In Our Hands

Sara+with+her+dad%2C+Mike+Huckabee

Sara with her dad, Mike Huckabee

Mica Chesshir, Staff

Mud-slinging debates, the endless chatter of the media, and the plague of yard signs are all indicative of a nation in the midst of a presidential campaign. For non-voting high school students, the events of the presidential campaign might seem all too insignificant, however, the decisions that are made affect us greatly. We, high school students, can make a difference in a campaign and help in a cause we feel passionate about.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders did just this. Sarah lived in Texarkana from age four to thirteen. She attended Beech Street First Baptist Church where her dad, Governor Mike Huckabee, was pastor. She attended school at Kilpatrick Elementary, Washington Middle, and North Heights Junior High. Sarah first started helping in campaigns when she was just ten years old. She helped campaign for her dad when he ran for U.S. Senate. She helped by passing out brochures, putting up yard signs, and stuffing envelopes. Sarah moved from Texarkana to Little Rock when her dad was elected Lieutenant Governor of Arkansas. In an interview Sarah said, “I loved living there and was very sad when my family moved. I loved the sense of community in Texarkana and the people. Some of the greatest people I have ever known I met growing up in Texarkana. I have traveled and worked all over the country and the time I spent living in Texarkana is still one of my favorites.”

As manager of Mike Huckabee’s presidential campaigns in 2008 and 2016, Sarah managed day-to-day operations of the campaign. She created the strategy and overall message for the campaign and put it into effect. She hired and managed a staff of over 40 people, and oversaw all finance, political communications, media and ballot access efforts for all 50 states and territories. She also managed the campaign’s multi-million dollar budget, organized all preparations for debates, was a primary contact for major donors, and elected officials and members of the press for Governor Huckabee.

In 2016, after Huckabee dropped out of the presidential race, Sarah utilized her talents working for the Trump campaign. She was a Senior Advisor from February to December of 2016. She did hundreds of TV interviews on major broadcast and cable news networks and also did hundreds of radio and print interviews, including Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, and more. She managed outreach to national leaders of major coalitions to coordinate and drive the campaign’s message. Sarah’s favorite parts of working on campaigns are the numerous new experiences, getting the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life, and getting a new perspective into our country and what makes it great. While all of these things are rewarding factors of working in a campaign, Sarah said that her least favorite part of working in a campaign is the negativity.

I asked Sarah if she could give any advice for young people wanting to get involved and possibly work on campaigns: “The best advice I can give you is look for candidates you like and share your values and go volunteer. Be willing to do any job that is asked of you and don’t expect to change the world on the first day. Campaigns are often long days and not as glamorous as they might seem on TV. Your first time volunteering on a campaign may involve taking out the trash, stuffing envelopes, or making hundreds of phone calls and you may never actually spend any real time with the candidate, but it’s the best way to experience a campaign and if you want to work on them long term, it’s good to have done all the grunt work so when you are managing a campaign later in life you know everything about it and you aren’t asking people to do something you haven’t done yourself.”

These words of wisdom seem to have paid off for Sarah Huckabee, who is now principal deputy press secretary and deputy assistant to President Donald Trump.

When questioned on the outlook of of the election, Sarah stated, “Young people have the most to gain from the Trump presidency because there will be more opportunities resulting from his policies than there are today.”  When asked what teens should expect in the first year of the Trump presidency, Sarah predicts that the Affordable Care Act of 2010 (Obama Care) will be repealed, that there will be major tax reform, and that a new Supreme Court Justice will be nominated and confirmed. More important for current high school and college students, is the long-term benefits of a Trump presidency. According to Mrs. Sanders, there is confidence in the improvement of the economy and job availability throughout the country.

Starting in Texarkana, a small city of around 40,000, a woman began her political career as a child aiding her father’s dream, later working towards a goal that would affect our entire nation. Many adolescents today do not believe that their vision for America matters or will make a difference, but despite this popular assumption, our perspectives are influential to America’s future as we grow into adults and form the opinions that will shape the world around us. Whether or not you supported Trump, Hillary, or were indifferent to the cause, with this new year, we should have a positive attitude toward what is to come in our country, for we know that with enough determination, it is in our hands.