February, 14, 2006 -- Posted at 1:30 P.M. CST
Little Rock, AR -- From a tar paper shack to the governor's mansion, Mike Beebe's humble beginnings in Jackson County never led him to dream that one day he would be called governor.
"I clerked in a law office and knew that I wanted to practice law," said Beebe.
Inspired by the charismatic President John F. Kennedy, Beebe was bitten by the political bug and eventually worked his way up to the state's highest office.
Now he says he works for better education, economic development and all around success for the state of Arkansas.
"It's a testament to the education in this state and this country. People can achieve anything regardless of their start. The doors of opportunity exist in this country as long as you get an education," said Beebe.
The newly elected governor says getting that education is imperative for all Arkansas children.
"There's no doubt that Arkansas has taken a proactive approach to improve the quality of education," said Beebe, "Preschool programs that really allow our children to be competitive with their peers when they start. It allows us to be competitive with other countries for that matter and allows the academic achievement to proceed at a faster and greater pace. Ultimately, it allows the educational product that comes out of Arkansas to be very favorably competitive with the rest of the country."
The competition to win big business in Arkansas is heating up too. Beebe says economic development and education go hand in hand.
"At the same time we strive to improve the quality of education, we are striving to provide the jobs of the 21st century. We want to provide good paying jobs, whether it's in manufacturing and economic development in that fashion, or it's biosciences like what we have going on at the biosciences institute at ASU," said Beebe.
Beebe says our first priority is to attract high paying jobs that are environmentally friendly and provide stability in communities.
Beebe says we must be diverse--to give all Arkansan's the opportunity for work. In an effort to lure business to Arkansas, he's proposing what's called a "Quick Action Closing Fund."
The fund is designed to make Arkansas more competetive with surrounding states when it comes to having funds available to accomadate potential businesses.
Beebe says he sees Arkansas making tremendous strides in educational and economic success, adding that he wants Arkansas to be a model for other states. He believes everyone deserves the same chance to be educated and successful no matter how much or how little you come from.