Sunday, February 28, 2010

Jim Keet Announces Run for Arkansas Governor

from ARRA News Service

Former Republican State Senator and businessman Jim Keet announced today his candidacy for Arkansas Governor. Keet plans to formally announce his run for Governor during a five city tour of Arkansas on Tuesday, March 2nd, where he will visit Jonesboro, El Dorado, Little Rock, Fort Smith and Bentonville. Next week, Keet will also visit Texarkana, Fayetteville, Springdale, Pine Bluff, Hot Springs and West Memphis. Times and locations for the “Jim Keet for Arkansas Governor Announcement Tour” to be released on Monday.

Jim Keet says: “My top priorities for Arkansas include establishing creative methods to develop our state as one of the nation’s leading business-friendly environments, advancing literacy initiatives at every age and reforming Arkansas’ tax structure to fuel job creation.”

“If President John F. Kennedy can start a process which put a man on the moon within one decade, surely together we can accomplish the following:
  • Reposition the Arkansas literacy rate within the top five states by 2019.
  • Revise the Arkansas tax code so as to attract both small and large businesses from outside the state’s borders. Encourage existing Arkansas companies to remain here rather than fleeing the state which deprives our businesses of the seed capital they need to grow and prosper.
  • Continue working on the prevention of drug abuse which has a devastating impact on Arkansas families and contributes to the overcrowding problem within our prison system. The drug problem and high unemployment are inextricably linked to the problems we have with a prison system that is bursting at the seams.
  • Appoint a bipartisan commission to be styled after the military base reduction effort at the national level. The commission would eliminate waste by looking into the efficacy and need for various boards, commissions and staffing levels within our government.”
"Arkansans are sick and tired of the divisiveness and destructive rhetoric that we see on a national basis. I intend to bring a breath of fresh air to the campaign trail by discussing issues and differences of opinion constructively. I want to create a new day in Arkansas politics where everyday citizens are attracted to the political process rather than disgusted by it.”

Jim Keet worked his way through SMU where he graduated with honors in 1971. He received a bachelor's degree in business administration, majoring in finance and minoring in real estate finance.

Jim Keet is the President of Taziki’s Restaurant in Little Rock, Arkansas and former President and CEO of Barnhill’s Buffet. In 1975, Keet joined Gerald Hamra to bring Wendy’s to Arkansas. During the next eleven years, the company developed, owned and operated twenty-seven Wendy's and Sisters' restaurants in Arkansas and Texas, with more than 1,200 employees. The company received numerous awards from Wendy's International, including the Founders Award as the nations top Wendy's franchise. During that time, Wendy's of Little Rock was recognized by numerous civic organizations for their charitable endeavors.

In 1988, Keet was elected to the Arkansas House of Representatives and was then elected to the Arkansas State Senate in 1992. During his time in the State House and Senate, Keet worked tirelessly to increase literacy rates, fight the exploding drug problem and also authored the strongest “two strikes and you’re out” violent offender statute in America.

Keet has served on more than 20 civic and charitable boards and commissions including Arkansas Children's Hospital, the Arkansas Literacy Commission, Arkansas Easter Seals, the Arkansas Council on Economic Education, and Arkansas for Drug Free Youth Advisory Board. He also served on the boards of the YMCA, Arkansas Literacy Councils, and the United Negro College Fund Advisory Board.

Keet has received various awards and honors including The Arkansas National Humanitarian Award from the National Conference of Christians and Jews, the FBI Community Service Award, the Outstanding Arkansas fund-raiser Award from the National Association of Fund Raising Executives, and an Outstanding Legislator Award from the Arkansas Education Association.

He has been married to Margaret Keet for thirty-eight years and they have four children, Tommy, Chase, Jake and Cassie as well as two grandchildren, Holden Keet and Haskins Crocker.

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