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GOP gubernatorial candidate Sarah Huckabee Sanders stumps in Prescott’s Ko-fields

Republican gubernatorial candidate Sarah Huckabee Sanders speaks with a reporter after speaking at Ko-Fields in Prescott Tuesday morning.

By 11:40 a.m., when Republican candidate for Arkansas governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders was arriving at Ko-Fields, an eatery on Highway 24 in Prescott, about 75 people were inside to applaud.

Sanders took a hand microphone from the local State Representative Justin Gonzales who did a brief introduction, then began to speak to those who sat at tables and those who stood along the back of the room.

“Thank you, Justin. It is great to see you. You all have got a great representative in him. I’ve had the chance to get to know him. So thankful for the work he does in always standing up for conservative values and being willing to do the hard work.” Here she lifted up one foot, then another to get clear of the microphone cord.  “So we appreciate what you do and we’re glad that you’re here today.

“Thank y’all so much,” she said, advancing a step. “It’s fun to be here, and I can’t wait to call my parents and tell them how many Republicans there are in this part of Arkansas that have showed up.”  Applause here.

She mentioned that her parents are from Hope and that her family had “spent a lot of time” in the Southwest Arkansas area as Sanders was growing up.

“Back in the days when my dad was campaigning around Arkansas you could pretty much fit every Republican in this county at this front table. So it is amazing to see so many people come out,” she said.

“Having worked for two and a half years inside the White House, a lot of the rooms I went into to take the microphone, no one cheered and they certainly weren’t excited to see me. I’ve been loving campaigning a whole lot more because of the excitement and enthusiasm that we’ve seen all over the state,” she said.

“One of the more difficult things about politics is some of the uncomfortable and challenging places that you find yourself in. The very first time that President Trump was going to sit down with the North Korean leader Kim Jung Un. He was getting ready to go into what was going to be one of the most challenging, difficult meetings of his entire presidency. We spent months preparing for that one day.

“Tensions are running high, and everyone is anxious and nervous as we’re walking in. I kind of look around the room and there are seven representatives for the United States and seven representatives on the North Korean side. I’m looking at the group assembled, and we have the US secretary of state who happened to be first in his class at West Point. We had our national security advisor, our chief of staff who was a four-star marine general. We had a couple of experts on Asian and Korean affairs. We had the president. And me.

“And I was kind of looking at the group. You look on the other side and you have some of the senior team of the most brutal dictatorship that ever existed. And you’re going, ‘Who is the one person who maybe stands out a little bit from all the people in this group?’ And it was very obvious it was me.  So I turn to Mike Pompeo, who was secretary of state and, you know, I’m going to lighten the mood. I’m going to loosen things up and try to break some of the tension of the meeting.

“So I turn to him and say, ‘Hey, Mike. Am I the only person here who hasn’t killed someone or ordered somebody to be killed?’ I expected him to laugh right along with me. He looks at me, and he looks at the room and says, ‘Yeah, Sarah. I think you’re the only one.’” The audience laughed here.  

“I told him, I said, ‘I saw that going differently.’ I thought that was going to be the thing that helped make us more at ease rather than more difficult.

“The thing I found in politics was that there probably was nothing more difficult—except possibly being a parent. You go around the state and see people cheering or excited to see you and you might think, for a hot minute, ‘You know what? I’m not so bad.’

“But then you come home and your kids will quickly remind you you’re not that cool at all.

“My husband Bryan is here today and we have three amazing, beautiful, wild, crazy kids who are now nine, eight and six, one girl, two boys. Most days we’re just trying to keep the walls up, like everybody else, especially with two boys. And every day our kids are such perfect reminders. Not only are they great preparation because they toughen you up and keep you humble.

“On one particular occasion when she was six, our daughter was getting ready for her first father-daughter dance. It was a really big deal at our house. She was incredibly excited. We spent the whole day getting her ready. Perfect nails. The perfect dress. And she’d clearly seen one too many princess movies. She had this vision in her head of what that was going to look like. And it was my job to execute it perfectly. There were strict instructions on what I needed to do. We’re getting ready, putting on the final touches and she’s getting ready to walk down the stairs to see her Prince Charming, my husband.

“I’m telling her how proud we are of her and how smart she is and what a wonderful spirit she is and how beautiful she is on the inside and the outside. As I’m telling her this, as a mom it’s a pretty special moment and I get choked up and she looks up and she says, ‘It’s okay, mommy. One day you can be pretty, too.” Laughter here.

“See, kids, no matter how excited and how big of a deal you think you are, they keep you humble. They prepare you for going into the harsh realities of political life, the perfect reminders of what’s really important.

“Every single day, every decision I make as governor is going to have a direct impact on how they’re going to live their life. And that’s not something I take lightly. It’s a responsibility I’m ready to take on. Because I want to make sure whoever the next governor is—and I hope and think it will be me—is ready to lead.

“We need somebody who understands the challenges that we’re up against. One of the reasons I’m running for governor is to make sure we’re actually empowering parents not bureaucrats as to how we educate our kids.” Applause.  “And I want to make sure our kids are actually getting educated, not indoctrinated with the lie that America is actually a racist and evil country, because we are anything but that.” More applause.

“And I want to make sure we’re actually preparing kids to go into the workforce, not into a life of government dependency. That isn’t who we are as Arkansans or who we are as Americans. We must do better by our kids. Every kid growing up in Arkansas should have access to a quality education. And we need to make sure parents have the right to get them the quality of education that they deserve. And we’re going to do that when I’m governor.

“One of the reasons I’m running for governor is we want to make sure that the bad policies we see coming out of Washington never see the light of day here in Arkansas. We need somebody tough enough to fight back against the radical left and the craziness coming out of Washington, D.C. right now.

“Not only am I prepared to fight back against it. I’ve been doing it and winning for the last four years. I know how to beat it. And we have to have someone who knows what it looks like in order to win it.  I’m only afraid of what happens if we don’t have the right leader taking us through it. I can assure you I’m fully prepared for that fight. And I will not let Arkansas down.

“I’m sick of watching Biden and his administration destroy every single thing that they touch. Inflation is out of control. Gas prices are soaring.

“I will work hard to make sure every day that we look for ways to phase out the state income tax here in Arkansas, so we’re actually giving people a pay raise rather than a pay cut that they’re getting at the hands of the Biden administration.” Applause again here.

“And I’m tired of watching Arkansas compete at the bottom. I’m tired of Arkansas being 46th and 47th and 48th when I know that we have the potential and the capacity to be first and second,” she said. “We have to have somebody who has true leadership to push our state to the top, so that we quit fighting at the very bottom and we start competing, not just with the states around us, but that we start competing in a global economy.

“But I need your help to get there,” she said, mentioning the support she has received from others. “I will never forget what is important. Because I have three little reminders whose faces I have to look at every single day, Scarlett, Huck and George, that will hold me accountable and make sure I never forget who and what is on the line.

“I need your help to get there,” she said in closing. “If you help get me across the finish line, I will get Arkansas to the very top. Thank you for coming today. I look forward to visiting with each of you. God bless our great state. Thank y’all so much.” Five seconds of applause.

After this ten-minute speech, Sanders began to meet with people sitting at tables, occasionally taking pictures with them.

The Prescott stop is part of what the Sanders campaign is billing as its Freedom Tour. Before Prescott, she appeared in Malvern. The big red bus with her name would be rolling to Ashdown later that day, with stops in Murfreesboro, Nashville and Mena Wednesday.

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