Asa Hutchinson will be sworn in an as governor of Arkansas today.
Along with the arrival of Republicans in all other statewide offices and the seating of a heavily Republican legislature, it completes a move to Republican dominance that began two years ago.
The results are mostly cut and dried: Major changes in agency leadership. A big tax cut. Lots of social issue legislation. Hutchinson today won’t show his hand on plans for the one area of potential contention in the Republican delegation — what to do about Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, realized in Arkansas as the “private option.” The Hutchinson administration needs the billions it pours into Arkansas. But the big porker of a health legislation package needs some lipstick to make it kissable by conservative Republicans, at least some of whom still say they oppose it under any disguise.
Details of the day:
8:30 a.m. — church service, Immanuel Baptist Church
10:30 a.m. — oath of office, House chamber
noon — inaugural address, steps of Capitol
1-2:30 — reception, Capitol rotunda
6:30-10 — inaugural ball, Statehouse Convention Center.
Hutchinson released some quotes from today’s speech, should you be unable to tune in the many stations planning coverage:
“We live in a time of consistent change. Political change. Demographic change. New technologies. … Let’s embrace the energy of change and all the opportunity it brings without forsaking our foundation.”
“Governing is not about which political party is in the majority. Governing is about setting aside differences and searching for common ground. And as we search for common ground, we realize that our differences are smaller than we thought and our hearts are larger than we imagined.”
“My top priority is to grow the economy of this state, to create jobs, and for Arkansas to enter a time of sustained economic power and influence. … We can compete and win in this global marketplace by lowering our tax rates, starting with the middle class; by improving job skill training in our high schools and two-year colleges; by offering computer science in every high school; and by reducing the burden of unreasonable regulations on our businesses.”
“As governor, I want people to work; and when they work, they should be better off; and when they work hard enough, they should move up the economic ladder. These are common-sense values that give Arkansans hope for a better life.”
Irony alert: A friend says a call for volunteers to help decorate for the inaugural ball drew a helpful response from a local shelter for battered women. She thinks the good-hearted volunteers should be informed that the Arkansas Republican delegation voted unanimously against the Violence Against Women Act. It was not the first time that Arkansas voters demonstrated by ballot or financial or other contributions a willingness to support politicians of a party that has acted contrary to their interests. Nor will it be the last.