Asa Hutchinson 72 has declared that he is considering running for the Republican nomination as president. This spotlight will be on his record and his assessment that Trump, the former president, would be a disaster for the party as its standard-bearer in 2024.
In Congress and in the Arkansas governor’s mansion, Hutchinson tended to be a reliable fiscal and social conservative — with one Walmart-shaped asterisk.
Hutchinson was skeptical about spending, taxing and new programs domestically. He was awarded a lifetime score of 13% by the League of Conservation Voters during his tenure in Congress in the late 1990s or early 2000s. These years were more highly ranked by the American Conservative Union, with 83%.
Mike Huckabee (another Arkansas Republican governor) had fought with the libertarian Cato Institute for its less-than-glowing assessment of his tenure in an annual report card on gubernatorial performance. Hutchinson instead accepted his B grade for 2022, the last year of his two four-year term.
“According to [the Cato Institute], Arkansas is one of the top 10 states for limited-government fiscal policy,” He wrote it on Twitter. “Over the past eight years, I’ve worked with the General Assembly to cut taxes to record lows, reduce the size of state government, and ensure we have reserves if needed.”
All of this had led to “job growth and more people moving to Arkansas.” They also beat up their neighbors. “We received a higher ranking than every state on our border, as well as Alabama, Georgia, and Florida,” He said.
Hutchinson was also a major supporter of the War on Drugs, and served as an administrator for the Drug Enforcement Administration. He renewed the death penalty in Arkansas after Arkansas had stopped executions. He signed legislation which would ban abortion in his state almost across the board. Roe v. Wade were to be overturned by The Supreme Court in 2022’s decision Dobbs V. Jackson Women’s Health Organization
However, when he saw the religious freedom bill that could have adversely affected the ability of gay Arkansans in discrimination lawsuits, it was not something he wanted to do. “Arkansas Gov. Yields to Walmart, Celebs and His Own Son: Does Not Sign ‘Gay Discrimination’ Bill,” Please read the following: People 2015 headline
The Southern governor was in decline “to sign a controversial religious-freedom bill similar to the one that has bedeviled Indiana Governor Mike Pence since he signed his into law last week,” reported People. “Instead, Hutchinson, citing his own son Seth’s opposition to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, asked the Arkansas legislature to recall or rewrite the measure so that it mirrors federal law.”
Hutchison spelled it out flatly: “It is not likely that the son was the decisive factor in this matter.” “This is a bill that in ordinary times would not be controversial. But these are not ordinary times.”
These were the two main points that made it controversial: 1. Pence’s media shaming over signing a piece in his state legislation that he didn’t believe would lead to anyone being up in arms was 2. Walmart’s publicly expressed opposition to the bill as well as its request for a Veto.
“Passage of HB1228 threatens to undermine the spirit of inclusion present throughout the state of Arkansas and does not reflect the values we proudly uphold,” Doug McMillon, Walmart CEO said in a statement. “For these reasons, we are asking Governor Hutchinson to veto this legislation.”
Hutchison did not veto the bill, but sent it back to Arkansas for revisions and narrowing. Hutchison signed a measure which made little difference to gay residents of the state.
Hutchinson had two bills related to transgender issues on his desk in 2021. He signed the first, which prohibited transgender athletes from participating in sex-segregated sporting activities other than their natural gender. He vetoed the other, which would have prohibited gender-affirming therapy and surgeries for trans youths within the state.
Hutchinson’s veto was later overturned by Congress. It also reflected Walmart heir Tom Walton’s objections to the bill. “We are alarmed by the string of policy targeting LGBTQ people in Arkansas,” Walton wrote the letter on behalf of Walton Family Foundation, which is basically Walmart’s charitable arm. “This trend is harmful and sends the wrong message to those willing to invest in or visit our state. We support Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s recent veto of discriminatory policy and implore government, business and community leaders to consider the impact of existing and future policy that limits basic freedoms and does not promote inclusiveness in our communities and economy.”
Hutchinson has often praised Walmart. He wrote the following: “Walmart’s quick reaction to the new law is exactly the response we expected under the tax cut. I’m proud that Arkansas’s largest corporate citizen is leading the way in putting more money in the pockets of its hard-working employees.”
This is not surprising. Walmart is Arkansas’ largest employer. Walmart claims that it employs 53,945 people in Arkansas. “associates in Arkansas” The state has 3.02 million residents. The company also has a huge impact on many other parts of the country. It and former President Bill Clinton are two of the most prominent exports in the state.
Similar to the way Washington state senators are tagged as “the senator from Boeing” Arkansas has been known as the “Pols of Arkansas” because of its large aerospace footprint. “the [fill in title] from Walmart” Many occasions.
If Hutchinson is tempted to enter the presidential race, we will hear more about his Bentonville connections during the primary debates.
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