Mike Huckabee, born August 24, 1955, served as the 44th governor of Arkansas from 1996 to 2007.
He officially announced his candidacy for the 2008 United States presidential election on January 28, 2007.
When he left office on January 9, 2007, he set out on a nationwide tour to promote his fifth book, "From Hope to Higher Ground: 12 STOPS to Restoring America's Greatness."
Governing Magazine named him as one of its ‘Public Officials of the Year' for 2005, Time Magazine honored him as one of the five best governors in America, and later in the same year, Huckabee received the American Association of Retired Person's Impact Award. In 2007, he was presented with the Music for Life Award by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) for his commitment to music education.
Huckabee is past chairman of the National Governors' Association (NGA) and chairman of the Education Commission of the States. During his tenure as governor, he served in other leadership positions including president of the Council of State Governments, state co-chairman of the Delta Regional Authority, and chairman of the Southern Governors Association, the Southern Regional Education Board, the Southern Growth Policies Board, the Southern Technology Council, the Southern International Trade Council and the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission.
As former chairman of the Interstate Oil & Gas Compact Commission, Huckabee worked with the 37-state coalition to develop energy policy and lobby Congress on energy matters, such as the regulation of oil and gas production.
He also created an automobile license renewal system and directed the creation of other technological advancements in Arkansas.
He was one of the youngest governors in the country at the time. Huckabee was elected to a full four-year term as governor in 1998, attracting the largest percentage of the vote ever received by a Republican gubernatorial nominee in Arkansas, and was re-elected to another four-year term in November 2002.
Huckabee first was elected lieutenant governor in a 1993 special election and then elected to a full four-year term in 1994. He was the fourth Republican to be elected to statewide office since Reconstruction.
Huckabee is also a pastor and denominational leader. He became the youngest president ever of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, the largest denomination in Arkansas.
One of his proudest achievements as governor was signing legislation creating ARKids First. The program provides health insurance coverage for more than 70,000 Arkansas children.
A fiscal conservative, he also pushed for the a $90 million tax relief package for Arkansas families and led efforts to establish a Property Taxpayers' Bill of Rights. He also created a welfare reform program that reduced the welfare rolls in the state by almost 50 percent. He also doubled the standard deduction to $2,000 for single taxpayers and $4,000 for those who are married.
In total, Huckabee cut taxes and fees over 90 times during his 10 and a half years as governor, saving the people of Arkansas almost $380 million, his Web site claims.
At 51-years-old, Huckabee is also known for having lost about a 110 pounds. He also published a 12-stop program to managing one's health through lifestyle changes: "Quit Digging Your Grave With A Knife and Fork."
An avid rock fan, Huckabee enjoys playing bass guitar in his rock-n-roll band, Capitol Offense, which has opened for artists such as Willie Nelson and the Charlie Daniels Band.
The former governor and his wife, Janet, live in north Little Rock and have three grown children: John Mark, David and Sarah.
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