas,” Beebe said. 

   Several political figures of the state attended the event including, Monticello’s upcoming mayor Joe Rodgers, city council member Claudia Hartness and sheriff Mark Gober. Peggy Orr, member of the Drew County NAACP Chapter 6042, began the event with a speech on early voting and Election Day. 

   “We must, we’ve got to get out and vote,” Orr said. “The struggle is not over.” 

   Congressman Ross and Senator Jimmy Jeffress also came to promote Beebe for governor. Both men spoke on issues concerning the state and emphasized the importance of alternative fuels in Arkansas.  

   “Alternative fuels are part of South Arkansas’ future. Hopefully it will be our salvation,” said Jeffress, a UAM alumnus. 

   Sponsored by the UAM Journalism Club, the rally lasted approximately an hour and provided to the public free of charge. Aramark Co., provided refreshments for the event. 

   Lassiter said of the rally, “I am pleased the Journalism Club sponsored this (event) and the prior debate (between Independent candidate Rod Bryan and Green Party candidate Jim Lendall). It’s a great opportunity to have politics on the campus.”

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ŠThe Voice 2006
01/13/2008 03:22:40 PM — http://www.uamont.edu/Organizations/TheVoice/4_9/beebe.htm