Open main menu

Mickey Dale Beebe (born December 28, 1946) is an American politician and attorney who served as the 45th Governor of Arkansas from 2007 to 2015.[1]

Mike Beebe
FEMA - 34604 - Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe in the field (cropped).jpg
45th Governor of Arkansas
In office
January 9, 2007 – January 13, 2015
LieutenantBill Halter
Mark Darr
Preceded byMike Huckabee
Succeeded byAsa Hutchinson
54th Arkansas Attorney General
In office
January 3, 2003 – January 9, 2007
GovernorMike Huckabee
Preceded byMark Pryor
Succeeded byDustin McDaniel
Member of the Arkansas Senate
In office
Personal details
Mickey Dale Beebe

(1946-12-28) December 28, 1946 (age 72)
Amagon, Arkansas, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Ginger Beebe
EducationArkansas State University, Jonesboro (BA)
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville (JD)
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Army
Years of service1968–1974
UnitSeal of the United States Army Reserve.svg United States Army Reserve

Born in Amagon, Arkansas, Beebe is a graduate of Arkansas State University in Jonesboro and the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. Beebe entered private practice as an attorney before being elected to the Arkansas Senate in 1982. Beebe served five terms in the Arkansas Senate from 1983 to 2003 and served as President of the Senate during his last term. Beebe was elected Attorney General of Arkansas in 2002, where he served one term from 2003 to 2007.

A member of the Democratic Party, Beebe ran for governor in 2006, winning in an uncontested Democratic primary and defeating former Representative Asa Hutchinson in the general election with 55% of the vote. Beebe was elected to a second term in 2010, defeating former State Senator Jim Keet with 65% of the vote. Beebe, who was restricted from running in the 2014 election due to term limits, left office on January 13, 2015.

Beebe currently serves on the Governors’ Council of the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, DC and has endorsed Medicaid work requirements since leaving office.[2]

Early life and educationEdit

Beebe was born in Amagon, a small town in Jackson County, Arkansas. He was raised by his mother, a waitress, and never met his father. As a child, he moved often with his family. They lived in Detroit, St. Louis, Chicago, Houston and Alamogordo, New Mexico. They returned to Newport, Arkansas, where Beebe graduated from high school at the age of seventeen in 1964.[3]

Early political careerEdit

After the incumbent senator from his newly redrawn district unexpectedly dropped out of the race, Beebe was left without a primary or general election opponent and was elected to the Arkansas State Senate in 1982, where he would serve for 20 years. He never faced an opponent in his twenty-year Senate career in which he became known as one of the most effective legislators based on his pragmatic deal-making ability. During his last session in the state senate, Beebe was elected president pro tempore of the body. In 2002, he was elected Arkansas Attorney General, a position he held for the four years prior to his election as governor.[4]

Governor of Arkansas (2007–2015)Edit



On June 14, 2005, Beebe announced his candidacy for the Democratic Party's nomination to run for Governor of Arkansas. Beebe defeated former Republican Congressman and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) chief Asa Hutchinson as well as the Green Party candidate and independent candidate Rod Bryan in the general election on November 7, 2006, capturing 55 percent of the vote.[4]

Beebe was sworn in as governor on January 9, 2007.[5] He was elected to the Democratic Governors Association Executive Committee for 2008–09.[4]


Beebe was challenged by Republican nominee Jim Keet, a former state legislator from Little Rock. Beebe defeated Keet 64% to 34%[6]

First termEdit

In his official website, Beebe outlines some of the policies he has pursued during his first term. He has outlined a plan for a balanced budget and attempted to cut middle class taxes by slashing in half the percentage of the state's grocery tax and increasing the Homestead Property Tax Credit, which can provide for the lowering of property taxes.[4]

Beebe has focused heavily on education reform. He has called for an additional $19 million per year to be spent on assisting special needs students and has designed a program that attempts to increase the quality of teachers within Arkansas by providing alternative pay and mentoring to motivate bright students to enter education or young teachers to work in struggling rural schools. Beebe has rejected calls to allow for Social Security private accounts to be established. He has also made plans to phase out the tax on utilities for manufacturers.[7]

He outlined a 12-point plan to make health care more accessible and affordable. Some of his proposals include using federal tax credits to make private insurance cheaper, expanding Medicaid, increasing use of preventive care to stop health concerns before they grow worse, expanding school health clinics, and using home and community-based care as an alternative to nursing homes.[7]

Second termEdit

Governor Beebe attended the groundbreaking for the Bella Vista Bypass with Ray LaHood and Mark Pryor in 2011

