Former Democratic opponent of Arkansas Gov. Huckabee Sanders slams orders banning CRT and ‘Latinx’

Chris Jones, who ran against Sarah Huckabee Sanders in the 2022 gubernatorial election, called the new governor's actions "extreme."

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The former Democratic opponent of Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders is slamming her recent banning of critical race theory in classrooms and use of the term “Latinx” in state documents.

Former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Jones and Republican Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders. (Photo: Getty Images)

In her first executive actions in the office once held by her father, Mike Huckabee, Huckabee Sanders targeted what has become a major focus of Republican governors across the country. Among her first seven actions, Gov. Huckabee Sanders approved a measure to ban the phrase Latinx in state documents and official government use. According to Huckabee Sanders, it was done in an effort “to respect the Latino community.” 

She also signed an executive order prohibiting “indoctrination and the use of critical race theory in schools.”

Her Democratic opponent in the 2022 gubernatorial election, Chris Jones, slammed the new Arkansas governor’s actions, telling theGrio that critical race theory “doesn’t exist here in Arkansas” classrooms and calling her targeting of the term Latinx, among other actions, “extreme.”

“She showed us what her administration will look like by coming out of the block the way she did,” said Jones, an MIT-educated engineer turned politician. 

He noted that Gov. Huckabee Sanders is moving like other Republican governors, such as in Florida and Alabama, who are “finding the most extreme ways to separate and divide us” which is “the opposite of equality and inclusion.”

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Republican nominee for Governor of Arkansas, departs the stage after speaking during the America First Agenda Summit, at the Marriott Marquis Hotel on July 26, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Jone believes there are repercussions and consequences in politicizing race and racial concepts, particularly on the economic front. “Unfortunately, that hurts business. It means that people won’t be attracted to a place like Arkansas,” he argued. 

On whether Huckabee Sanders, a former Trump White House press secretary, will shift her stances, Jones said, “The jury is still out on whether that will change, but she certainly put a stake in the ground in this first week.” 

While campaigning for the governorship last year, Huckabee Sanders refused to debate Jones. At one point, Jones, a Black man new to politics, polled about 11% behind her to the surprise of many. In the end, Huckabee Sanders handily won the election in the solidly red state with 63% of the vote compared to 35.2% for Jones.

Talk of Huckabee Sanders’ executive orders has also spread to Washington, D.C. where Democratic minority leader of the United States House of Representatives, Hakeem Jeffries, told theGrio exclusively, ”Governor Huckabee and the extreme MAGA Republican agenda is not about putting people over politics, but putting politics over people and trying to divide us as opposed to unite us.”

He added, “That’s unfortunate, but they will continue to expose themselves to the American people through their actions and it will eventually be rejected.”

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