LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was sworn in as Arkansas' 47th governor on Tuesday, assuming a seat her father once held and becoming the first woman to hold the post.
Sanders, who served nearly two years as White House press secretary, won the governor's election last year after focusing heavily on national issues and her time working for former President Donald Trump. But she's mostly avoided weighing in on the former president since the election and has said she wants to focus her attention on Arkansas.
Sanders will become the most well-known former Trump official in elected office. Her father, Mike Huckabee, served as Arkansas' governor for more than a decade.
Arkansas lawmakers convened on Monday for the start of the annual legislative session. Sanders has said her top priority is education reform legislation that she says will include a focus on improving literacy, pay raises for teachers, school safety measures and some form of using public money to pay for private schooling or homeschooling. She has also said she'd support legislation similar to a law in Florida that forbids instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade.
Other items on Sanders' legislative agenda include a push for cutting the state's income tax and public safety measures. She takes office with the state sitting on more than $2 billion in reserves and with Republicans in the Legislature having expanded their supermajority in the November election.
Sanders is succeeding Asa Hutchinson, who is leaving office after eight years due to term limits. Hutchinson, a Republican, is considering running for president. He has said Trump winning the GOP nomination again would be the “worst scenario” for his party.
Congressman Steve Womack (AR-3) released the following statement on the swearing-in of Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders:
“Congratulations to Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders as she leads Arkansas. She will make the Natural State proud. I have absolute confidence in her ability to move Arkansas forward. Her vision and commitment to our shared values will serve her well as she embarks on this new journey.
Best wishes on your inauguration, and I look forward to our shared work to ensure the future of our great state remains bright for generations to come. I also want to thank Governor Asa Hutchinson for his years of service and the strong foundation he’s left to build on.”
Congressman Steve Womack (AR-3) has represented Arkansas’s Third Congressional District since 2011. He is a member of the House Appropriations Committee.