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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Surprise: Beebe appoints old, politically connected white guy to Highway Commission

Posted By on Thu, Jan 17, 2013 at 10:01 AM

HIGHWAY COMMISSIONER: Robert Moore.
  • HIGHWAY COMMISSIONER: Robert Moore.
Gov. Mike Beebe announced an appointment to the powerful, money-rich Arkansas Highway Commission this morning.

He (of course it was a "he") was Robert Moore, former ABC director, former House speaker and lord of historic Arkansas City. Let us all repair to Moore's farm, where he's lovingly reassembled the former Peck's tavern, and celebrate. Here's a fine article on Peck's.

Moore led the legislature to the voter initiative that raised the sales tax for a highway building program; though he lost on a part of the plan to make truckers pay a tiny bit more for the damage they do to roads. Money generally talks in commission appointments, one way or another, though more often through bulk of political contributions to the governor.

Irony here is that some Republicans got beaten for even allowing a vote on the highway tax increase. Now these insurgents are in charge. And will be seeking highway commission handouts, you can be sure.

PS — The tone of business-as-usual I've struck here shouldn't be taken to mean I think Moore is a bad appointment. Contrary. He's better than most I can think of; way better than some of the bullies and grifters who've landed on that body in years past. He was an outstanding House speaker and achieved some nearly miraculous things in a difficult and transitional time for the last session of Democratic leadership. He did so graciously and quietly, with more than a little dose of diversity in leadership. A good guy.

The Beebe release:

Governor Mike Beebe today named Robert S. Moore, Jr., of Arkansas City to the Arkansas Highway Commission.

"As Speaker of the House of Representatives, Robert was an outspoken and successful advocate for improving Arkansas highways and our State as a whole," Beebe said. "He will continue that work on the Commission while providing a strong voice to represent South Arkansas."

Moore, 68, grew up in Southeast Arkansas and graduated from Ouachita Baptist University. After joining the U.S. Army and serving in Vietnam, Moore returned home to earn his law degree and went to work for Attorney General Jim Guy Tucker. In 1977, Governor David Pryor appointed him as Chairman of the Arkansas Transportation Commission. He would also serve on the staff of Governor Bill Clinton and served two decades as Director of the Alcoholic Beverage Control. Moore was elected to the Arkansas House of Representatives in 2006.

Moore replaces Madison Murphy on the Commission. His appointment expires January 14, 2023.

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