Alan Greenblatt is a GOVERNING correspondent.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
While I was in Arkansas recently to report this profile of Gov. Mike Beebe, I visited Searcy, where he practiced law for many years. Beebe still makes it home some weekends, often stopping at the Main Street Cafe on Saturday mornings for biscuits and gravy before hitting the links with his golf buddies. (Beebe lives on a golf course.)
At the cafe, I asked a few of the regulars what they thought about their hometown governor. They were pretty positive and even proud. Julie Gude (pictured), one of the waitresses, said, "I like him."
But she had a bone to pick nonetheless.
"When he was in here, he grabbed me by the arm and said, 'Julie, how ya doing?' I said, 'Governor, I don't like spending $6 on my cigarettes.'" Beebe had engineered a 56-cent per pack tobacco tax increase this year.
"He said, 'Julie, I figured it out. You smoke four less cigarettes a day, you'll come out even.'
"I told him, 'Governor, why don't you tax golf carts?'"
Written and compiled by staff writers and editors, GOVERNING View is an on-the-ground, and sometimes behind-the-scenes, look at the topics we're covering in print and online. From notes on what's up in statehouses, county courthouses and city halls, to encounters with people, places and things, GOVERNING View is a window into the side of state and local government you don't always see.