REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE - MIKE HUCKABEE
Michael Dale "Mike" Huckabee is the former governor of the U.S. state of Arkansas, having served from 1996 to 2007, and was only the third Republican governor of the state since Reconstruction. Prior to his political career, Huckabee was pastor of several Southern Baptist churches in Arkadelphia, Texarkana, and Pine Bluff, Arkansas. He served as president of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention from 1989 to 1991 and as president of a religious-oriented television station. He has chaired the Southern Growth Policies Board, the Southern Region Education Board, the Southern Technology Council, and the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, and currently serves as Chair of the Education Commission of the States. He is also a member of the Republican Governors Association and former chairman of the National Governors Association.
Huckabee was born in Hope, Arkansas, to Mae Elder and Dorsey W. Huckabee. He was elected Governor of Arkansas Boys State in 1972. He graduated magna cum laude from Ouachita Baptist University, completing his bachelors degree in 2½ years before attending Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.
In Huckabee's first political race, he lost to incumbent U.S. Senator Dale Bumpers (D) in 1992, having received some 40 percent of the vote. That same election saw Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton ascend to the Presidency. This made Lieutenant Governor Jim Guy Tucker the new Governor. Huckabee won a special election for lieutenant governor which was held early in 1993. He hence became only the second Republican since Reconstruction to have served as Arkansas lieutenant governor. Huckabee was re-elected to a full term as lieutenant governor in 1994.
On July 15, 1996, he was sworn in as Governor of Arkansas; Tucker had resigned because of a felony conviction in the Whitewater scandal. He rescinded his resignation as Huckabee was preparing to be sworn in, however, but within a few hours, Tucker reinstated his resignation, and Huckabee was sworn in. As governor, Huckabee signed legislation that created ARKids First, a health insurance program designed to provide insurance to children of families who could not qualify for Medicaid but could not afford private insurance. In November 1998, Huckabee was elected to a full four-year term. He defeated retired Colonel Gene McVay of Fort Smith in the primary and Jonesboro attorney Bill Bristow, a Democrat, in the general election.
At the beginning of his first full term, Huckabee led a public relations campaign for a bond program to pay for road reconstruction. Arkansas voters had traditionally shied away from public debt, having experienced a major bond scandal that affected the state's finances for the latter half of the 19th century. This time, however, the voters approved Huckabee's program. Huckabee also led a campaign to dedicate via constitutional amendment 1/8 of each cent of the state sales tax to improvement of the state's park system and natural resources. As part of the campaign, Huckabee traveled the entire length of the Arkansas River (the part within Arkansas) by boat.
He was made the chair of the Southern Governors' Association in 1999 and served in that capacity through 2000. In 2000, Huckabee also led a campaign to funnel 100 percent of the state's tobacco settlement revenues into the state's health care system, rather than into the general fund. In April 2001, Canadian comedian Rick Mercer aired his Talking to Americans special; in it, Governor Mike Huckabee was recorded congratulating Canada on preserving its National Igloo.
In November 2002, he was reelected to his second (and final because of term limits) four-year term. Governor Huckabee narrowly defeated State Treasurer Jimmie Lou Fisher, garnering 53% of the vote to her 47%. By the end of that term, Huckabee owned the third-longest tenure of any Arkansas Governor (only Democrats Orval Faubus, who served six consecutive 2-year terms (1955–1967), and Bill Clinton, who served eleven years, eleven months (1979–1981; 1983–1992), had longer tenures).
On November 21, 2002, the Arkansas Supreme Court declared that the state's school funding procedure was unconstitutional and ordered the state to produce a fair system. Huckabee proposed a controversial plan that would consolidate many of the state's smaller school districts. School consolidation is very unpopular in rural Arkansas. Huckabee's plan was rejected by the legislature, and the court order has not yet been satisfied.
After Hurricane Katrina made landfall and an estimated 70,000 evacuees fled to Arkansas, Huckabee ordered state agencies to take care of them. State parks offered discounts, waived pet restrictions, and bumped other reservations in favor of evacuees. Pharmacists were given emergency authority to dispense prescriptions and provide access to dialysis machines. Shelters opened up in nearly every portion of the state, and Huckabee requested that the entire state be declared a disaster area. Many of these shelters, either closed or set to close, were reopened or kept open to process a "second wave" of Katrina evacuees being moved from Texas in the wake of arriving Hurricane Rita.
