Gov. Mike Huckabee, Republican candidate in the 2008 Presidential election, was born in Hope, Arkansas in 1955, eight years after the former President Bill Clinton. Both grew up poor. In fact, Huckabee asserts his early life in Hope is what sets him apart from the typical Republican candidate in the 2008 presidential election. “I felt there were so many people making decisions in public policy who were sincere and well-meaning, but they didn’t have a clue as to what the real hurts of humanity were,” he is quoted by Bill Sammon, (The Examiner, Sep 13, 2006).
Mike Huckabee served as a Baptist minister from 1980-1992, leading rapidly growing congregations in Pine Bluff and Texarkana. Huckabee was a denominational leader during that time and was the youngest president ever of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention. Huckabee states that his ministry service gave him a deep understanding of the problems faced by families and individuals.
In the same Sammon interview, Huckabee goes on to say, “They [policy makers] thought they understood, but they really had never walked into a home where there was no heat. They’d never, ever set down with a family who had just had a complete loss to fire – with no insurance. They didn’t really know anyone like that. They’d read news stories. But it’s a different thing when you literally know those people.” He adds: “For every social pathology there is, I can put a name and face to it.
From 1996-2007, Mike Huckabee served as Governor of Arkansas and was named to Time magazine’s 2006 list of the nation’s best governors. Governing Magazine name his one of it’s Public Officials of the year for 2005 and Huckabee received the American Association of Retired Person’s Impact Award the same year. Huckabee contends one of his proudest achievements as governor was signing legislation creating ARKids First, a program that provides health insurance coverage for more than 70,000 Arkansas children who wouldn’t have access to adequate care otherwise.
“Too many politicians are talking about health care, not enough are talking about health,” Huckabee says. “The focus needs to be on health, not health care.” Mike Huckabee’s efforts to improve his own health have received national attention. He was diagnosed with Type II diabetes in 2003 and has lost 110 pounds.
Calling for a national emphasis on living a healthy lifestyle, Mike Huckabee completed his fourth book, “Quit Digging Your Grave With A Knife and Fork.” The book presents a no-nonsense approach to managing one’s health through lifestyle change rather than a simple diet and exercise plan. Governor Huckabee is also the author of four other books.
Huckabee has held leadership positions on numerous boards, including Chairman of the Interstate Oil & Gas Compact Commission. The Commission was a 37-state coalition to develop energy policy and lobby Congress on energy matters, such as the regulation of oil and gas production. Mike
Huckabee, a fiscal conservative, cut taxes and fees over 90 times during his ten and a half years as governor, saving the people of Arkansas almost $380 million. When he left office, Arkansas had over $800 million in state surplus which he believes should be returned to taxpayers in the form of a tax credit or rebate.
Mike Huckabee’s campaign strategy is unique. “Team Huckabee,” Mike Huckabee believes, is what will separate him from all the others. The Team Huckabee web site states, “This grass roots movement will create a network of individuals across the country and will be the base for the entire campaign. Mike Huckabee can’t do it alone but WE CAN DO IT TOGETHER. All that is required to become a “team member” is making a minimum contribution of $20.08.
Huckabee believes we are in the “midst of a world war,” when he speaks about the war in Iraq. He supports more restrictions on immigration and increased security on our borders. As an Evangelical Christian, Huckabee opposes gay marriage.
A question posed to Mike Huckabee at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, asked why [we] should vote for him. Huckabee answered, “Because I believe that America’s greatness is not in its government but in ordinary people. I know what it is like to start at the bottom, and I am very mindful of how hard people have to work to make it. I have been an underdog in everything I have undertaken – not just politically, but throughout my entire life.”
Mike Huckabee enjoys playing bass guitar in his band, Capitol Offense, which has oipened for artists such as Willie Nelson and the Charlie Daniels Band. The rock ban has also played the House of Blues in New Orleans, the Red Rocks Amphitheater in Denver, CO and for two presidential inaugural balls. Huckabee and his wife, Janet, have three grown children and currently live in North Little Rock AK.