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Bequette launches bid for lieutenant governor

Republican Chris Bequette announced his bid for lieutenant governor Tuesday morning.

His statement reads:

“It is with great honor that I announce my candidacy for Lieutenant Governor and launch a movement to finally put Arkansas on the path to the true Liberty, Safety and Prosperity that all Arkansans deserve. Too many milquetoast Republicans have failed to fulfill the mandate voters gave them 8-10 years ago. A mandate for a Republican Party version of State Government that’s smaller and limited, that cuts wasteful spending, abolishes the State income tax and cracks down on crime. Only then will we finally deliver on issues that matter most to Arkansans.”

Bequette was born in Missouri and attended the University of Arkansas. As a second-generation Razorback football player, Bequette redshirted in 1983, before helping Arkansas achieve a 35-13-1 record from 1984-1987, and appeared in four straight bowl games, including the Orange Bowl. ChrisBequette competed as a defensive tackle (1984) and offensive guard and tackle (1985-1987), lettering four years, starting in thirty-seven consecutive games and was voted one of four team captains in 1987. Bequette earned his undergraduate degree in three years and played his last two seasons for the Razorbacks while attending law school, graduating in 1989. He is licensed to practice law in Arkansas and Missouri.

After coaching football for two seasons at Appalachian State University, Bequette returned to Arkansas to work as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Little Rock from 1993-1995, trying over 30 jury trials, including a number of murder and violent crime cases. In late 1995, Bequette entered the financial services industry. Since 2007 he has been the owner of a wealth management practice helping individuals and families win financially through financial education, planning and investment management services. Bequette lives in Little Rock and is a longtime member of the Cathedral of St. Andrew and has been engaged in various charitable endeavors including the Knights of Columbus. Bequette has one son, Luc, who is playing his final college football season in the PAC-12 Conference.

Search and Rescue

State's JAG programs recognized

The Arkansas Department of Education is pleased to announce that the Jobs for Arkansas Graduates program received the national 5-of-5 Award for 2020, marking 15 consecutive years the program has received the honor. Twenty-five JAG programs at schools around the state also received 5-of-5 recognition for 2020.

The Arkansas program is an affiliate of the Jobs for America’s Graduates program and is designed to assist students who are at risk of dropping out of high school. Students enrolled in the program receive supports and services to help them not only graduate high school but also become successful whether pursuing post-secondary education, employment, or military service.

“I am extremely proud of the Division of Career and Technical Education for leading and supporting this outstanding program, as well as the 25 programs that also received national recognition,” ADE Secretary Johnny Key said. “Because of the division’s efforts and the dedication from educators around the state, Arkansas has one of the most exemplary JAG programs in the country, as evidenced by this award over the last 15 years. Thank you to everyone who contributes to this programs’ success and provides critical supports to help students achieve success in life.”

During the 2020-2021 school year, 116 JAG programs in 81 Arkansas school districts assisted more than 3,600 students. In addition to receiving academic support, students in the program participate in project-based and work-based learning projects, which lead to post-secondary education and workforce opportunities.

The 25 programs that received 5-of-5 recognition are listed below.

Arch Ford HUB / Dover High School /Hector High School

Arch Ford HUB / Jessieville ALE

Arch Ford HUB / Shirley High School

Arch Ford HUB / Vilonia High School

Bald Knob High School

Cedar Ridge High School

Crossett High School

DeWitt High School

Fayetteville High School

Genoa Central High School

Har-Ber High School

Harmony Grove High School

Heber Springs High School

Jacksonville High School

Malvern High School

Marshall High School

Mena High School

Midland High School ALE

Mount Ida High School

Paragould High School

Paris High School

Parkview High School

Springdale High School

Star City High School

Sylvan Hills High School

Arkansas’ program receives Temporary Assistance for Needy Families funding from the Division of Workforce Services, as well as funding from Entergy Arkansas, AT&T, and the Walton Family Foundation.

AG hosts elder abuse conference

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge hosted the second Elder Abuse Conference in Jonesboro at the Arkansas State University First National Bank Arena. Nearly 100 attendees learned about issues faced by loved ones and providers who assist and serve seniors and adults with developmentally disabilities.

“I am dedicated to protecting our seniors from those who take advantage of them through financial and physical abuse,” Rutledge said. The annual Elder Abuse Conference empowers family, friends, employers and law enforcement to recognize the signs of abuse and teaches them how to protect victims when abuse is occurring.

Lance Robertson, the former US Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Assistant Secretary for Aging and current director of Guidehouse was the keynote speaker.

“It is so pleasing to see Attorney General Rutledges commitment to exposing the troubling societal issue elder abuse,” Robertson said.

“Candidly, it is often swept under the carpet and is more pervasive than we want to acknowledge. However, Arkansas is in good hands and could become the national model for how to effectively combat abuse, neglect and exploitation,” he added

The conference covered a broad range of topics including elder financial abuse, expansion of the Attorney Generals Office Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, prescription drug abuse by caregivers, lessons learned and resources for elder abuse and support and tools for elder abuse prevention.

According to the National Council on Aging, one in 10 Americans 60 years and older have experienced some kind of abuse. It is estimated that as many as five million elderly Americans are abused each year.

FABT named one of best places to work

First Arkansas Bank & Trust was recently named as one of the Best Places to Work in Arkansas. This eighth annual program was created by Arkansas Business and Best Companies Group.

This survey and awards program was designed to identify, recognize and honor the best employers in Arkansas, benefiting the state’s economy, workforce and businesses. The list is made up of 50 companies. FAB&T has been named one of this year’s Best Places to Work in Arkansas.

Companies from across the state entered the two-part survey process to determine the Best Places to Work in Arkansas. The first part consisted of evaluating each nominated company’s workplace policies, practices, philosophy, systems and demographics. This part of the process was worth approximately 25 percent of the total evaluation. The second part consisted of an employee survey to measure the employee experience. This part of the process was worth approximately 75 percent of the total evaluation. The combined scores determined the top companies and the final rankings. Best Companies Group managed the overall registration and survey process in Arkansas, analyzed the data and determined the final rankings.

Larry Wilson, Chairman, President and CEO of FAB&T, stated, “We have had the honor and privilege to, once again, be recognized as one of the Best Places to Work in Arkansas. This is not a recognition that we take lightly. In fact, it may be one of the ones that I am most proud of because it is about the environment that we create for our bank family. By providing a great working environment, we then are able to provide a great experience for our customers. Our people truly do make the difference.”

All business that received this distinction will be celebrated and category winners including the Benchmark Award winner will be revealed at a hybrid event with in-person and virtual package options on Sept. 29, 2021 at the DoubleTree Hotel Little Rock.