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From L-R: Gar Eisele, I49 Coalition member,GOP District 20 State Representative Candidate John Maddox, Governor Asa Hutchinson, Polk County Judge Brandon Ellison.

Governor Hutchinson Featured Speaker at Ouachita Center for GOP’s Annual Reagan Rockefeller Dinner



governor-webArkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson served as the keynote speaker at the Reagan-Rockefeller Dinner on Saturday, April 9th, presented by the Polk County Republican Committee. County Judge Brandon Ellison served as the Master of Ceremonies and Cub Scout Pack 68 performed the Presentation of Colors. Debbie Hamm Turner sang an outstanding rendition of the National Anthem. After dinner, catered by Stache’s Cookery, and the governor’s speech, Rick Gerard brought the room to their feet as everyone joined in singing Lee Greenwood’s ‘Proud to be an American,’ closing the evening’s event.

Governor Hutchinson, and his wife Susan, spent the weekend in the county, lodging at the Queen Wilhelmina Lodge and enjoying the views and trails the state park has to offer, while celebrating Susan’s birthday. “We had a great time there. We watched the sunset there last night and had a wonderful dinner there. What an incredible asset for the state of Arkansas.” The governor told a humorous story about meeting some tourists from Texas while on the Lover’s Leap trail and laughed when he said he shocked the couple as he shook their hands, introduced himself as governor, and said ‘Welcome to Arkansas!’

The governor highlighted a few of his accomplishments since just taking office in January, including his commitment to economic development.  Hutchinson followed through on a campaign promise to call three CEO’s on his first day of office in an effort to recruit them to Arkansas. Two of those have made such commitments.  He also pledged his continued support to see the completion of I-49, noting the vital importance it is to the economic growth of Mena and Polk County.

governor-at-podium-webDuring his speech, Gov. Hutchinson spoke highly of the area and its citizens, and how the community always comes together to help one another, especially during times of crisis. In fact, the event was held on the seventh anniversary of the April 9, 2009 tornado and in an exclusive interview with The Pulse, the governor said, “It brought back a lot of memories. It illustrates how people come together in a community and respond to it, learn from it, and get closer through it. It was a very difficult time and Mena came through it well.”

The governor also endorsed local attorney, John Maddox, in his bid for the District 20 seat of the Arkansas House of Representatives on the Republican ticket. “I’m excited about your future service. I want to make it very clear that I support John Maddox. If I can survive the next legislative session, I’ll come down and help campaign for you,” laughed Hutchinson. Maddox also serves as the Polk County Republican Committee Chairman.

Polk County Judge Brandon Ellison presented the governor with a framed photograph of Bard Springs shot by the late and beloved T.C. Masters as well as his own Polk County made turkey call.

Again the governor expressed his love for the area. “It’s the mountains here. I’m a hill country guy and I love it here. The people are great. It’s a great environment with great people, and being in the Ouachitas… it’s great here… and Mena is right in the center of it,” he said.


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