Governors from across the nation made a point to celebrate what would have been former President Ronald Reagan's 102nd birthday on Feb. 6 with proclamations declaring the date "Ronald Reagan Day" in their respective states.
All 30 Republican governors, nine Democrats and one independent governor made the declarations.
Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe was one of eight Democratic governors to not issue a proclamation. The group that pushed for the declarations, the Ronald Reagan Legacy Project, called out Beebe specifically for his inaction, listing him first on a list of eight Democratic governors who "refused to issue a proclamation."
The group, founded by conservative firebrand Grover Norquist, said it made the requests to governors of all 50 states each year.
Norquist said the proclamations were a way to bring attention to the causes Reagan made the focus of his presidency.
"Ronald Reagan led America forward to defeat the threats to our prosperity of high taxes, inflation and recession at home and a surging Soviet Empire abroad," Norquist said in a statement. "He left America stronger, freer and safer than the day he became President."
Sen. Jake Files, R-Fort Smith, said he was surprised by Beebe's choice to not declare Feb. 6 "Ronald Reagan Day."
"I would think that he would stand up for what he sees as the Reagan legacy," Files said.
Beebe spokesman Matt DeCample said the governor's office had received the proclamation request. But DeCample said not issuing the proclamation was in no way intended to be a slight to Reagan's legacy. Instead, he said Beebe's office has one very simple rule it followed regarding proclamations.
"It says very clearly that we only accept requests from Arkansas residents," he said. "For any proclamation requests to be considered in Arkansas, it has to come from an Arkansan."
When asked if any Arkansas resident had made such a request at any time, DeCample replied with a simple "nope."
The other Democratic governors not issuing a proclamation were Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii, Steve Beshear of Kentucky, Mark Dayton of Minnesota, John Kitzhaber of Oregon, Jack Markell of Delaware, Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, and Peter Shumlin of Vermont.
Calls and an e-mail seeking comment from the Republican Party of Arkansas were not returned.