A group of Salinans gathered Wednesday evening to protest an upcoming event in which Mike Huckabee be the featured speaker. Members of “Saline County Citizens for Responsible Government” gathered during the 5:00 hour in front of the Salina Area Chamber of Commerce office on Ash Street with signs.
Former Arkansas Governor, current political commentator, and potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee will be the guest speaker at the Salina Area Chamber of Commerce annual meeting and banquet. Huckabee has been criticized by some for a recent statement he made at the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting.
Huckabee said “our party stands for the recognition of the equality of women and the capacity of women. That’s not a war on them. It’s a war for them. And if the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control, because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it.”
Janice Norlin of Salina helped to organize the peaceful protest Wednesday evening. She tells KSAL News that she is concerned about the “disrespectful comments made by Mr. Huckabee toward women.” She says that she doesn’t see how asking and paying him to speak promotes the Salina chamber’s mission statement of “business, professional, and individual people working together to make the Salina community a better place to live and work.” Norlin urges the chamber to rescind the invitation to Huckabee, and if the organization doesn’t, she urges those who have ticket to ask for a refund.
Norlin says that her group is planning a counter Huckabee-event at the same time as the Huckabee speech in Salina. It will be at Martinelli’s restaurant in Downtown Salina. The counter event will feature dinner, entertainment, and “an open microphone and open minds.” Norli says “We will talk about the real concerns in the Salina community, and where the chamber should be putting their energy and money rather than in a divisive outside speaker.”
Dennis Lauver from the Salina Area Chamber of Commerce was unavailable for comment Wednesday evening.
Mike Huckabee will speak at the Salina Bicentennial Center on Thursday, February 6th.