Kyl does well in a job he doesn’t need

Emil FranziSitting in Sen. Jon Kyl’s office waiting for my scheduled interview, I was struck at just how hard any senator is expected to work and how much time is spent doing it by those who, as most do, take their job seriously.

His rather typical day back home was tightly scheduled in 15-minute segments, ranging from media and constituent interviews to a ceremony awarding a Bronze Star to a deceased WW2 vet’s son. He was kept busy from an early morning radio interview to a 6 p.m. appearance with 800 Tea Party folks in Oro Valley.

Members of Congress receive $174,000 in salary and the same benefit package as other federal employees, phony e-mail blasts to the contrary notwithstanding. Prior to his first election to the U.S. House in 1986, Jon Kyl was one of the top attorneys in Arizona. He doesn’t need the job. Regardless of party, those who don’t tend to give you better government.

We all want members of Congress to “read the bills.” Someone who would read every word himself if possible, trust me, is Jon Kyl. He can’t, there’s simply too many. Kyl handles it by breaking bills into portions and sharing them with his staff, and also by sharing information with trusted colleagues. He specifically mentioned one of my favorites, Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma.

Kyl also is number two in the GOP Senate hierarchy, which further stretches his time commitment. I asked him to assess the 2010 Senate elections, and he named eight states where he felt the GOP had good to excellent chances of pick-ups along with holding current seats. He doesn’t bluster, that’s an honest assessment.

We went through the major issues, with health care at the top of the pile. Kyl observed that the process has been as damaging to the Democrat product as the product itself and noted that we have only seen the obvious pay-offs and have no idea what other commitments were traded for senators’ votes. He believes it’s not over yet, and that opponents should keep the heat up, particularly Arizonans who have three Democrat House members in marginal seats – Giffords, Kirkpatrick and Mitchell – who voted for it.

Jobs creation was next on Kyl’s list. He believes you don’t fight unemployment with more stimulus money to local governments, but by giving private industry including small business the stable economic environment necessary for them to expand and create jobs.

Jon KylKyl supports military efforts in Afghanistan and believes President Obama acted correctly if too slowly. Space prohibits listing the many other areas of this administration’s foreign policy he differs with.

Illegal immigration was on the minds of many at the Tea Party meeting. Kyl firmly believes that before any revision in policy occurs, securing the border by finishing the fence and hiring the as-promised additional Border Patrol officers is mandatory. He met with Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano prior to her confirmation to stress this, obviously without avail.

Watching Kyl in front of a Tea Party was edifying. How did an establishment GOP lawyer/senator do with all those supposed right-wing crazies? OV types aren’t atypical. Kyl treated them with respect, and they responded in kind.

He randomly selected questioners on any subject, unlike some colleagues who wanted them in writing and pre-screened them or, worse, were too craven to show up at all. His answers were succinct, responses were direct and occasionally not what the questioner wanted to hear. Kyl doesn’t pander, something the audience would have caught anyway.

TIME magazine rated both he and John McCain among the 10 most effective members of the United States Senate. It’s easy to understand why.

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PR: Kelly: Voters reject radical policies that Giffords supports

Jesse KellyFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 20, 2010

TUCSON, AZ. Upon seeing the results in the Massachusetts special election last night, Jesse Kelly said,

“I am absolutely thrilled and amazed how the Founders created a method with which the American people can bring themselves back from the precipice of socialism. I enthusiastically congratulate Senator-elect Scott Brown and the people of Massachusetts for electing a fiscal conservative to fight for their liberties. Just as the first major Revolutionary victory took place at Dorchester Heights, Massachusetts in 1776, the first major victory of the 2010 Conservative Revolution took place in the Bay State. It’s time to open up a “Western Front” in the 2010 Revolution, and I look forward to doing just that in November, when the voters of CD-8 have the opportunity to retake their seat from the radical agenda of Gabrielle Giffords.”

Jesse Kelly is a candidate for Arizona’s Eighth Congressional District in the southeastern region of the state. For more information on the Jesse Kelly campaign please visit VoteJesseKelly.com. You can contact campaign manager Bret Summers at (520) 237-9056 or bret.summers@votejessekelly.com.

PR: Paton: Giffords one thing in Washington; another thing at home

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 20, 2010

Paton: Giffords does one thing in Washington; says another thing to us back home

The Arizona Republic reports today that Gabrielle Giffords is once again talking out of both sides of her mouth on proposed government health care legislation.

“First she voted for it. Now she’s looking for a way out. Looks like Gabrielle Giffords is a pro at changing more than just tires,” said Jonathan Paton, candidate in Congressional District 8. “Southern Arizonans need a representative who does the right thing the first time, not someone who caves to Nancy Pelosi in Washington and then tries to talk her way out her votes back in Arizona. Fact is, Giffords is on record as voting for the Democrats’ health care bill — which incredibly, exempted members of Congress from enrolling in the government plan. Guess what’s good for the goose isn’t so good for the gander.”

Gabrielle Giffords has tried her best to dodge questions about health care, while supporting Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama’s proposals back in Washington. Last May, 1,000 people showed up at a forum at Sahuaro High School seeking answers to where Giffords stood on the issue. But instead, they were treated to Giffords moderating a discussion of others’ views, without ever actually revealing her own. A month later, Giffords was comparing President Obama’s health care proposal to America landing on the moon. However, in September, an even larger crowd — reportedly 1,300 people — showed up in Sierra Vista to find out how Giffords would vote. Still no answers from Giffords herself. In November, she voted for Nancy Pelosi’s bill back in Washington. But just days later, she was already telling her constituents that the bill “wasn’t perfect.”

“I’m going to make this real easy to understand: It doesn’t matter if a government takeover of health care originates in the House or Senate, I’m against any proposed legislation that threatens our current level of care,” Jonathan Paton said. “We need real solutions to our health care challenges, like competition across state lines, expanded health savings accounts and protections for our seniors. And our main goal needs to be putting Americans back to work, not saddling them with higher taxes and more government interference in their lives.

“Gabrielle Giffords isn’t an independent. She isn’t a moderate. As her votes show, she’s just wrong.”

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What Arizona can learn as Chile joins the OECD

By Byron Schlomach, Ph.D.
Goldwater Institute 
 
On January 11, Chile was officially invited to join the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Chile will be the OECD’s 31st member and its first from South America. The OECD is largely made up of the world’s richest and most stable economies and Chile’s invitation to join the club wasn’t always a given.

In the early 1970s, Chile’s economy was a basket case not unlike Haiti’s before last week’s earthquake. Abject poverty, rampant inflation, and high unemployment were the norm. There is no denying that Augusto Pinochet was a detestable tyrant, but he did one thing right after he took control of the country: he turned economic policy over to 10 Chilean economists who had been trained at the University of Chicago in the theories of John Locke and Nobel Prize winning economists F.A. Hayek and Milton Friedman.

The government began selling government-owned businesses, deregulating enterprises, and removing wage and price controls. In 1981, Chile’s social security system was privatized under the direction of Jose Pinera, who was given the Goldwater Award for Liberty in 2003 and is the brother of Chile’s just-elected President Sebastian Pinera. These economic policies set the stage for Chile to become South America’s most vibrant and successful economy.

Chile’s economic experience could be instructive to Arizona policymakers. Government-owned enterprises like stadiums and Phoenix’s Sheraton Hotel have become too common. The state still owns huge swaths of land that ought to be sold and put to use creating jobs. The state should also loosen regulations on wages. Arizona has the potential to create the most vibrant economy of any state in the union. We just need to be freed to exercise it.

Byron Schlomach, Ph.D., is the director of the Goldwater Institute’s Center for Economic Prosperity.