That was just some of the dialogue in Little Rock Tuesday, where Keet held a news conference called Time for Truth. The republican says he needed to 'set the record straight' on keys issues like jobs, education and the state budget.
We're here today to tell the truth, Keet said from the old Supreme Court chamber
Governor Beebe says Arkansas has created 25,000 jobs during his watch, but Keet challenged that, saying the Department of Labor puts Arkansas job losses in the tens of thousands.
The question is, where are those 25,000 jobs? Keet said.
But Beebe says he got the figure of 25,000 jobs from the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, and never said Arkansas was creating more jobs than it was losing.
I've never claimed we were immune from the national recession, never claimed we haven't lost jobs, Beebe said. What I've consistently said is Arkansas has created 25,000 jobs in the midst of a recession. Imagine where we'd be if we didn't offset those losses, or some of those losses, with 25,000 jobs.
Keet says Beebe was right in pointing out Arkansas schools ranked in the top 10 nationally, but the high ranking paled in comparison to low scores in 'achievement' and 'chance of success.'
When our graduation rate is only 68 percent, I don't think it's appropriate to say we're tenth in the nation in education in the United States, Keet said.
The republican candidate also called Arkansas' 'balanced budget a myth, saying the Unemployment Trust-Fund owes the federal government $400,000,000.
The only legacy we are leaving is a growing mountain of debt as a result of Obamacare and other government programs the governor is supporting through his silence, Keet said.
Matt DeCample, the governor's spokesman, says, The governor has always said we have more to do in education, and there are 'places to improve.' But DeCample says it's still a fact that Education Week (the same report that gave Arkansas students low makrs for 'achievement' and 'chance of success.') ranked Arkansas education tenth in the nation.
DeCample also pointed out that the $400,000,000 owed by the Unemployment Trust-Fund isn't part of the state budget.
It's not covered in the amendment, DeCample said.
Frankly, Arkansas is doing extraordinarily well compared to the rest of the country, Beebe said, The rest of the country is talking about it. The statistics are accurate. They are what they are.