Gov. Asa Hutchinson conducted one of his last public acts as Arkansas governor on Tuesday (Jan. 3), unveiling his official state portrait in the capitol.
The painting, created by New Orleans artist Michael Deas, will hang in the Governor’s conference room at the Arkansas State Capitol until Gov.-elect Sarah Sanders leaves office. Deas is an artist who also crafted a portrait of former President George H.W. Bush.
Hutchinson was reflective at the casual press conference that members of his staff and cabinet attended.
“There’s a time for everything, a season for everything,” he said. “Eight years is good, and I’m ready to move on.”
Hutchinson said he admired the portrait for several reasons. He noted that he was standing in the painting to show how he hit the ground running in 2015 when he first took office. He added that his demeanor was “contemplative” as he gave a lot of thought to the decisions he made during his tenure. And he hoped the portrait portrayed his steadiness as a leader.
“There is also a glimpse of a smile to show the hope I have for this state, for the future,” Hutchinson said.
The outgoing governor recognized his cabinet and staff for their hard work and dedication. He said his final days in office would be focused on economic development, monitoring recent storm damage, and helping transition to Gov.-elect Sanders. Hutchinson said he had no plans to undertake any last-minute pardons or clemencies.
Fielding his final questions from the press, Hutchinson commented on his plans for a potential presidential run and the turmoil in the U.S. House of Representatives over the lack of Republicans to elect their top Speaker candidate, U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.
“My timeline hasn’t changed,” Hutchinson said of his presidential exploration plans. “I want to make a very measured decision.”
He said the GOP turmoil in the House illustrated “the importance of bringing unity to the Republican Party… we have work to do to bring our party together,” he said. “The first part of leadership is electing your leader.”