Northwest Florida State College and the college’s Mattie Kelly Arts Center present a special event on Oct. 6 at 7 p.m. with former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee as a distinguished guest speaker. “An Evening with Mike Huckabee” takes place in the mainstage theater, and all event proceeds benefit the college’s music programs. The event also includes music by the NWF State College Jazz Ensemble.
Mike Huckabee, host of the weekend hit “Huckabee” on the Fox News Channel, will speak on “Weapons of Mass Instruction” — why music and the arts are a must for our educational system — and also will host an open-topic Q&A session with the audience and play his bass guitar with the college’s Jazz Ensemble. Jeff Carlisi, formerly of the band 38 Special, will also appear and perform with the Jazz Ensemble and Huckabee in the music portion of the evening’s program.
The event is free to youth age 18 and younger and free for NWF State College students with student ID. Adult tickets are $15 each, with an option for a $65 VIP event/reception combo ticket. The VIP reception with Mike Huckabee will be held prior to the event starting at 5:30 p.m. The reception is catered by Dockside Cafe of Niceville and will be held at the Arts Center Galleries, adjacent to the mainstage theater. Tickets are available from the Mattie Kelly Arts Center Box Office by phone, web or in-person at (850) 729-6000 or toll free 1-888-838-ARTS (2787). Box office hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., or visit the box office online.
Huckabee, an avid musician since age 11, is a bass guitar player and has spoken nationwide on the value and significance of an education that includes music and the arts. He is often featured in the musical segment of his Fox TV show. His band, Capitol Offense, has played with Grand Funk Railroad, Willie Nelson and REO Speedwagon, among others.
Huckabee is heard three times daily across the nation on The Huckabee Report syndicated on almost 600 stations. He is a New York Times bestselling author of 11 books, and his 12th is set for release in January 2015. In his campaign for the Republican nomination for president in 2008, he finished second to John McCain. His political action committee, Huck PAC, has amassed a volunteer team with thousands of activists in all 50 states.
Huckabee was the 44th governor of Arkansas from 1996 until 2007, becoming one of the longest-serving governors in his state’s history. He had been lieutenant governor for three years in July 1996 when his predecessor was forced to resign due to felony convictions. He was elected to a full four-year term as governor in 1998, attracting the largest percentage of the vote ever received by a Republican gubernatorial nominee in Arkansas, and was re-elected to another four-year term in November 2002.
Governing magazine named him as one of its “Public Officials of the Year” for 2005, and Time Magazine honored him as one of the five best governors in America. He has been honored by numerous organizations for his commitment to music education. He served as chairman of the National Governors Association, as well as the Education Commission of the States, the Southern Governors Association, and the Interstate Oil and Gas Commission.
His hobbies include hunting, fishing and music. He was named one of the 25 Most Influential People for Conservation by Outdoor Life magazine, and was named Man of the Year by the American Sportfishing Association in 1997. Huckabee and his wife, Janet, live in Florida and still spend part of their time in Arkansas. They have three grown children — John Mark, David and Sarah — and four grandchildren