LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ inauguration speech outlined her policy direction and the immediate action she would take as the state’s 47th executive.
Speaking from the steps of the state capitol Sanders promised to focus on many core conservative issues, including education reform, state spending and crime reduction.
“A bold conservative reformer is coming to the governor’s mansion,” she said.
While her policy plans were similar to what she told the Arkansas legislature earlier Tuesday, a new announcement was her plan to sign two executive orders immediately.
First, Sanders said she would institute a state hiring freeze, which would also freeze any new regulations in the state.
Second, she promised an executive order to “prevent the political indoctrination of Arkansas school children, saying she was moving to prevent a “left-wing political agenda” in Arkansas schools.
On the latter point, Sanders said she was moving to prevent a “left-wing political agenda” in Arkansas schools.
The governor said she intends to make education reform a hallmark of her administration.
Sanders reinforced her desire for education reform, specifically in her desire to increase school choice. She emphasized parents in promoting school choice, because “public schools do not belong to the bureaucrats in D.C.”
The governor also called for increased student literacy rates and pay raises for Arkansas teachers.
Sanders said that Arkansas residents would see a tax cut this year, followed by a future end to the state income tax altogether. The governor cited jobs going to the adjoining states of Tennessee and Texas that do not have an income tax.
Sanders said Arkansas tourism would be promoted, calling out the state’s natural beauty.
The governor also called out the “creeping hand” of the federal government, pledging that big government will be stopped.
Sanders presented her policy on crime by citing the death of Sgt. Donald Scoby of the Stuttgart Police Department on Dec. 15, 2022. It was time to “end the crime wave” and “end the ‘defund the police’” rhetoric, she said.
She called for an end to the “foolish” and “dangerous” practice of early release due to prison overcrowding. She added that the prison “revolving door” must end, citing that the man who killed Scoby had a lengthy criminal record.
The governor did say she would increase mental health and anti-addiction treatment for inmates, including an increase in reliance on faith-based programs.
As Sanders concluded her speech, she called out her recent battle with cancer and its being cured by Arkansas doctors. This led to a standing ovation from the audience.
Then Sanders told of her mother and former Arkansas first lady Janet Huckabee’s battle with cancer as a 20-year-old. This led to her telling the audience about faith’s role in her life. Sander’s father, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, is famously an ordained Baptist minister.
Sanders said that common sense and faith would be the values of her administration.
Sanders concluded with a hopeful call to the future.
“We know not what the future holds, but we know who holds the future in His hands. And with God as our witness, we will show the world that there is still a place in America where freedom reigns and liberty will never die, and that place is Arkansas.”