Huckabee has voiced his support of creationism. He was quoted in July 2004 on "Arkansans Ask," his regular show on the Arkansas Educational Television Network: "I think that students also should be given exposure to the theories not only of evolution but to the basis of those who believe in creationism." Huckabee also stated "I do not necessarily buy into the traditional Darwinian theory, personally
In November 2005, Time named Huckabee one of the five best governors in the U.S. In early 2006, Huckabee — along with fellow governors Rick Perry (R-TX); Jim Doyle (D-WI); and Dave Freudenthal (D-WY) — travelled to the Middle East and South Asia as part of Department of Defense-sponsored trip to provide the state leaders with an idea of the conditions under which American forces are serving. While visiting Baghdad and Tikrit, Huckabee and the governors received briefings from Gen. George Casey and Amb. Zalmay Khalilzad.
James Carville, Clinton's former political consultant, said the following about Huckabee: "He likes people, he knows how to relate to people.. His father was a preacher. He can talk the talk. I'm impressed with this guy's political skills". (Carville's statement was incorrect: Huckabee's father was a firefighter, not a preacher; Huckabee is the preacher.) Huckabee has recently said that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is "creating a major distraction for the president and for the administration and for the Republican Party," and suggested that perhaps Gonzales should consider resigning due to the current controversy surrounding him.
Huckabee participated in the May 3, 2007 Republican Presidential Debates along with the nine other declared candidates. Huckabee expressed support of a FairTax, a balanced budget with reduced spending, making the Bush administration's 2001 and 2003 tax cuts permanent, combating climate change, and comprehensive immigration reform among other things. Political analyst and former Clinton adviser Dick Morris said Huckabee performed well, asserting that he was the "most original" candidate, especially with his explanation of the pro-life platform; and that his articulation was "novel and intriguing." Huckabee was one of three candidates who said that they do not believe in evolution.
Huckabee said on May 16 that, if his campaign falters, he would have to think long and hard before agreeing to become a vice-presidential candidate on a ticket whose presidential choice endorses abortion. "This is an issue to me that is very critical. It's one of the reasons that I got into politics because I believe the manner in which we treat innocent life and the matter in which we respect human life, at whatever stage ... is an incredibly powerful statement about who we are as a people," Huckabee told reporters in a conference call in South Carolina. The Huckabee campaign announced on Friday, June 8, that the governor would participate in the Iowa Republican Party's Straw Poll, scheduled for Saturday, August 11, 2007 in Ames, at Iowa State University.
When elected governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee was significantly overweight. During 2003, physicians diagnosed the governor with adult-onset diabetes and informed him that he would not live more than ten years if he did not lose weight. Prompted by this diagnosis (as well as the subsequent death of former Governor White, whose obesity led to a fatal heart attack), Huckabee went on a diet. He subsequently lost over 110 pounds, according to a New York Times article at a pace so rapid that "it was as if he simply unzipped a fat suit and stepped out." He has publicly recounted his previous burdens as an overweight man: the steps of the Arkansas capitol building from the entrance of the building up to the Governor's office were so long and steep that Huckabee would be out of breath and exhausted by the time he reached the top of the stairs; He secretly feared that he would be interviewed by media at the top of the steps, and that he would be unable to respond appropriately due to his overexertion and breathlessness. Huckabee has talked about his weight loss and made health care reform a major component of his later tenure as governor. This has included a series of dialogues between leaders in the food industry and leaders in public health. In addition, Huckabee ran in the 2006 New York City Marathon.
MIKE HUCKABEE QUOTES
"Our culture is failing in its understanding of the proper role of marriage. About half the marriages performed in the US end up in divorce. Why does it matter? Divorce dramatically increases the likelihood of poverty; drug use; premarital sex; juvenile delinquency; and academic failure. The cost to society of failed marriages is too high to calculate. In most instances, only the lawyers come out winners. One of the reasons so many marriages fail is that couples have accepted the myth that the purpose of marriage is to be happy. If the expectations for a marriage arise from a sentimental love story filled with constant excitement, adventure, and romance, the couple is headed for disappointment. By saying the purpose of marriage is not to be happy, I'm not suggesting the primary goal of marriage is misery. The purpose of marriage is to establish a relationship in which we learn to love another person in the sacrificial and unselfish manner that God loves us."
"I would never want to sacrifice one particle of America's power. Ronald Reagan had it right when he led this country to unprecedented military strength. Our best defense is a military so well equipped and so well trained that no one wants to challenge it. Strength is a far more effective deterrent to war than is weakness, and the US should never be apologetic for the development of the strongest military forces on the face of the earth. But with the development of strength and unprecedented power there must also be unprecedented restraint."
