Archives for September 2011

The Turning Point

The Turning Point 
A new study by the National Conference on Citizenship reports that Arizonans have become more engaged in the political process. Since 2006, voter turnout has surged, raising Arizona’s ranking from 33rd to 18th in the nation. The spike in voter registration is even steeper – boosting our rank from 48th to 27th.Consider what’s happened in our state to understand why this is so significant. In 2006, Arizona became the only state to vote against a state constitutional amendment to protect marriage. This wake-up call was a turning point for values voters. In 2008, Arizonans passed Proposition 102 to define marriage in Arizona’s constitution as only the union of one man and one woman. The victory resulted from a strong campaign to register those who supported one man, one woman marriage and to turn out those voters. The victory also resulted from a strong coalition of Arizonans from differing faiths, ethnicities, and political persuasions coming together around a shared value.But that’s not all. Those same voters elected a pro-life, pro-family legislature in 2008 and again in 2010. In the last three years alone, 38 CAP-supported bills that promote and defend foundational principles have been signed into law, raising the total number of CAP-supported bills that have become law to 101. People are waking up in Arizona to the fact that what happens at the polls and at the state Capitol impacts their family. You can make a difference! As we look ahead to the 2012 elections, the stakes are even higher than before. It’s critical that we all are registered to vote, are informed, and turn out to make sure our voice is heard.
New Lawsuit Attacks School Choice 
The Arizona School Boards Association and Arizona Education Association (the teachers union) have sued to overturn Arizona’s new law establishing empowerment scholarships. The law, advocated for by CAP and our school choice allies, provides parents of children with special needs the opportunity to redirect state funds for the education and educational services that best meet their children’s needs. The facts are parents know what’s best for their children, and the state should empower them to make decisions about their education. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen school board members allow your taxpayer dollars to be used to fight school choice measures. CAP is committed to standing with school choice and parents’ rights advocates to defeat this lawsuit.

Congress Investigating Planned Parenthood 
The U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee will be investigating Planned Parenthood Federation of America for improprieties regarding how Planned Parenthood uses federal dollars. This is a great first step to holding America’s largest abortion franchise accountable. Click here to read the letter Rep. Cliff Stearns sent to Planned Parenthood. Click here to read Americans United for Life’s report on Planned Parenthood.

Maricopa County Community College’s Bad Move  
In a 3-2 decision this week, the Maricopa County Community College Board approved adding “gender-identity” to their non-discrimination policy. In a letter I sent to the Board prior to the vote, I explained why this vague policy should be rejected. You can read my letter here.It’s important to realize that the Maricopa County Community College Board is accountable to the voters. We see again why every election matters, especially when it comes to promoting and defending foundational principles.
Gov. Brewer Fights Back Against Radical Ninth Circuit Court Decision  
Also earlier this week, Governor Brewer filed a petition requesting all of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to review a recent ruling by a three judge panel that would essentially force the state to provide health insurance benefits to domestic partners. Domestic partnerships devalue marriage – the cornerstone of our culture. The legislature and Governor Brewer were acting within their authority when they said that only spouses should receive health benefits from the state, and I applaud Governor Brewer for not allowing this bad decision from the Court to stand.

If You’ve Been Through The Truth Project  
For those of you who have been through The Truth Project, you won’t want to miss two big events featuring some familiar faces from the small group study. First, on October 16, Ravi Zacharias is speaking at the new Grand Canyon University Arena. Click hereto get your tickets.Then on October 29, CAP and Truth in Action Ministries are bringing in Dr. Del Tackett for the Faith in Action Tourto help you discover how to transform your community through service.If you haven’t experienced The Truth Project, these are great opportunities to hear from two of the country’s most inspiring and thought-provoking teachers.

Arizona Republican Party Sets Date for Arizona Presidential Debate

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 29, 2011

Phoenix – The Arizona Republican Party is pleased to announce Thursday, December 1st as the date for the first Republican Presidential debate to take place in Arizona. The Cable News Network (CNN) has also agreed to partner with the Arizona Republican Party to carry the debate live that evening.

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer played an important integral role in the discussion and decision for the debate and will continue to be a part of the process as details are finalized.

Tom Morrissey, Chairman of the Arizona Republican Party commented, “Arizonans are clearly excited about this high profile debate opportunity. The voters look forward to watching the candidates give serious attention and discussion to issues critical to our economy, our national security role and the many other challenges we face here in Arizona and the Southwest.”

No venue has been chosen at this time but discussions are taking place to choose a location that optimizes the importance of the event. The debate will most likely take place in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Once a decision has been reached regarding the official venue, members of the media will be notified.

For more information regarding the Arizona Republican Party’s role in the December debate, please contact Thayer Verschoor at (602) 957-7770.



Steve Chucri Files Candidacy for Maricopa County Board of Supervisors

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 29, 2011
CONTACT: Steve Chucri

Steve Chucri, Native East Valley Resident, Files Candidacy for Maricopa County Board of Supervisors

Steve Chucri

(MESA, AZ) – Stephen D. Chucri (R-­‐Mesa) filed his official candidacy papers today for the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors in District 2, an area that includes Fountain Hills, Carefree, Cave Creek, Gilbert, Mesa, Paradise Valley, and Scottsdale. Born and raised in Mesa, Steve comes from a long-­‐standing and well-­‐respected early East Valley family. Steve’s grandfather, Tony M. Coury, Sr., founded a pioneering automobile dealership in Arizona, Tony M. Coury Buick, on Main Street in Mesa. The family was an anchor in the East Valley business community for several decades.

