Janet Huckabee campaigning for husband in Louisiana _lowres

Advocate staff photo by ELIZABETH CRISP -- Janet Huckabee, the former first lady of Arkansas and wife of Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, spoke Tuesday to the City of Central Chamber of Commerce. She’s on a statewide tour of Louisiana on behalf of her husband’s campaign. She also visited Denham Springs and Lafayette on Tuesday. She is scheduled to appear Wednesday at Louisiana College in Pineville Natchitoches and Bossier City.

Janet Huckabee told a mostly female crowd gathered in Central on Tuesday that her husband, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, is the Republican presidential candidate who can steer America in the “right” direction.

“If you do your research, you can see he is one to be trusted,” she said during the Chamber of Commerce luncheon. “I don’t want my grandchildren to grow up and say, ‘What did you do when we were in such pitiful shape?’ ... We want to give them a better America than we had.”

Janet Huckabee, who was born in Lake Charles, is traveling Louisiana this week in support of her husband’s campaign.

She’s also making stops in Lafayette, Pineville, Natchitoches and Bossier City.

Mike Huckabee, who served as Arkansas governor from 1996 through 2007, is one of 17 Republicans seeking the GOP nomination for president. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal also is running.

But at Mike Anderson’s in Central, it was all about Huckabee as campaign signs dotted the banquet room and organizers handed out purple and gold “I like Mike” stickers.

Central Mayor Jr. Shelton presented Janet Huckabee with a golden “key to the city” during the luncheon, which was attended by about 50 people, including Congressman Garret Graves’ wife, Carissa.

Betsy Barnes, a local radio host who is active in the Central Chamber, said the group was excited to host Huckabee.

“It is an opportunity that we were not gonna pass up,” she said. “We do have a very powerful voice in voting here in Louisiana.”

Louisiana’s presidential primary will take place March 5, and the state is starting to see some campaign action.

Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign announced last week that she’ll be in Baton Rouge on Sept. 21.

Bernie Sanders, who also is seeking the Democratic nomination, had appearances in Baton Rouge and New Orleans earlier this month.

Janet Huckabee’s largely informal speech in Central was peppered with jokes and anecdotes about her husband’s decision to try again for the GOP nomination.

“For this country, we have to believe the best is yet to come,” she said. “It can start here in Louisiana.”

Mike Huckabee, who ended his Fox News talk show in January to launch his presidential run, also ran in 2008, winning the Iowa Republican caucuses and finishing second overall in the delegate count.

Janet Huckabee touched on several issues, including immigration, the federal Affordable Care Act and taxes. She said her husband’s view is that the country needs to secure the border, repeal “Obamacare” and abolish the Internal Revenue Service and adopt a “fair tax” model.

“You can turn a bass boat around pretty quickly in the water, (but) America’s like turning an aircraft around,” she said. “It’s gonna take some time.”

She also expressed frustration over the Obama administration’s decision to light the White House in rainbow colors after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage this summer.

“You don’t just turn that on in one day,” she said. “It’s very difficult to do — that was pre-planned.”

She said she doesn’t believe that the court’s ruling actually legalized same-sex marriage.

“A lot of people are saying, ‘It’s the law of the land.’ Not really,” she said. “The Supreme Court cannot make law. There’s no place in the Constitution that says they can.”

Follow Elizabeth Crisp on Twitter, @elizabethcrisp. For more coverage of Louisiana state government and politics, follow our Politics blog at http://blogs.theadvocate.com/politicsblog.