A nationally known politician and commentator spent a little time in Salina Thursday. Former governor, and potential future presidential candidate, Mike Huckabee was in town as the keynote speaker for the 103rd Salina Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet and Membership Meeting.
Huckabee is the former Arkansas Governor, and currently is a nationally known television and radio commentator. He has his own show FOX television, and is a familiar voice to Newsradio 1150 KSAL listeners delivering “The Huckabee Report” every weekday morning at 7:30 on the radio.
Prior to speaking at the banquet, Huckabee met with the media. He discussed everything from leading early polls as the Republican nominee for president, to topics that included things like common core standards.
Huckabee was asked about recent controversial comments he made at the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting. He 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.”
Huckabee said that the comments were taken out of context. “A small number of people heard what they wanted to hear” he said. He went on to say “my point was to say that women are not helpless.” Huckabee said he was affirming women, noting that he included in his comments that it was the belief of some democrats. Huckabee noted that after initially getting the facts of the story incorrect, a couple of national news networks tweeted retractions.
Huckabee, who has not declared his candidacy for president, stopped short of dismissing a CNN poll that shows him with a slight lead over Rand Paul, Chris Christy, and Jeb Bush. He noted, though, that his numbers were just 16 percent and the other three were very close as well.
During his presentation at the banquet, Huckabee spoke very highly of Kansas. He talked about the book “What’s the Matter With Kansas”. He said that in 2008, after he won the Kansas Caucus, he told people “there is nothing wrong with Kansas, rather its the rest of the country.”
Huckabee said that often times one of the toughest challenges that a small business faces is from the government. He said it’s important for businesses like these to have an organization like the chamber of commerce to be their voice.
Huckabee spoke about the value of hard work, and being productive. He was critical of higher taxes, and was complimentary of Kansas Senators Jerry Moran and Pat Roberts for championing lower taxes. Huckabee added that if more legislators in Washington DC had come from a business background, they would have a better appreciation for the value of a dollar.
Huckabee said that there are three things every free country must do. He said that country must feed itself, a country must be energy independent. and that a country must be willing to fight for itself.
Huckabee was critical of too much energy dependance on the Middle East, and too much outsourcing of industry and manufacturing to foreign countries. He said that excessive taxation, excessive litigation, and excessive government regulation lead to job losses and businesses moving out of the country.
Huckabee said that work will make the economy grow, along with people willing to invest, and people willing to save. He said not only is it important to save, but important to save a little something to give it away.
Huckabee ended by saying that though our country may be facing problems, there is no room for pessimism. He said “we must steer for the curve ahead and never think that America’s best days are behind us.”
The chamber has a history of bringing big name speakers for the event. Last year NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw spoke at the event. Previous speakers have included Sarah Palin, Former President George Bush, Former British Prime Minister John Major, Bob Costas, and Cal Ripken Jr., among others.