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Sanders will kick off inauguration Jan. 7, with swearing in Jan. 10

Jan. 7 ‘Freedom Fest’ to open events by Neal Earley | November 22, 2022 at 4:55 a.m.
FILE — Governor-elect Sarah Huckabee Sanders talks to supporters on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Thomas Metthe)

Gov.-elect Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced Monday details for her inauguration in January.

Ceremonies will kick off Saturday, Jan. 7, with an event dubbed "Freedom Fest," followed by a Bourbon & Cigars with the First Gentleman event later that evening, according to a news release Monday from Sanders' transition committee.

Before Sanders is sworn in as the state's first female governor Jan. 10, she will participate in a morning prayer and worship service. She will then be sworn in at the State Capitol, and a governor's inaugural ball will take place in the evening at the Statehouse Convention Center.

Sanders, a Republican, will succeed Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who was constitutionally barred from seeking a third term. She defeated Democratic candidate Chris Jones and Libertarian candidate Ricky Harrington Jr. in the Nov. 8 general election. Before her run for governor, Sanders was the White House press secretary for former President Donald J. Trump.

Sanders' transition team also announced that Little Rock philanthropists Jacqueline and Michael Retzer will serve as co-chairs for the inauguration. Michael Retzer is chairman and CEO of the Retzer Group, which owns McDonald's restaurants around Arkansas.

"Arkansas made history on election night, and in January our state will make history again when Sarah Huckabee Sanders is sworn in as the 47th governor," the Retzers said in a news release announcing inauguration plans. "She is not only a close friend, but we know without a doubt there is no one more capable of leading our state into the future.

"We are incredibly honored to serve as chairs of her inaugural events as we celebrate Sarah as our new governor."

Jacqueline Retzer serves on the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts board of trustees and previously held board positions with Ronald McDonald House Charities Arkansas and CASA of Pine Bluff.

"I want to thank Jacqueline and Michael Retzer -- two individuals who impact so many lives across our state through their business, philanthropic efforts, community leadership and volunteerism, and share my vision for implementing bold, conservative reforms to unleash our state's full potential -- for agreeing to co-chair this historic event," Sanders said.

Cathy Lanier and Megan Turner have been named inauguration coordinators. Lanier worked as the finance director for Sanders' campaign and is a former staffer for U.S. Rep. French Hill, U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton and Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin.

Lanier also worked as the regional finance director for Sanders' father, former Gov. Mike Huckabee, during his 2016 presidential campaign. Turner previously served as director of accounting and compliance for Sanders' campaign, and served in a similar role for Huckabee's presidential campaign.

Print Headline: Sanders announces inauguration plans


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