I found out Wednesday evening (November 7th) that 10 minutes had been found in Governor Huckabee’s incredibly packed visit to Michigan on Thursday, November 8th. I would have to be in Owosso and ready to meet him at 4:25pm.
No problem. Owosso is an easy hour drive from here. No babysitter though, so the little one (she’s 5) would have to go with me.
We left plenty early and arrived around 3:30pm. I was expecting a quiet hotel lobby and was surprised to see that the fundraiser for Gov. Huckabee was being held in the lobby of the Comstock Inn. That meant that Hannah and I would stand and wait. While waiting, I met Chad and Luke … both working with the campaign. They knew who I was and why I was there. They explained to me that when the Governor arrived, he would immediately have a media availability right there in the lobby with several local television stations and newspapers. After that they told me they would take me upstairs where I could chat with the Governor in a quieter atmosphere (I was relieved to hear that).
While we were standing there, many people were coming and going, but at one point the doors to the hotel opened and though I didn’t see Mike Huckabee right away, I could sense that he had arrived. The entire atmosphere of that lobby changed in that split second. Hannah certainly sensed it as she grabbed tight onto my leg and comforted herself by saying “it’s ok, it’s just people”.
The Governor immediately moved into position with one television crew and began one interview. Finally there was also a small break in the crowd and Hannah said “there he is! there’s president Huckabee!”. It’s a little hard to explain to her that he’s not the President yet, but is running for President. I do happen to agree with her sentiment though.
I have no idea how many interviews he did in that 20 minutes in the lobby. There were so many people it was hard to tell when he had moved from one news crew to another. But he did it pleasantly and comfortably with absolutely no visible signs of stress.
Quickly, we were escorted to an elevator, to a room on the second floor, and told to wait while the Governor finished up. In a few minutes, he entered the room with staff members Chad and Drake, along with some onlookers who stood in the doorway. I immediately felt my heart stop and couldn’t think of my own name. He greeted me by name and with the most sincere handshake I’ve experienced in a long time.
He asked about my husband, Allan who he has met twice already. Then I introduced him to my daughter Hannah who had been working on spelling a word on her doodle. He got down on her level, talked gently with her, asked her what word she was working on and then proceeded to help her figure out the next letter she needed. The room was too small and I was too close to capture the moment on my camera, but it is an image that I will cherish clearly in my heart, always.
Drake took my camera and took a picture of me with the Governor. Then we sat down and started chatting.
The first thing I noticed as we started talking was that he looked me straight in the eyes … no looking around, no looking down. He had done the same thing while talking with Hannah. I have met some other politicians in my life … none at this level, but none have ever looked directly at my eyes. Actually, I find it a rather rare quality in much of society as people are less direct and forthright.
After my initial “heart-stopping” moment, I realized that I was completely comfortable talking with this man who truly could be the next President of the United States.
He was warm and genuine. He spoke with deep emotion about his appreciation of my work for him here on the OneMom blog, and of all his bloggers and supporters. It was quite clear to me that he had actually read my blog over these past months … that is amazing to me.
About this time, Hannah came over and declared she wanted the spot in the middle of the couch and that she wanted to sit by “the Huckabee”. She climbed over him and took her place. He gave her a boost and spoke quietly to her for a moment.
He asked me why I had chosen to support him and to go the extra step to become a blogger for his campaign. I talked with him about my concerns that our nation is in a precarious position in which we will either rise up from, strong and secure, or we will falter greatly. I explained to him that I support him, because I have to … I have to because of Hannah, and for all future generations. He did not miss one word I spoke to him. He knows the urgency I speak of as a parent … it is why he is running for President. While some run out of lust for power, Mike Huckabee is running because he loves this country, he loves the people of the United States and wants to work for us and with us to make this country strong and great and respected again around the globe.
This was not an opportunity to try and glean any inside campaign information or to ask really tough questions. I did ask him how he is doing. He said he is sleep deprived (I couldn’t tell by looking at him, but with his schedule I can imagine!), but that he is doing fine … physically and with his walk with the Lord.
We talked a bit about education, and how some conservatives continue to nail him because he actually went to talk to the NEA (National Education Association … of which between 30 and 40% are republicans), and that his vision to restore art, music and physical education back into the schools in all grades causes people to label him a liberal politician who wants to pour huge amounts of money into education and take away parents rights. Public education is the only option many families have (especially in this tough economy), I continue to be amazed at conservatives who blast Mike Huckabee for promoting education.
We also talked about homeschooling (which I am a homeschooling mom). He is the only Governor to ever appoint a homeschooling parent to the State Board of Education. He firmly believes that the administration of schools needs to be at the state level and at the district level. He also firmly believes that as President it would be vital to work with the states to assure that parents had the freedom to make the education decisions for their children – if that’s Public Schools, then let’s make sure they are the best they can be, but that the government at any level must never forget that the children are the parents’, they do not belong to the government. Parents rights to choose public, private, parochial, charter, and homeschool must not be taken away.
Somewhere in this part of the conversation, his staff was “closing in” – it was obvious to me that his schedule was very tight and they needed him to move to the next thing on the list. Being a man of incredible graciousness, he did not abruptly end our conversation, but finished our discussion on education.
He again thanked me (he also signed my copy of his book “From Hope to Higher Ground” …. what really amazed me was that without having to ask or to check, he wrote my name and spelled it correctly! People I have known for years have not bothered to learn how to spell my name, and yet this incredibly busy man, surrounded by people practically every minute of every day, knew how to spell “Kerry”!). He again got down on Hannah’s level and talked with her for a moment. At that point a pastor and his wife were ushered in for a brief “hello” – I was trying to leave, but Governor Huckabee stopped me and said “oh Pastor (and I do not remember his name), let me introduce you to Kerry, she is one of my wonderful bloggers, and you must meet her”.
Mike Huckabee … a man of conviction … a man of grace … a man of vision … a man of hope for the United States of America. We must elect this man our next President. For Hannah.
Respectfully submitted …