North Little Rock Alderman Debi Ross on Friday was presented an award of appreciation for her service as chairman of the Camp Robinson/Camp Pike Community Council, a position she served from January 2013 until earlier this month. She has handed the position to North Little Rock City Clerk Diane Whitbey, who will hold the post until January 2014. (Photo by Greg Rayburn)
Gov. Mike Beebe Friday was the keynote speaker at the Camp Robinson/Camp Pike Community Council meeting that was held at the Professional Education Center in Camp Robinson in North Little Rock.
“A governor wears many hats,” Beebe said. “He is the commander in chief of the Arkansas National Guard.”
Beebe said he and other governors recently went to Washington with a twofold purpose.
“We encouraged the Congress to get together to solve the fiscal cliff and ask that the states not be disproportionately sacrificed in the process,” Beebe said. “The American way, which is human nature, is that everybody needs to cut but don’t cut me. It is a common phenomena. We all need to share in the sacrifice but give me my part.”
Beebe said he and other governors told the Congress that the states were willing to take their fair share of cuts.
“We left with that message and we imparted that message to them,” Beebe said. “There will be sacrifice on all our parts. If you don’t recognize that you are living in a pipe dream. We just want to make sure that these cuts across-the-board are fair but not disproportionate on some of us who don’t have a say.”
Beebe said one issue Congress needs to address is mandates that are stipulated in federal law.
“If you cut some of those funds, you need to address some of those mandates, otherwise you are shifting those costs to the state rather than the federal government,” Beebe said.
Beebe said the federal government also needs to look at efficiencies. Beebe said many of the military institutions in Arkansas are among the most efficient which exist.
Beebe called the 188th Fighter Wing of the Arkansas Air National Guard, stationed at Fort Smith Air National Guard Station, is an extremely efficient and effective military force that should not incur federal budget cuts. Beebe’s comments about the 188th Fighter Wing received applause.
“I hope that the analysis they use to determine where cuts come from are appropriate,” Beebe said.
Beebe said legislation is being looked at that is designed to help the lives of military personnel and their families.
Many military families move every few years and he wants to see legislation passed to make it easier for families with children to transition from school district to school district, as well as from state to state.
“This is one more component that Arkansas is doing a better job in being responsible to military personnel,” Beebe said.
The other legislation would help military spouses who hold professional licenses to have an easier time getting certified to practice their professions when they move.
Beebe said professionals such as teachers and nurses sometimes have a difficult time when they transfer from some states to another.
“It would be good to give them a temporary license to practice in Arkansas so that the family member can practice their profession,” Beebe said.
Beebe bragged on the Arkansas Air National Guard that has helped to provide disaster relief to many small communities. He appreciated employers who have work policies that make it easier for their employees to serve in the guard.
Beebe encouraged people to thank veterans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan for serving their country. He said thanking veterans was not done when troops returned home from the Vietnam War.