Will Newton/AP
Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders speaks after taking the oath of office on the steps of the Arkansas Capitol on January 10.
CNN  — 

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who gained national recognition as White House press secretary in the Trump administration, was sworn in Tuesday as Arkansas’ 47th governor.

She becomes the state’s first female governor and assumes a seat her father, Mike Huckabee, once held.

“I did not seek this office to be the first anything, but I ran to make Arkansas first in everything,” Sanders said from the steps of the Arkansas State Capitol.

She focused her inaugural address on her vision for making education reform the hallmark of her administration and becoming “Arkansas’ education governor.” She said she wants to improve literacy, reward teachers with higher pay and “empower parents with more choices.”

Sanders plans to sign a series of executive orders by the end of the day, including an immediate freeze on new government hiring and new government regulations, as well as an order “preventing the political indoctrination of Arkansas’ school children.”

“As long as I am governor, our schools will focus on the skills our children need to get ahead in the modern world, not brainwashing our children with a left-wing political agenda,” she said.

Sanders also made note of her plan to phase out state income taxes.

Sanders won her office by overcoming a relatively smooth challenge from Democrat Chris Jones in November. She succeeds term-limited Republican Asa Hutchison.

She becomes the first daughter in US history to serve as governor of the same state her father once led.

Sanders previously worked in the George W. Bush administration for two years. She later ran her father’s 2008 campaign for the Republican presidential nomination and was his campaign manager for his 2016 bid.

She became press secretary in the White House in 2017. The Republican left the position in 2019 as a controversial figure on the national stage due to serving as one of former President Donald Trump’s most trusted and unwavering defenders.