There were no UFOs in the room. Nor did anyone question the moon landing.
Still, Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe (D) wanted to shoot down any conspiracy theories to a group of nearly 250 economic developers gathered at the Peabody Hotel in Little Rock for the annual Arkansas Economic Developers conference.
Two weeks ago in Fort Smith, the Governor called on Washington, D.C. political leaders to find solutions to the nation’s debt and budget crisis so that job creators would feel more comfortable spending on new economic projects, as Talk Business previously reported. His public denunciation led some in the press to ask if Beebe planned to run for Senate or President.
"Conspiracy theories abound," Beebe joked. "I’m still not wanting to go to Washington… There’s lots of liberation that goes along with a second term."
Beebe harped on his latest message that disarray in the nation’s capitol was impeding capital expenditures at home. He called on the economic developers group to "send the word [to Washington] we are interested in getting the economy back to work."
Beebe also returned to several familiar themes he’s stressed during his tenure as Governor.
"If regionalism works — if education and economic development work for our state — if clear, cogent, stable policies are what people expect and need to be able to invest in their communities, then why don’t those lessons apply on the national level? Why don’t our folks in Washington, D.C. understand that all of us are affected by their actions or their inactions?" Beebe asked.
Before his speech, Beebe fielded questions from reporters. He discussed the West Memphis Three case and controversial health insurance exchanges.
- Beebe said he had no plans to pardon the recently freed West Memphis Three. He cited his policy of not considering pardon cases until sentences were completed. He said it was his understanding that the West Memphis Three still would serve up to 10 years of suspended sentences.
- Beebe also said that if new evidence were presented that pointed to a different killer, then he would reconsider the case.
- The Governor was also quizzed about an effort to bring up a controversial health insurance exchange in the 2012 fiscal session. "I don’t have any intention of addressing the health care exchange. The legislature made it very clear that they wanted the feds to do the health care exchange, not us. I don’t see any reason to change that."