(CNN) - As he mulls another bid for the White House, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee brings a message of strong family values to Iowa this weekend as he headlines a major gathering of social conservatives.
Huckabee, who ran for 2008 Republican presidential nomination and won that year's Iowa caucuses, will point to what he considers the current assault on marriage and families as a factor in the rise of poverty.
"Statistics show poverty is largely the result of the traditional family's decline. When children grow up in homes where the mother and father don't work, don't have an education and are solely on government assistance – then everyone involved becomes trapped in a devastating cycle of poverty," Huckabee will say Sunday when he keynotes the Iowa Family Policy Center's "Celebrate the Family" event, according to excerpts released to CNN.
"The traditional family's decline directly affects poverty levels and this nation's economic recovery. Conservatives know that our government can spend billions on social programs and can throw all the money it wants to at poverty – but we can never truly address poverty until we first heal broken families," adds Huckabee.
Huckabee's speech comes just days after he told WHO Radio in Des Moines that when it comes to another presidential candidacy, "I'm not ruling it out. And that's not a yes, but it's definitely not a no."
"The honest answer is: I'm keeping it open as an option, I'm looking at whether or not there's a pathway to victory," Huckabee told WHO's Steve Deace. "As I've told several people, I'm not jumping into a pool when there's no water in it."
Recent national polls of Republican voters, including a survey from CNN/Opinion Research Corporation, indicate that Huckabee remains at or near the top of the pack among possible contenders in any hypothetical race for the GOP presidential nomination.
The Iowa Family Policy Center, where Huckabee speaks Sunday, is a nonprofit research and educational organization that says its mission is to "restore and defend traditional moral principles in the culture by advocating for sound public policy."
Also speaking at the event will be former Republican candidate for governor Bob Vander Plaats, who Monday told the Des Moines Register that he will become president and chief executive officer of an umbrella group that includes the IFPC, Marriage Matters, and their political action committee. Vander Plaats, who's new position is expected to be formally announced at the event, aims to give the group an influential role in Iowa's caucuses, which kick off the presidential primary calendar.
"We are going to be very engaged in the 2012 cycle. We believe it is our responsibility and our duty to be actively involved in taking a look at the candidates, vetting the candidates and then either recommending a candidate or candidates for consideration by the people who support us," Vander Plaats told the Des Moines Register.
Vander Plaats won 41 percent of the vote in his loss to former Republican Gov. Terry Branstad in this year's GOP gubernatorial primary. Huckabee endorsed Vander Plaats bid for governor, and in his speech will highlight his friendship with Vander Plaats
"On a personal note, Iowa may not be as warm as the south this time of year – but you won't find a warmer, friendlier group of people anywhere in the United States. I really do love Iowa, and spending time with the dear friends I've made there over the years, like Bob Vander Plaats, make this trip special," Huckabee will say, according to excerpts.
Vander Plaats, who just led a successful campaign to oust in this month's elections three state supreme court justices who ruled in favor of allowing same sex marriages in Iowa, endorsed Huckabee in 2008, but says he'll remain neutral this time around until his group makes an endorsement.
Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @PsteinhauserCNN