Catching Up with Gov. Asa Hutchinson

By Arkansas Next staff on Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Gov. Asa Hutchinson was elected as the 46th governor of Arkansas in 2014, winning re-election in 2018. He previously served in the Department of Homeland Security and the Drug Enforcement Administration. He represented Arkansas' 3rd District in the House of Representatives from 1997 to 2001 and was appointed by President Reagan as U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas in 1982.

What causes were you passionate about in your youth?

I worked hard in high school from sacking groceries to hauling hay. I also found time to be in school plays and play football. I didn’t get serious until college.

How did you get into politics?

The desire to impact my community led me to run for political office. In high school, I certainly didn’t dream of becoming a U.S. congressman or governor of Arkansas. But I was persuaded to go to college, where I majored in accounting. My senior year, I participated in a debate about government wiretapping, and that inspired me to want to become an attorney. My dream was to become a lawyer who helped people and served the cause of justice. It was much later in life that I dreamed about the possibility of running for governor.

What made you want to run for governor?

I love Arkansas and saw many possibilities for helping my fellow Arkansans.

Why is voting so important?

No one understands the idea that every vote counts better than a candidate for political office. I appreciate every person who took the time to go to the polls and vote. Every person who voted for me put me in a position to help accomplish great things for our state. That’s a big responsibility with a big impact.

What’s your advice for students who are (or want to become) active in a cause they care about?

The important issues require the thinking and passion of private citizens and public servants. Whichever path you choose, it’s important to listen and learn in order to find the common ground that allows you to work with others for the best outcome for everyone. That's the essence of serving others.

Asa Hutchinson (second from right) performs during his senior class play at Springdale High School in 1968.

★ HUTCHINSON’S ROAD TO THE CAPITOL

Hometown: Gravette
High school: Springdale High
Political party: Republican
Campaign slogan: Arkansas Values, Arkansas Common Sense
Alma maters: Bob Jones University in South Carolina and the University of Arkansas School of Law in Fayetteville
Highest degree level achieved: Juris Doctor
If you could pass one law right now, what would it be? Require a two-thirds vote to overturn a governor’s veto.
Who were your major political influences? President Ronald Reagan and former Congressman Ed Bethune


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