October 5, 2006 - Posted at 6:19 p.m. CDT
JONESBORO, AR - With Election Day just around the corner, Thursday may very well be Governor Mike Huckabee's last visit to Jonesboro as sitting governor. He was in Region 8 lending his political clout to area Republicans and attended a fundraised for State Representative candidate Billie Sue Hoggard.
The state's 44th elected governor has spent the last 10 years calling Little Rock home. But some say when governor Huckabee leaves office, his legacy won't be hard to find.
"I think over the next few years people will realize that we have built new highways, we've made major advances in health care for both children and adults," said Governor Huckabee,
"We've really moved the state to the front of the pack nationally in the way we deal with the health issue, but we also saw some of the most significant education reforms where for the first time in our state's history, we've had sustained growth in all of our test scores."
The author of four books, Huckabee lost 110 pounds after being diagnosed with Type two diabetes. His advocacy for health has been a platform for his politics. Even though he'll be out of office soon, he still has strong feelings on how the state should handle a current surplus.
"When we have as much as we currently have, it may be as much as $800,000, there is really no excuse for the government holding that. It's one thing to set aside some for necessary school repairs, I realize that, but there needs to be a significant portion of that returned to the tax payers, either through the repeal the grocery tax or some other form of tax relief," said Governor Huckabee, "But when you've taken that much more money in then is necessary to run the budget, it is time to give it back for the people."
He's been playing music since he was 11...and spent the last decade in a rock band called "Capital Offense."
"Inside all of us, there is a creative side and education is incomplete if we don't touch the talents of every kid and that means music, dance art, some type of creative capacity," said Huckabee, "When I get a chance to play a lot of those creative juices turn lose in me!"
But the question everybody is dying to know...will his address change from Arkansas to Washington, D.C.?
"I'm still trying to assess whether there's a political future out there and there may be, but if not, who knows? I may just keep the band together and hit the road and do a concert tour," laughed the Governor.