Around the South for December 2, 2014 – KY, AR, & TX

Kentucky: Beshear urges Obama to block EPA smog limits. In a letter to President Obama, Gov. Steve Beshear (D) said that the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed ozone standards “could create a hardship for many of our communities,” reports the Courier-Journal. According to EPA, 23 Kentucky counties would fail to meet new standards. However, Beshear said that if the higher end of proposed ozone standards is adopted, “non-attainment will be limited to the major metropolitan areas.”

Arkansas: Cotton stands firm on immigration, terrorism. When NBC’s Chuck Todd askedUS Sen.-elect Tom Cotton (R-AR) if his linking of terrorism with a porous US-Mexican border was campaign rhetoric, Cotton replied, “As long as our border open and it’s defenseless, it’s not just an immigration issue – it’s a national security issue.” When Todd suggested that was “fear mongering,” Todd replied, “The Islamic State is cutting the heads off of Americans right now,” adding that we should take a “strong stance” against terrorism, “whether it’s Iraq or Syria or whether it’s securing our Southern border.”

Texas: Perry gearing up for White House bid. Gov. Rick Perry (R) is holding a series of meetings, beginning this week, with some 500 GOP financial donors, campaign operatives and Republican National Committee meetings, reported Politico. This is likely the start of Perry’s effort to reinvent himself for a 2016 presidential bid, after a poor run in 2012. Two other potential GOP nominees may compete for Lone Star State money, US Sen. Ted Cruz (TX) and former Gov. Jeb Bush (FL), with friends among his father’s and brother’s backers.