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Stucker Appears At Right To Life

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Conservative radio commentator Mike Huckabee drew plenty of politicians and a crowd of more than 300 to Sandia Resort & Casino on Thursday night for a fundraiser for the Right to Life New Mexico Political Action Committee.

Master of ceremonies for the $100-per-plate dinner was KOB-TV weatherman/anchor Steve Stucker.

Both Stucker and management at KOB said they saw no conflict between Stucker’s duties as part of the Channel 4 news team and his involvement in the political fundraiser.

General manager and vice president Mike Burgess said the station had no advance notice that Stucker was performing as master of ceremonies for what was “obviously not a station-sanctioned event,” adding that, “We’re absolutely neutral on that stuff.”

Burgess said that “if Steve was picketing outside Planned Parenthood, then we’d need to have a conversation. But if he’s just emceeing and telling a few jokes and introducing Mike Huckabee, I don’t consider that political and I don’t see it as a problem.”

Stucker is co-anchor of KOB’s morning program as well as its weather forecaster. He also delivers the local weather cut-ins during the “Today” show, weather segments for KOB’s noon newscast and weather updates for radio station KKOB-AM.

“I’m here as a private citizen,” Stucker said just before taking the podium. “I’m a chaplain ordained through the International Fellowship of Chaplains, I’m a pastor at New Covenant Church, and I’m here on my private time. It’s no different than going to church or going to a fundraiser that’s protecting puppies. I will not mention the TV station or the radio station tonight.”

However, the printed program for the event, placed at each table setting, listed “Emcee – Steve Stucker, Anchorman at KOB-TV 4.”

“Although I am on the air, I don’t have any input whatsoever into KOB’s editorial content,” Stucker said. “Last time I checked, being in the broadcast industry has lots of demands, but they do not include denying myself freedom of worship and freedom of speech.”

KOB news director Laurie Passman said the weather segment is an integral part of the news operation, but with an important distinction. “You can’t influence the weather.” Further, she said, Stucker’s “pastoral duties and his personal beliefs are not work related.”

At a private reception before the dinner, Huckabee – former Republican presidential candidate, former governor of Arkansas and author of nine books – told the Journal, “I didn’t become pro-life because of politics; I actually got into politics because of my passion for the pro-life cause. It’s so important that people stop and think, not about abortion, but about the issue of the dignity and worth of every human being.”

Helping to kick off the dinner program was a ceremonial color guard from Bataan Military Academy, an APS charter school.

Other speakers included New Mexico Lt. Gov. John Sanchez, Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry, and Carol Tobias, president of the National Right to Life.

Among the table sponsors were Congressman Steve Pearce, state Rep. James Strickler, Dan Lewis for Congress and the Traditional Values Action Committee.
— This article appeared on page C1 of the Albuquerque Journal

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