This morning, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee announced his plans to run for President of the United States. You will know from reading this blog that Governor Huckabee has been an unwavering supporter of music and arts education and has used his position of power and influence to help educate others on the critical role music and arts education plays in the development of our children.
He has pledged to continue to keep this issue in the public eye and bring it into the campaign debate – just as he did today on Meet the Press:
GOV. HUCKABEE: This is from Memphis, by the way, yeah.
MR. RUSSERT: Now, I believe that song is “Born To Be Wild.” Is that your inner self?
GOV. HUCKABEE: It probably would be born to be mild would be a better one for me. I love music. One of the things that I’m very passionate about is music and art and education because it was life-changing for me. I think in a creative economy we’ve got to have a whole group of kids coming up and a generation whose left and right brains are stimulated. It’s something I pushed for as a governor in Arkansas where we are one of the few states that required both music and art education. I’m a musician, I’m passionate about it, but I think this, this country has made a huge mistake in cutting music and art out of school budgets. And it’s something we’ve got to address because the future economy is dependent upon a creative generation.
MR. RUSSERT: Governor Mike Huckabee, he’s announced for president. Thank you for sharing your views, and we’ll be following your campaign.
MTP Transcript for Jan. 28, 2007 –
Meet the Press, online at MSNBC – MSNBC.com
Regardless of ones politics… whether as an individual you support him or not… the arts education community will be well served by having such a candidate in the fray to bring our powerful message to the national spotlight.
From today's announcement!
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee announced Sunday on NBC's 'Meet the Press' morning show with host Tim Russert that he will explore a presidential bid for 2008.
Huckabee, who left office Jan. 9, said,"People want an authentic conservative who has a proven record of results.”
“I’m taking the next step in becoming a candidate for President of United States,“ Huckabee, a Republican, said. “By filing papers with the Federal Election Commission, I will establish my official exploratory committee.”
The formation of an exploratory committee allows Huckabee to raise and spend money for a presidential run.
“I've concluded that I should take this necessary and vital step to bring a new kind of optimistic leadership to the public square,” Huckabee said, noting that he has received "strong, prayerful support" from his family, close friends and supporters in many states.
Last year, Huckabee campaigned in nearly 30 states on behalf of Republican candidates, state parties and conservative groups.
Huckabee became Arkansas' 44th governor in July 1996 when his predecessor resigned. He was one of the youngest governors in the country at the time. Huckabee first was elected lieutenant governor in a 1993 special election and was elected to a full four-year term in 1994. He was only the fourth Republican to be elected to statewide office since Reconstruction.
Huckabee was elected to a full four-year term as governor in 1998, attracting the largest percentage of the vote ever received by a Republican gubernatorial nominee in Arkansas, and was re-elected to another four-year term in November 2002. He was the third longest serving governor in the history of Arkansas, having served ten and a half years.
Huckabee is nationally recognized for his leadership capabilities and many accomplishments as governor. 'Governing' magazine named him as one of its Public Officials of the Year in 2005, Time magazine honored him as one of the 'Five Best Governors' in America, and he received the distinguished Impact Award from the American Association of Retired Persons.
Huckabee served as chairman of the National Governors Association and chairman of the Education Commission of the States. During his tenure as governor, Huckabee made great strides in improving education, increasing access to health care, updating technology in state government and revamping the state’s roadways.
Huckabee, a fiscal conservative, pushed through the Arkansas Legislature the first major, broad-based tax cuts in state history. He led efforts to establish a Property Taxpayers' Bill of Rights and created a welfare reform program that reduced welfare rolls in the state by almost 50 percent.
The governor is a noted speaker and author. He has given speeches on politics and public policy to groups across the country and around the world.
Born and raised in Hope, AR, Huckabee, 51, and his wife, Janet, live in North Little Rock. They have three grown children, John Mark, David and Sarah.
Official announcement activities are scheduled to begin on Tuesday, Jan. 30, with a two-day tour in Iowa. (This will be the Governor's ninth trip to the Hawkeye State.)