"80% of all those incarcerated were there because of drugs or alcohol; and were drunk or high when they committed their crime, or committed the crime in order to get drunk or high. We don't have a crime problem; we have a drug and alcohol problem. While those who deal drugs and entice others into enslaving addictions deserve prison sentences, we end up locking away many non-violent drug users, some of whom spend longer periods in prison than they would if they committed a violent crime. A major reform in dealing with drug offenders in Arkansas was the establishment of drug courts, where a non-violent drug offender could be directed to enroll in drug treatment programs or heavily supervised community service. The recidivism rate dropped to 31%. More significantly, the cost per day was lower than that of prison, while at the same time allowing the offender to regain his or her life."
"While many elected officials pontificate proudly about their deep interest in and commitment to public education, so many put their own children in private schools. If the public schools are so deserving of their (and our) support, why aren't they deserving of the ultimate support--having confidence enough in them for their own children to be educated there? My three children were the first children of any Arkansas governor in at least 50 years who spent their first through senior high education entirely in the public schools of Arkansas. My wife and I are ourselves products of public schools. For us, there was no option as we grew up in families that could not have afforded a private school had one even existed in our hometown."
"Some people preach that having too much is a sin, but that is not what the Bible teaches. The issue of wealth is not how much you have but how you got it. One of the great challenges of life is determining that our pleasure shouldn't be based on the amount of our treasure. When life and its enjoyment are defined by what we have accumulated, we're to be pitied rather than envied. Our treasure should never become our job, home, car, property, or any other "toys." Consumerism can be intoxicating and addictive. Those who are swept up in its power find their occasional moments of ecstasy tied to the purchase of something. A sense of real peace is achieved only when you can say that material things are genuinely immaterial. It's not so much what we have but what has us that will determine our inner tranquility. There's no prohibition in God's Word to having much, but there's a strong admonition not to allow even a little to possess us."
"Whether we should even have a death penalty is a tough issue. I believe some crimes deserve it, but that does not mean I like it. I do believe it should be an option, but carrying out the death penalty was unquestionably the worst part of my job as governor. 17 times I sat by a phone with an open line to the death chamber, and gave the verbal order for the lethal injection. I never slept well those nights. I did the job that the law prescribed for me to do, but I hated every minute of it."
"I always am going to err on the side of life. I believe life is precious. I have been in the pro-life camp since I was a teenager. It's because of my view that God is the creator and instigator of life. But those of us in the pro-life movement have to do also some expanding. Life begins at conception but it doesn't end at birth. And if we're really pro-life we have to be concerned about more than just the gestation period. [My administration] passed pro-life legislation, but we also did things that improved the environmental quality that would affect a child's air and water; that he had a better education, & better access to affordable health care. So I think that real pro-life people need to be concerned about affordable housing, safe neighborhoods, access to a college education. That, for me, is what pro-life has to mean."
"Being tough on crime is certainly more popular than being soft, but America needs to be careful that in our attempt to stoutly enforce our laws and protect our citizens, we do not end up with a system that is based more on revenge than restoration. A revenge-based criminal justice system seeks to measure out as harsh a judgment as is possible so as to satisfy the natural inclination to get even."
"We need to be very careful about the overuse of the Guard and the Reserve in our military. As a governor and commander in chief of our Guard, I've seen 80% of our Guard forces deployed to Iraq. Now we're talking about sending them back yet again & again. These are citizen soldiers. They didn't sign up to be gone all the time. They're willing to do their duty, but the toll that it's taking on their families, their employers and their communities is-it's beginning to really wear."
"I don’t think we need a lot more government. We need the government we have to work more efficiently. We need it to work in ways that help our citizens rather than helping us to just grow more government. And, if the economy is slowing, then that’s all the more reason not to launch forth with a whole lot of new government programs but rather to scale back everywhere we can except for determining those things which we cannot scale back and then carrying out our responsibilities."
"A popular but ill-conceived notion is the complete elimination of parole or accredited time for good behavior. Eliminating parole often has the opposite effect of its intention. People are in prison largely because they failed to understand how life should work, with people being rewarded for responsible action, & suffering the consequences of irresponsible action. It is fair to say that people in prison got there due to their unwillingness to abide by simple rules of common courtesy. The concept of parole is that an inmate can complete educational goals, be industrious, follow the rules, and get along with other inmates in order to earn his or her most precious commodity--time. Imagine saying to an inmate, "If you learn a useful skill and act respectfully toward others, you will still serve a full sentence." What kind of incentive is that? Yes, I believe in "commit the crime and do the time," but it is in society's best interest to have a system that keeps hope alive in the minds of violators."
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Mike Huckabee Official Website
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