Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson backed away from a controversial religious freedom bill on Wednesday, opening a new conference by saying the issue has become so divisive that his own son, Seth, was among those who signed a petition asking him to veto the bill.
The New York Times profiles the governor’s 31-year-old son, a self-described political outcast, who was suddenly thrust into the national spotlight:
“I love my dad, and we have a good, close relationship,” Mr. Hutchinson said. “But we disagree a lot on political issues. This is just another one, but a lot of families disagree politically. But we stay close.”
It was not always that way, he said.
“I kind of grew up on the campaign trail,” Mr. Hutchinson said. “Having a political opinion just came naturally to me. At first, I pretty much followed the values that my family and my parents laid out for me.”
But starting when he was about 15 and working as a dishwasher at a diner in northwest Arkansas, Mr. Hutchinson’s views began to change as he shuffled through odd jobs, including stints at Chuck E. Cheese’s and Sears. He grew frustrated when he saw older workers enduring financial hardships while they worked long hours at low-paying jobs.
“It just showed me that there’s something wrong,” he said, adding that he became interested in gay rights about the same time, when friends began discussing their sexual orientations.
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