Two nationally known figures from Arkansas visited Hope over the past weekend, one a hometown favorite son who went on to become Arkansas governor, the other seeking to be governor this year, both greeted by big and enthusiastic crowds.

Two nationally known figures from Arkansas visited Hope over the past weekend, one a hometown favorite son who went on to become Arkansas governor, the other seeking to be governor this year, both greeted by big and enthusiastic crowds.
Saturday night saw the appearance of Hope native Mike Huckabee before an estimated dinner crowd of 600 from throughout Arkansas at Hempstead Hall. Among those from Little Rock were current Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, who once served on Huckabee’s Presidential campaign.
Huckabee, who also graduated from Hope High School, has gone on to achieve worldwide fame as a best selling book author, pastor, and appearances on Fox News, where he also hosted a Saturday talk show.
Huckabee was in Hope as part of the Hope Rotary’s 100th Anniversary celebration, and he handed out four $1,000 Rotary scholarships to local students.  Back in 1973, Huckabee himself had been a Rotary scholarship recipient as he later attended and graduated from Ouachita Baptist University.
Huckabee’s daughter, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, also a graduate of Ouachita Baptist University, is now world famous in her own right as the current White House Press Secretary in the Trump Administration.  Three years ago, Huckabee was in the very same Hempstead Hall, where he announced his second bid for the GOP Presidential nomination in 2015.
“Well, I always wanted there to be a Huckabee in the White House,” he joked, referencing his two Presidential runs, “These days, I’m best known ’Sarah’s father’ in the in airports.”
Huckabee spoke for 22 minutes on faith, education, and “chasing chickens for a living growing up in Hope.”  Huckabee also talked about growing up in a modest home off Second Street in Hope.
“I’ve never forgotten the investment that the Hope Rotary Club made in me, to allow me to go to college, to allow me to contribute and to be in public service,” he said to a standing ovation at the end.
Approximately 24 earlier, Friday, Huckabee’s friend and fellow Fox News analyst Jan Morgan brought her campaign for governor to the Hope’s Fair Park, hosted by the Hope Tea Party.  Morgan, running as a Republican, hopes to unseat current Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson in the May 22 primary.
Like Huckabee, Morgan rose to national fame on the airwaves of Fox News, and for her conservative brand of politics. She came to prominence as a Second Amendment guns right activist, operating a shooting range in Hot Springs.  In southwest Arkansas, Morgan was also well-known as a television broadcaster from Texarkana for many years.
Running as a conservative alternative to Hutchinson, Morgan said “Arkansas citizens have been fooled by Asa Hutchinson,” saying “He has talked a lot about income tax decreases, but the reality is that our state has too many fees and a poor business climate. Why else would he have to be going to China to bring new businesses here?  What about the people and the businesses that are already here?”
She also told the estimated crowd of 70 supporters and state media that “There are too many taxes on personal property, which has already had a sales tax paid on it. It is really very simple. We haven’t done it because we are increasing spending and governor, not reducing it.”
Morgan, who spoke for over one hour, said she entered the race because Republicans in Little Rock “have not been acting like Republicans, including Hutchinson himself, and the people have seen that, and they’ve had enough.”