by David Ramsey
Democratic candidate for governor Mike Ross and Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor John Burkhalter will make a joint announcement at 4 p.m. "about the future of Arkansas." Presumably they'll be endorsing each other, which was to be expected. They're the Democratic establishment's picks for the two offices.
UPDATE: They did indeed endorse each other. Press release follows, as well as a press release from Democratic candidate Dianne Curry, responding to the slate (the Curry campaign really needs to get someone to help them craft press releases).
Democratic candidates for Governor Mike Ross and Lieutenant Governor John Burkhalter made joint endorsements of each other’s campaigns on Saturday and announced the two would work together to lead the state’s job creation efforts when they are elected.
Ross of Prescott, Ark., who now resides in Little Rock, is a former small business owner, state senator and U.S. Congressman. Burkhalter of Little Rock is a successful business owner and former member of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission who currently serves on the Arkansas Highway Commission, appointed by current Governor Mike Beebe.
“As a job creator and as someone who has worked hard for many years in economic development here in Arkansas, I know what it takes to get the job done,” Burkhalter said. “There is only one candidate for governor who has the necessary experience, convictions and relationships required to lead this state and our job creation efforts and that is my good friend Mike Ross. I have known Mike for more than 15 years and can say without hesitation that he loves Arkansas, loves its people and will make a great governor.”
Ross called Burkhalter a successful entrepreneur and said his experience in the private sector and his leadership in the state’s economic development community will be an asset to the state of Arkansas.
“John Burkhalter and I have been close friends for many years and, in that time, I have come to see why John has been so successful throughout his life: he is a hard worker, proven problem solver, compassionate husband and father, and a natural-born leader,” said Ross. “John brings the right combination of private-sector experience and public service and will be a strong asset for the state as its lieutenant governor. I look forward to working with John as we create jobs in this state and move Arkansas forward.”
Ross said when he’s elected governor, one of his first actions will be to create a “Governor’s Cabinet for Economic Development” — a statewide coordinated effort that would focus on job creation. Ross said he would name Burkhalter to Chair the Cabinet.
“While government can help, it doesn’t have all the answers, and it can’t solve all of our problems. Government should help where it can, and it should get out of the way where it can’t,” said Ross. “The Cabinet will be an effort to provide better coordination, increased communication and a stronger, more unified strategy for our state’s job creation efforts. We want to help the state become more efficient, effective and productive, and this Cabinet will ultimately become an engine for new, innovative ideas that grow the middle class and create good-paying jobs for more Arkansans.”
Ross said Saturday’s announcement just presented a framework and that he would announce a comprehensive economic development plan for Arkansas in the coming months that will include more about the Cabinet and its role.
“Our goal is not to hand down government solutions; our goal is to empower Arkansans all over this great state to work hard, make a living and take care of their families,” said Ross. “I want to know what the state is doing right and what it’s doing wrong. And, I want to know what the state could be doing to show the world that Arkansas is open for business. As governor, I will work day and night to be this state’s biggest economic ambassador and I will put jobs first, because I believe in the future of Arkansas and I believe in its people.”
Dianne Curry statement:
It has come to the attention of Dianne Curry, Democrat for Lt. Governor, that an alliance has been made between her primary opponent, John Burkhalter, and a gubernatorial candidate, Mike Ross. It is also understood that was to be announced today at 4:00 p.m.
"We feel better than ever about this campaign and our plan to have the money, the message and the people power to win the primary and the general elections. Voters around Arkansas time and again have rejected backroom deals that exclude others and divide our party and our state.
Curry also says she will not endorse anyone for Governor now, but let the people of Arkansas decide.
"Our state motto is Regnat Populus, which means the People Rule," said Curry. "I believe as the True Blue Democrat in this race, we will let the people of Arkansas make these decisions, not some good ole boys in backrooms. This deal is already moving new important supporters toward our campaign because I'm focused on bringing people together around sound policies that help real people from all walks of life and from every part of Arkansas."
Curry formally began her statewide race for Lt. Governor today in Warren at the Bradley County Pink Tomato Festival.
"I am the candidate for Lt. Governor that cared enough to come to ask you for your vote," noted Curry to the crowd as Burkhalter did not show up. Though in attendance were most of the other candidates for statewide office.