Mike Huckabee - the Personal Side
|"There is a crisis in America. That crisis is divorce. It is easier to get out of a marriage than out of a contract to buy a used car." |
Mike Huckabee was born in the small community of Hope, Arkansas in August of 1955. Son of a fireman and homemaker, Mike and his sister grew up in a family long on love, if somewhat short on ready cash. Today, when discussing those years, Mike recalls he didn't know that his family would be considered poor by today's standards, everyone he knew faced many of the same circumstances. The issue was a simple one, money was stretched as far as it would go and necessities were generally the order of the shopping day. Mike credits this upbringing with his core principle regarding fiscal policy of "Pray a little more, work a little harder, save, wait, be patient and, most of all, live within our means. That's the American way. It's not spending ourselves into prosperity or taxing ourselves into prosperity."
Upon graduation from high school in Hope, Mike Huckabee became the first member of his family to attend college. Again, money was short and he knew a college education, no matter how important, was more a matter of how long the money would last than how hard he would have to work. Thus, it was just 2 short years later that Mike Huckabee would graduate magna cum laude from what is today known as Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. Today when people comment on how smart he must be to have finished in such a short time frame, he will politely demur, saying it was more an issue of graduating before the money ran out.
It was while at Ouachita Mike met the love of his life, Janet McCain. They were married while both were enrolled as students and began the lifestyle of a young married college couple, albeit one where the husband was maintaining an accelerated course load while working two jobs.
Mike already had his next calling in life and after Ouachita, he and Janet headed for Dallas, Texas and the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. After graduation, his career in the ministry carried Mike and a now growing family to a variety of churches in Arkansas, winding up at the Beech Street First Baptist Church in Texarkana, Arkansas. Recognized for his leadership abilities, Mike was elected to a two-year term as president of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, the youngest person ever elected to this position.
As mentioned above, along the way Mike and Janet began a family and by the time he was ready to enter politics, John Mark, David and Sarah rounded out the family roster. As when Mike had been a child growing up in Hope, the he and Janet made sure that this was a family based upon love and respect, both for each other and for those outside their immediate family. Today, if you happen to meet any member of this family, it is clear that the lessons were well learned.
Mike's first foray into the political arena wasn't the most successful endeavor of his life. Challenging a long-time Democratic senator and former governor are not the easiest of tasks anywhere, but especially difficult in the staunchly Democrat Arkansas of the early 1990s. Though defeated in his first political contest, Mike Huckabee would not be silent for long. With the election of Bill Clinton as President of the United States, a series of events began unfolding in Arkansas with far reaching impact -- for Mike Huckabee and for Arkansans.
Lieutenant Governor Jim Guy Tucker ascended to the governorship and after a spirited special election campaign, Mike Huckabee was elected to replace him as Lt. Governor. To be sure, this was quite a shock for the hugely partisan political establishment in the state capitol, to the point when Mike arrived at his office, the doors were literally nailed shut! Obviously, being a Republican elected state office holder in Arkansas held its own special set of challenges.
Arkansas faced a crisis in 1996 when Governor Tucker was convicted of felonies as an ancillary conviction stemming from the original Whitewater investigation and ultimately stepped down from office on July 15, 1996. At this point Mike Huckabee ascended to the position of governor, a calming influence in a day of much turmoil and uproar. Although one of the youngest governors in the nation, Mike brought a sense of compassion and understanding to a day filled with anything but.
In 1998, Governor Huckabee was elected to his first full term as governor of Arkansas and only the fourth Republican elected as governor since Reconstruction. Mike received overwhelming support from the voters of Arkansas with the largest number of votes ever received by a Republican candidate. In 2002, he was re-elected to his second four-year term as governor. Due to term limits, this would be his last term as governor, and he left office as the third longest serving governor in the history of Arkansas.