A furor erupted in the Nashville/country music community after the announcement that archconservative Mike Huckabee had been appointed to the CMA Foundation Board; now comes news, via a letter from CMA boss Sarah Trahern, that Huckabee has stepped down. See Trahern's letter below, along with a telling of the events leading up to Huckabee's exit.

Dear CMA Foundation and CMA Board of Directors,

There has been much conversation today regarding yesterday’s announcement of former Governor Mike Huckabee joining our Foundation Board. 

His nomination to the Foundation Board was made with the purest intention given his experience with music education reform policy over the course of a decade. As you know, both the CMA Board and the Foundation Board are comprised of representatives with a wide array of experience and a breadth of varying viewpoints. The Foundation currently supports 57 programs in 50 states and we are embarking on a deeper statewide initiative in Tennessee.

During multiple advocacy trips to Capitol Hill, it became clear that the majority of the decision making that impacts music education comes at the statewide level.  Governor Huckabee came to our attention because advocacy on music education has always been at the forefront of his public service. He was a previous Director on NAMM Foundation’s Board (National Association of Music Merchants) and a national spokesperson for their NAMM Wanna Play fund where he was involved in grant decisions. 

He’s provided relevant insights from his time of service having led statewide music education mandates and grant structuring.  He is also a musician.  As you all know, CMA does not work with any of its Board members based on their personal or political affiliations. The reason he was appointed was very mission-centric.

That said, we have been in contact with him and have accepted his resignation from the Foundation Board.  As he noted, he did not want to be a distraction or hindrance to the CMA since the mission is about supporting music education.

I hope this provides some additional perspective and reasoning behind his selection, and feel this response allows us to continue with our important work with the mission at hand.

Feel free to forward press inquiries to Amber Williams at [email protected] 



Sarah Trahern

Country Music Association



It was announced Wednesday that Mike Huckabee has been appointed/elected to the CMA Foundation Board. Yes, that Mike Huckabee.

There’s great concern and protest over the appointment, and rightfully so. Many in Nashville are sharing feelings of embarrassment for our country and industry. Notably, Sandbox and Monument head Jason Owen has declared that he and his clients will no longer support the CMA in any way. Read his letter to Sarah Trahern and Tiffany Kerns below.

Another industry heavyweight has since suggested “an emergency meeting of the board to address,” pointing out that, “This is such a poor decision that should’ve been opened up for much more conversation before finalizing.”

Sarah and Tiffany,

It is with a heavy heart that I must let you know moving forward, Sandbox and Monument will no longer support the CMA Foundation in any way (this includes everyone we represent collectively) considering the heartbreaking news shared today regarding Mike Huckabee appointee/elected to the CMA Foundation. Further, we find it hard to support the organization as a whole as a result. As you may know I have a child and two on the way. This man has made it clear that my family is not welcome in his America. And the CMA has opened their arms to him, making him feel welcome and relevant. Huckabee speaks of the sort of things that would suggest my family is morally beneath his and uses language that has a profoundly negative impact upon young people all across this country. Not to mention how harmful and damaging his deep involvement with the NRA is. What a shameful choice. I will not participate in any organization that elevates people like this to positions that amplify their sick voices. This was a detrimentally poor choice by the CMA and it’s leaders.

I only wish the best for you and I know how hard you work for the foundation but a grossly offensive decision like this only makes your job harder and diminishes the foundation’s purpose.



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