In a new series, Power Couples, Arkansas Money & Politics will introduce you to some of the most interesting and influential pairs in the state of Arkansas. Mike and Anne Preston, both of Little Rock, are our next couple in this series. Click here to read about more Power Couples. To nominate a #PowerCouple, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mike and Anne Preston may be fairly new to Arkansas, but their political and charitable involvement since their arrival in 2015 has made them well-known to Little Rock officials.
Both born and raised in Florida, the duo met after college on the set of Anne’s job at WCJB, a news station in Gainesville, Florida. Anne was interviewing Mike’s boss for a multiple-story series, and after the series finished Mike was adamant they stay in contact. Before long, the two were together.
Though they met in 2006, the couple didn’t get married until Dec. 13, 2014.
“Yeah, it took us a while to get married,” Mike said. “We chased each other all over the state. We were in Gainesville together and then she got a job in Fort Meyers, so she moved four hours away and then I got a job in Tallahassee so we were six hours apart… So when we were finally in the same town and had been there a while I said, ‘All right, we’re going to get married now.’”
A few months after they got married, the couple was asked to move again when Gov. Asa Hutchinson appointed Mike as the executive director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission.
Though the couple had only visited Arkansas briefly for interviews, they decided to make the state their new home, and moved to Little Rock in April and March 2015.
“In a matter of three months we got married, bought a home and moved to a state we had never been in,” Mike said.
Though Anne had to leave her job in Florida as an anchor, she didn’t give up the profession, or the audience. Anne still does daily newscasts in Little Rock, but you won’t see her on local television stations, as her reports are sent to various states across the country.
“So, I left a job that I loved in Florida so that we could focus on his career here, but of course I tried to find something here as well,” Anne said. “At first I looked at local news stations to see if they had any anchor positions available, because that’s what I was doing in Florida, and then I came across this company called The Media Gateway.”
In her work with The Media Gateway, Anne does six different newscasts every day in four different markets out of a Little Rock-based studio. One of those newscasts goes back to Gainesville, Florida, where Mike’s parents watch Anne every night.
Though the couple still has ties to their home state, they both agreed that Arkansas feels like home, and have enjoyed having family and friends come in from Florida.
When they first moved to Arkansas, Anne and Mike said they immediately got involved in charity work, which has since helped them create lifelong friendships and experiences.
Mike’s job has also allowed them to travel across the world, and for Anne to become close friends with First Lady Susan Hutchinson.
“Our husbands often travel together, so we’ll go see a movie or grab dinner together when they’re out of town,” Anne said. “She really is such an amazing person, and has inspired me so much.”
With next year being an election year for Gov. Hutchinson, the couple hopes to get the chance to stay in Arkansas to continue bettering the state and their relationships.