For Mike Beebe, his run for Arkansas governor is a personal affair.
"You can't come up the way I did and not believe that anything is possible," Beebe said in announcing his run, pointing to his childhood in a single-parent household and his long career path that eventually led him to become a lawyer and Arkansas attorney general.
As the state's chief law-enforcement officer, Beebe and his office are charged with safeguarding consumers, protecting senior citizens from abuse and neglect, and serving as a clearinghouse for missing and exploited children, according to his Web site.
But now in his run for governor, Beebe is stressing his ability to make government help people in need, not simply enforce the laws. As part of his campaign to become governor, Beebe devised a 12-point plan aimed at making health care more affordable to Arkansans, about 500,000 of whom have no health insurance.
His plan includes establishing insurance pools for small businesses, expanding health care for the state's working poor, emphasizing preventative care at school health clinics, and using home and community-based care for senior citizens as opposed to nursing homes, reported the Arkansas News Bureau.
One proposal is to allow uninsured workers to turn over their earned income tax credit to their employer's health insurance plan, which would cover at least a portion of the cost of insuring the worker, Beebe told the news service.
Compounding the problem, he explained, is that fewer than half of private companies in Arkansas offer health insurance and about one-fourth of workers that do offer insurance don't sign up for it because it's too expensive.
His proposal also would establish incentives for primary care workers to service rural areas, address the state's nursing shortage, and promote electronic medical records for safer and more accurate care.
Beebe, who was born in Amagon, Ark., received a bachelor's degree in political science from Arkansas State University in 1968 and a law degree from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville in 1972.
He practiced law for 10 years before getting elected to the state Senate in 1982, where he served for 20 years.
In 2002, he was elected state attorney general.
He and his wife Ginger have three children.
Web site: www.mikebeebe.com