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Former governor Mike Huckabee visits Hunt County

By Adam Troxtell
On March 3, 2011


Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who is considering an attempt to run as the Republican presidential candidate in the 2012 election, made an appearance at the Hastings in Greenville today as a stop on his national book signing tour.

Hundreds of Huckabee's supporters formed a line stretching out the door to have copies of the former presidential candidate's latest book, "A Simple Government", signed by the man himself.

Greenville is not the only town of its type on the tour, and Huckabee said the reason for stopping in smaller communities has to do with the people that come to see him.

"One of the things we've come to realize is communities like Greenville, we have huge turn outs," he said. "I love it because I feel like I'm getting in touch with salt of the earth folks, the kind of people I grew up with in a little town called Hope, Arkansas. You've got to understand, Greenville is a big city compared to where I grew up."

Store manager for the Hastings in Greenville Kathrine Jacobsen said this was a very big event for the outlet.

"It's absolutely huge," she said. "It's a major deal to us for him to visit a small retailer such as Hastings compared to a Barnes & Noble. It's major."

The 196th District Court Judge Steve Tittle was in attendance and said it was a big deal to have a nationally famous politician in Greenville.

"Anytime we have such a notable conservative leader, it's very important for all of Greenville and Hunt County to come out and see the governor and read his book and see what he has to talk about," he said.

Residents of Greenville and the surrounding community began arriving in the early afternoon hours on Thursday to take their places in line. Julia Wensel came to Hastings as early as 1:30 p.m., and said she was impressed Huckabee was stopping through a town like Greenville.

"Not many would, I really appreciate it," Wensel said. "Every vote counts no matter where you go."

A&M-Commerce students were also in attendance. Junior Phillip Manning said he has supported Huckabee since he entered the public eye when running for the republican candidacy in the 2008 presidential elections.

"I voted for him three years ago in the Republican Primary, and I was wanting him to beat out [John] McCain," Manning said. "I'm still supporting him; I want to see him run again. Plus, it's Greenville, Hunt County; no one famous comes through here. It's smart politically, because this is where the backbone of his support is going to be if he does decide to run."

Students like Manning might feel the effects of budget cuts to education in the future as the Republican-majority Texas government looks to recover from a recession that has left other states in the same position. As a republican, Huckabee said he did not want to see money taken away from students.

"You certainly want to make sure we don't ever hurt educational opportunities, because that's the future of the work force and of everything," he said. "I think it's a matter of not taking it from the students, but trying to make sure the money is spent efficiently and effectively. I do feel that one thing that has happened is people in government have spent so much money foolishly that now there's almost no way to keep from having some cuts, some of which may be in areas we wish they didn't."

Huckabee has not officially announced if he will take part in the race for the republican presidential candidate, but he is thinking about it and could produce an answer within a few months.

"It's a decision I will make sometime this summer. I'm taking it very slowly and methodically," he said. "I've got to really make sure that I feel confident that I could take it all the way to the finish line. My main goal is I want to make sure people believe that I would be the best person to get this country turned around."

Information gathered by Justin Cheatham

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