On my first day as governor in July of 1996, I ordered that a framed photo be placed in the outer office of the governor's office with an inscription that read: "Our Boss."
For 10 ½ years, that framed photo remained as the first thing a visitor to my office would see. But my photo was never in the frame. In that frame, we placed the photo of ordinary citizens of Arkansas and changed them every couple of weeks.
Sometimes it would be a freshly minted Eagle Scout, or a couple observing their 50th wedding anniversary, or just a photo of a citizen of our state.
I reminded the staff regularly that "the boss" was not the guy in the corner office, but every one of the 2.7 million people of our state who paid our salaries and to whom we were obligated.
I believed that we should never forget who the boss is.
Senator Harry Reid's comments about the smelly tourists reminded us all of just how out of touch some our elected officials really are. While I'm sure he meant it as a joke, it displayed an air of contempt toward the very people who furnish him with a nice salary, great health benefits, transportation wherever he goes and treatment befitting royalty.
I tell you what I think really stinks — and it's not the decent people who save for months to take their families to our nation's Capitol to see the seat of our government; a Capitol that they own and pay for. What stinks is that the Congress is debating bailouts for the businesses that have reached failure, but haven't discussed fully funding services for those who deserve them most of all: our nation's veterans.
Before Congress takes up another bailout for car companies, banks and insurance companies, how about making sure that we keep the promises we made to our men and women in uniform? Our veterans ought not to have to wait in long lines or drive hours to a health care facility or be told to take a number and come back in three weeks when needing attention to their wounds of battle, be they physical or emotional. They kept their promises to us and we need to keep ours to them.
In my book, I outline a proposal called the Veterans Bill of Rights that I wish Congress would consider. And since my freedom — including the freedom of saying this — was bought by the blood of veterans, I believe that their needs ought to come first before anyone — and I mean anyone — lines up at the trough of the government's treasure.
That's my view, I would love to hear yours. E-mail your comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee was a 2016 Republican candidate for president of the United States.