Leader Blues

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

TOP STORY >> Beebe: Democrats can win

Leader senior staff writer

Gov. Mike Beebe said Tuesday night that he wasn’t too concerned about the current spate of retirements in the state’s Democratic congressional delegation.

Both Rep. Vic Snyder of Little Rock and Rep. Marion Berry of Gillett have announced in the past two weeks that they would not run for reelection.

“It’s a seasonal change, a generational change,” Beebe said. “People are tired. I’m sure there will be good candidates out there. Most Arkansans are pretty independent.”

Beebe won’t be retiring. He’s already announced he would seek re-election.

He was in Jacksonville to speak at the Chamber of Commerce’s annual banquet.

The governor said he wasn’t too concerned about the impact of President Barack Obama’s just-announced proposed budget cuts.

“I concentrate on trying to take care of us, trying to take care of Arkansas,” Beebe said. “I leave most of that national stuff to the congressional delegation.”

“He’s apparently trying to cut some discretionary spending, and how that will affect us remains to be seen,” Beebe said.

“The message I got was that he wasn’t cutting Medicare or Medicaid, and as far as the federal government is concerned, the thing we look at the most is the Medicaid because that’s the part of our budget that we’re really concerned about. It’s been growing way too fast,” the governor pointed out.

Candidates and potential candidates turned out for the banquet.

Pulaski County Circuit and County Clerk Pat O’Brien and House Speaker Robbie Wills (D-Conway) arrived in tandem.

O’Brien is running for secretary of state, and Wills is among those seeking the Second Congressional District seat currently held by Snyder.

Also attending were former Rep. Sandra Prater of Jacksonville, a Democrat, and Rep. Jonathan Dismang of Beebe, a Republican, who are running for the state Senate seat John Paul Capps, D-Searcy, will retire from.

Capps, an old friend of Beebe’s, also was there.

Others attending were Reps. Davy Carter, R-Cabot, and Jane English, R-North Little Rock.