Sarah Huckabee Sanders sworn in as Arkansas Governor

Former White House press secretary becomes most well-known former Trump official in elected office

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Donald Trump's former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was sworn in as Arkansas Governor on Tuesday, becoming the first woman to hold the office and portraying herself as part of a new generation of leaders.

Ms Sanders took the oath of office as the state’s 47th governor in the state House chamber before a joint session of the legislature.

She ascended to the post her father held for more than a decade.

“A turning point in the history of Arkansas will usher in a new era of good jobs, great schools, safer streets and stronger families,” Ms Sanders said in a 15-minute speech after taking the oath.

“The people of Arkansas, in their vast wisdom, have entrusted a new generation to lead. This is our moment. This is our opportunity.”

Ms Sanders, a Republican who served nearly two years as White House press secretary, won the governor’s election last year after focusing heavily on national issues and her time working for Mr Trump.

But she has mostly avoided weighing in on the former president since the election and has said she wants to focus her attention on Arkansas.

With her inauguration, Ms Sanders becomes the most well-known former Trump official in elected office. Her father, Mike Huckabee, was Arkansas governor for more than a decade.

Ms Sanders’ victory came in an election where Republicans expanded their supermajorities in the state House and Senate. Republicans also hold every statewide and federal office in the southern state.

In her speech, she offered few details on an education reform measure she has called her top priority. She also said she would sign legislation raising teachers' pay, although she did not give a specific amount.

Ms Sanders also called on legislators to cut income taxes and enact public safety measures.

She takes office with the state sitting on more than $2 billion in reserves and with Republicans in the legislature having expanded their supermajority in the November election.

Ms Sanders is succeeding Asa Hutchinson, who leaves office after eight years because of term limits.

Mr Hutchinson, a Republican, is considering running for president. He has said that Mr Trump winning the Republican nomination again would be the “worst scenario” for his party.

Updated: January 10, 2023, 8:30 PM