Mike Huckabee the Musician
"The arts are critical, not only as a link to student productivity, but also as a key to a competitive workforce."
For Mike Huckabee, his 11th Christmas became quite a remarkable event, impacting who and what he would become. Christmas of 1966 dawned with a J.C. Penney catalog special ordered guitar, amplifier and instruction books under the tree in the Huckabee household. While the $99 price may not seem much today, for the struggling Huckabee family of 1966, is was an exorbitant sum, but one to prove well worth the investment.
Thrilled with his new present, young Mike Huckabee played and practiced until his fingers were raw and tender. But by the time he had turned 12, he was playing well enough to join the first of several rock-and-roll bands.
Though professional music and rock-and-roll stardom were not exactly in the stars for this young musician, he did continue to play. As governor, he formed is own rock band and with tongue placed firmly in cheek, proclaimed the new band's name to be "Capitol Offense."
Mike may not have become a "rock superstar." but he sure managed to work in performing with a few. Over the years, he has performed on-stage with a variety of performers, including Alabama, REO Speedwagon, Grand Funk Railroad, and Arkansas' own Collin Raye. Mike and Capitol Offense played as opening act for numerous acts too, ranging from Dionne Warwick and Willie Nelson to Percy Sledge and the Charlie Daniels Band.
Mike Huckabee is aware of the profound impact music has played in his life. He will be the first to say music taught him the need for practice and preparation, discipline, and teamwork. He even credits music with helping him successfully overcome a terrible case of stage fright. Today, Mike Huckabee says with confidence he would have never made it to the Governor's Mansion without music playing such a significant role in his life.
Sadly, many schools in America place music and art programs among the programs on the chopping block when the budget gets tight. Mike Huckabee believes this is terrible policy. His policy in Arkansas was, and his policy will continue, that music and art programs are not expendable, extraneous, or extra-curricular---they are essential to the learning process, the learning experience. In today's era of "No Child Left Behind" our country continues to leave many children behind when we fail to touch the talents of all the students, especially the creative ones for whom music and art is their ticket to success.