Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson was one of the few speakers at the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition’s Spring Supper who has already announced his 2024 presidential candidacy. Hutchinson noted that when he became governor, it was the first time in Arkansas history there was a Republican governor with a Republican legislature. And, after eight years, it was the first time in history that a Republican administration transferred power to another Republican administration — Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
Hutchinson, who vetoed a bill as governor to ban sex-change treatments and surgeries on minors, talked about his life outside of politics at the beginning of his speech. He said he was motivated as a young lawyer to start a Christian school. He then started a radio station and put in a Christian format.
“In the family, all of these areas, my faith impacts my life,” Hutchinson said. “People ask me though, ‘Why did you get into politics?’ And it was for the same reason. And that is that our faith guides us in the public arena. That we can make a difference in the public arena for eternity.”
As governor, Hutchinson said Arkansas became the most pro-life state in the country. He said he signed more than 30 pro-life bills as governor.
He has already declared his candidacy for 2024, saying he is motivated because the Biden Administration has failed on border policy and fentanyl. He criticized Biden’s energy policy and said America must step up and be the leader of the world.
“I believe that our leaders today need to make sure that we bring out the best of America,” he said. “The best in terms of our economy, our individual liberty, our freedoms, our faith.”
Hutchinson discussed the challenge of encountering “wokeness.”
“This is coming out of Washington D.C.,” he said. “They’re pushing leftist social policy in our businesses and our schools.”
The Civil Rights Division in the Department of Education sent notices to school superintendents saying bathrooms must be open to transgender students.
“Well, I immediately sent out word to all of our schools saying please ignore the President of the United States,” he said. “Please ignore the Department of Education. They had no authority to do that and we pushed back on it and were successful. The most important way to push back is by parents being engaged in our schools.”
He also called for businesses to stand up against ESG.
“The biggest difference you can make in the culture is through our families, through our communities, through our houses of worship,” he said. “Because that is where you take a stand for what is right, you influence the environment in which you live, that makes a difference even more so than passing laws.”
The first few days of his presidential administration would be spent reversing and revoking all of President Joe Biden’s executive orders, Hutchinson said.
“And there’s a new one coming out every day,” he said.
Hutchinson said the fentanyl crisis must be effectively addressed. The country must educate communities as to the dangers of fentanyl. And then the cartels must be combated.
“We have got to go after the cartel,” he said. “The cartel is a foreign terrorist organization in Mexico. They’re bringing in the fentanyl.”