Sanders moves his father’s portrait to the Governor’s Conference Room at the State Capitol


Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced Wednesday that she will be moving a portrait of her father, former Gov. Mike Huckabee, to the Governor’s Conference Room at the Capitol.

“There is not a single governor in the country from whom I have learned more than from my father,” Sanders said at a press conference. “I think he is 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 a portrait of former governor George Donaghy that has hung in the room since 1930. Donaghy was governor from 1909 to 1913 and is credited with building the state capitol.

A portrait of former Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Sanders’ immediate predecessor, will remain hanging over the fireplace on the room’s east wall.

“In the past, it was customary for your predecessor to look at you and cheer you on,” Sanders said. “I’m very happy to have both of 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 in charge of maintaining and preserving the State Capitol, said Donaghy’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 paintings and learn about his legacy,” Thurston said at a press conference.

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

Thurston said the portrait of former Gov. Mike Beebe would be moved to the rotunda on the second floor.

According to Thurston, portraits of every state governor since 1911 have been on display at the Capitol. Sanders is the 47th Governor of Arkansas. Huckabee, who served from 1996 to 2007, was the 44th governor of the state.

Huckabee, who joined Sanders and Thurston at the press conference, said it was a “happy day” for him.

“I just want to say how proud I am and I know I speak for her mother and for myself when I tell you that we are grateful to God for her commitment to Arkansas and wanting everything to be the best it can be,” he said. “With my mug hanging out there on the other side of the conference room, I’ll be looking and checking it out.”

Sanders said she and Huckabee are the first father-daughter couple in the country to both serve as governors. Huckabee said he likes to joke that he was an “adviser” to Sanders.”

“I am an adult, I look after her children for as long as she needs me, and I advise them:“ Guys, you should go to bed, ”he said. “Therefore the role of the senior adviser.”

Brad Staley and the Secretary of State lift a portrait of former Gov. Mike Huckabee to its seat in the Governor’s Conference Room at the State Capitol on Wednesday. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Stacy Wandagriff)

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