Stateline.org this week reported that two Republican governors — Jeb Bush of Florida and Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota — and Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico are giving up their SUVs in favor of more fuel-efficient vehicles. The article also noted that other governors around the nation were enacting new policies to conserve energy.
What about Arkansas? Jim Harris, a spokesman for Gov. Mike Huckabee, said, “The governor has told all of his cabinet members to make sure every trip their employees take is necessary. Every trip will be examined.”
Harris said he didn’t know if the governor had any plans to limit his SUV use. His official, state-paid vehicle is a Chevy Suburban.
According to the county treasurer’s website, Huckabee’s personally assessed vehicles include a 2002 Chevy Trailblazer, a 2001 Chevy Tahoe and a 1995 Chevy Fleetside. The Huckabee for Governor campaign lists a 1997 Winnebago.
No more siding sales
First lady Janet Huckabee has retired from her job at Hanke Brothers Siding and Windows because of the demands of the state’s response to Hurricane Katrina, she has told the Times.
Mrs. Huckabee, who completed her B.S. degree in organizational management from John Brown University last year, took a job with Hanke Brothers in January.
Since Hurricane Katrina, the first lady has devoted her energies to visiting the state’s evacuee camps and worked to help get families reconnected and settled, most recently greeting new arrivals from Texas at the Fort Smith Airport. The governor’s possible presidential run would keep her pretty busy, also.
Face in the crowd
He came and went with less hoopla than normal, but Bill Clinton was in town last weekend for several personal obligations, including a wedding. He was on hand at Second Presbyterian Church when Sarah Lindsey, daughter of long-time Clinton aide Bruce Lindsey, married Marc Harrison.
Last Saturday’s Wall Street Journal reported on use of data bases — one on private aircraft traffic and another on golf handicap ratings — to track corporate use of company jets for golf outings. The tax laws make these flights a real bargain for executives, who get charged a few hundred dollars for planes that cost $3,000 to $7,000 an hour to operate. Alltel drew attention in the Journal report. The article said:
“Alltel’s four jets have landed more than 165 times over the last four years at an airport in Augusta, Ga., according to a database containing flight information filed with the Federal Aviation Administration. The airport is near the Augusta National Golf Club, which hosts the annual Masters Tournament. Joe Ford, Alltel’s chairman, and his son Scott Ford, the company’s chief executive, are members of the golf club.
“Andrew Moreau, a spokesman for Alltel, a big telephone company based in Little Rock, Ark., declines to comment on the Augusta trips. He says company planes are sometimes used to travel to destinations for ‘customer entertainment.’ The ‘policy does permit certain usage for personal purposes,’ he says, and executives pay taxes on the value of those flights. Alltel also owns a local cellular company in the Augusta area.”