In January 2011, he said that he supported a tax increase for highway funding saying "If they pass a tax increase for highways and it was reasonable, I'd sign it. I don't think it's going to happen."[8]

In January 2012, he proposed a $163 million funding increase in a $4.7 billion state budget. He called for $117 million increase in the Human Services Department and a $56 million increase in public schools.[9] He also called for an audit of the state's Forestry Commission's finances after a $4 million shortfall and a layoff of 36 workers.[10]

In the 2012 midterm elections, Republicans gained control of both houses of the General Assembly for the first time since 1874 after making major gains two years earlier. This made Beebe the first Democratic Governor of Arkansas ever to face a Republican-controlled legislature. The GOP margin was 21 to 14 in the Senate, and 51 to 48 in the House (with one Green). In his 2013 State of the State address, Beebe made a comprehensive case for Medicaid expansion. In April 2013, Beebe signed into law Arkansas's "private option" to use federal Medicaid money to purchase private insurance for thousands of low-income residents. To become law, the proposal needed a two-thirds majority vote. The state's General Assembly, with Republicans in the majority, narrowly approved the three necessary bills to establish and finance the insurance program.[11]

Beebe did not see his approval rating slip below 70 percent at any point during his tenure, according to yearly polls from the University of Arkansas. According to the FiveThirtyEight Blog, "[Beebe's] crossover appeal — and the recent history in Arkansas of producing a popular Democratic president — might suggest Mr. Beebe, who will be term-limited in 2014, would be among the more talked-about 2016 contenders."[12]

On November 12, 2014, two months before the end of his term, Beebe said he intended to pardon his son for a 2003 felony drug possession conviction.[13]


In March 2015, Beebe joined the Roberts Law Firm PA of Little Rock. In December 2015, he was named to the board of directors for Tyson Foods.[1]

Electoral historyEdit

As Governor of ArkansasEdit


Inauguration, Little Rock, Arkansas, January 9, 2007
Arkansas Gubernatorial Election 2010
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Mike Beebe (inc.) 503,336 64.42
Republican Jim Keet 262,764 33.63
Green Jim Lendall 14,513 1.86


Arkansas Gubernatorial Election 2006
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Mike Beebe 422,198 55.3
Republican Asa Hutchinson 312,644 41.0

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Barth, Jay. "Mickey Dale (Mike) Beebe (1946–)". Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture. Retrieved June 3, 2015.
  2. ^ "Beebe defends Hutchinson's work requirement as 'pragmatic' politics". Talk Business & Politics. December 4, 2018. Retrieved December 4, 2018.
  3. ^ "ClarkCast 016 - The Importance of 2006". July 24, 2006. Archived from the original on January 4, 2010. Retrieved August 29, 2010.
  4. ^ a b c d "Biography | Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe". January 9, 2007. Archived from the original on August 24, 2010. Retrieved August 29, 2010.
  5. ^ "Beebe Takes Oath", The Morning News, January 9, 2007.
  6. ^ "2010 General Election & Non Partisan Judicial Runoff Election Statewide Results". Arkansas Secretary of State. November 15, 2010. Retrieved November 15, 2010.
  7. ^ a b "Mike Beebe on the Issues". Retrieved August 29, 2010.
  8. ^ Demillo, Andrew (January 6, 2011). "Beebe: Doubtful tax hike for roads could pass". BusinessWeek. Retrieved July 7, 2012.
  9. ^ DeMillo, Andrew (January 17, 2012). "Beebe proposes $163M increase in Arkansas budget". The Boston Globe.
  10. ^ Demillo, Andrew (January 13, 2012). "Beebe calls for audit of Forestry Commission". Stuttgart Daily Leader. Archived from the original on January 28, 2012. Retrieved July 7, 2012.
  11. ^ Watts, J. (April 30, 2013). Arkansas approves Medicaid pilot. The Bond Buyer. Vol. 122 No. 82. Retrieved from
  12. ^ Popular Governors, and Prospects for 2016,, May 28, 2013; accessed November 15, 2014.
  13. ^ Mike Beebe to pardon his own son, Kyle,; accessed November 15, 2014.

External linksEdit

Legal offices
Preceded by
Mark Pryor
Attorney General of Arkansas
Succeeded by
Dustin McDaniel
Party political offices
Preceded by
Jimmie Lou Fisher
Democratic nominee for Governor of Arkansas
2006, 2010
Succeeded by
Mike Ross
Political offices
Preceded by
Mike Huckabee
Governor of Arkansas
Succeeded by
Asa Hutchinson