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Sanders moves father’s portrait into governor’s conference room at state Capitol

Huckabee to replace Donaghey in governor’s conference room by Will Langhorne | January 26, 2023 at 3:09 a.m.
Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders hugs her father, former Gov. Mike Huckabee, during a news conference Wednesday in the Governor’s Conference Room at the state Capitol. Sanders announced that Huckabee’s gubernatorial portrait would be moved to the room. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Staci Vandagriff)

Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced Wednesday she would move the portrait of her father, former governor Mike Huckabee, into the governor's conference room at the Capitol.

"There's no governor anywhere in the country that I have learned more from than my dad," Sanders said during a news conference. "I think he's the best governor our state has ever had, one of the best governors our country has ever had."

Huckabee's portrait will take the place of former governor George Donaghey's portrait, which has hung in the room since 1930. Donaghey served as governor from 1909 to 1913 and is credited with having built the state Capitol.

The portrait of former governor Asa Hutchinson, Sanders' immediate predecessor, will remain hanging above the fireplace on the east wall of the room.

"It's been customary in the past to have your predecessor look upon you and help encourage you," Sanders said. "I'm very excited to have both these governors on the wall as part of our team, in a way, as we do a lot of work here in this room."

Secretary of State John Thurston, who is responsible for the maintenance and preservation of the state Capitol, said Donaghey's portrait would be moved to the right side of the first-floor rotunda.

"This will allow more visitors to the Capitol to see his painting and learn about his legacy," Thurston said at the news conference.

The Secretary of State's office has no record of Donaghey's portrait being moved since it was placed in the conference room in 1930, spokesman Chris Powell said in an emailed statement Wednesday.

Thurston said former governor Mike Beebe's portrait would be moved to the second-floor rotunda.

The Capitol has displayed portraits of all of the state's governors since 1911, according to Thurston. Sanders is Arkansas' 47th governor. Huckabee, who served from 1996 to 2007, was the state's 44th governor.

Huckabee, who joined Sanders and Thurston at the news conference, said it was "a joyous day" for him.

"I want to just say how proud I am, and I know I speak for her mother and for me when I tell you we're grateful to God for her commitment to Arkansas and wanting it to be the best that it can be," he said. "With my mug hanging down there on the other end of the conference room, I will be looking and checking it out."

Sanders said she and Huckabee are the first father and daughter pair in the nation to both serve as governor. Huckabee said he liked to joke that he served as Sanders' "senior advisor."

"I'm a senior adult, I'm babysitting her kids as much as she needs me, and I advise them 'It's time for you guys to go to bed,'" he said. "Therefore senior advisor is the role."

  photo  Brad Staley with the secretary of state’s office lifts former Gov. Mike Huckabee’s gubernatorial portrait into place in the Governor’s Conference Room at the state Capitol on Wednesday. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Staci Vandagriff)

Print Headline: Sanders moves father’s portrait


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