Steve learned from his family the high value of honest and transparent business principles, the kind of traditional values that promote faith and trust in community leadership. Steve continues to apply these principles today in his role as President and CEO of the Arizona Restaurant Association, where he advocates on behalf of the $9.4 billion dollar restaurant industry in Arizona. Representing a multitude of restaurant operational, regulatory, human resources, and policy issues while finding ways to grow jobs and small business success has proven to be Steve’s strong suit. True to his family’s roots, Steve continues to support the American automobile industry in Arizona through his advocacy for General Motors and their Desert Proving Ground in Yuma.

“Now is the appropriate time to replace finger-­‐pointing with problem-­‐solving in our county leadership,” said Mr. Chucri. “There is a thirst throughout our community to activate fresh perspectives, and to replace the endless distractions with genuine and conservative servant-­‐leadership. More government spending has failed to renew our community. Instead, we must act constructively together to honestly shrink and reform government by reducing job-­‐killing regulation and mandates and to allow the free enterprise system to implement the creativity and proven success of free market principles.”

Campaign Chairman and Restaurateur, Matt McMahon stated, “I’ve seen first-­‐hand Steve’s ability to get the job done. We need his free market approach and can-­‐do style to change the way government conducts itself.”

Not only do his Arizona roots run deep, so does Steve’s family values and respect for fellow members of his community. Through his involvement as a board member of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, Tourism Advisory Council, Phoenix Sports Commission and other entities, he has earned the respect of his colleagues for his forward thinking and ability to resolve complex problems.

Honorary Campaign Chairman, U.S. Representative David Schweikert said, “Steve has a long history of commitment to our community. Joyce and I believe his integrity and passion will make him a terrific Supervisor, as well as someone we can all be proud of.”

Steve, 41, resides in Mesa with his wife of 12 years, Christine, and their two sons.



Speaker Pro Tempore Steve Montenegro endorses Kirk Adams

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 29, 2011

“Kirk Adams exemplifies a rising generation of Republican leadership” 

Steve Montenegro

Steve Montenegro

EAST VALLEY – Kirk Adams is proud to announce the endorsement of State Representative Steve Montenegro, Speaker Pro Tempore of the Arizona House of Representatives, in his campaign to represent the East Valley.

“Kirk Adams exemplifies a rising generation of Republican leadership,” Montenegro said. “As Speaker of the House, I had the privilege of working with him and seeing his leadership and dedication to our conservative values. He will be an asset to the new wave of conservative leaders that face the Washington establishment. I know he will work hard each day to look out for Arizona families, not for special interests.”

“Steve Montenegro is a rising star who is fighting everyday at the Capitol to protect Arizona families and the values we hold dear,” Adams said. “It was a privilege to work with him at the Capitol, and I’m honored to have his support in this campaign.”

Adams and Montenegro worked side by side in the Arizona House of Representatives – Adams as Speaker and Montenegro as Speaker Pro Tempore – to protect unborn life, Arizona families, to balance the state budget and help secure the border.

About Steve Montenegro- Steve is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Arizona State University with a B.S. in Political Science. He also holds an Associate of Arts in Theology from Logos Christian University. Presently, Steve works in the Glendale office of U.S. Congressman Trent Franks.

Steve also serves as an Assistant Pastor/Youth Pastor at the Surprise Apostolic Assembly. He was recently selected as a Rising Star in Governance and was made a Rodel Fellow.

Kirk Adams is a rising star in the Republican Party, and a conservative reformer who shook-up Arizona’s state Capitol and will do the same thing in Congress.

A husband, father and small businessman, after joining the state House in 2006, Adams found himself so frustrated by the unwillingness and inability of Republicans in the Legislature to stand up for their conservative principals that he launched a long-shot campaign to oust the veteran Speaker of the House.

Adams shocked the Republican establishment and political class, winning the Speakership at only 35 years of age.

Adams led the House back in a conservative direction with an aggressive reform agenda, taking on some of the most challenging issues in Arizona history – issues others were afraid to address because of the potential political fallout.

A native Arizonan, Adams and his wife JaNae live in Mesa and have five children.


Overpayments still rampant in Arizona’s unemployment insurance program

by Stephen Slivinski
Goldwater Institute

Recently, the U.S. Department of Labor released data on how much each state “overpays” in unemployment insurance (UI) benefits.

Overpayments, as a practical matter, are common. Either through lack of enforcement of eligibility requirements or through poor verification procedures, states sometimes improperly send unemployment checks to those who may not be eligible.

If there are strong verification procedures in place, overpayments can be greatly reduced. Yet, it appears that in Arizona, those safeguards are either absent or ineffective. Arizona had the fifth highest overpayment rate in the U.S. between July 2010 and June 2011, overpaying by $132 million. That’s an overpayment rate of 21.6 percent — almost twice the national average of 11.2 percent.

Why does that matter? Arizona has borrowed more than $300 million from the federal government since March 2010 to pay benefits to the state’s unemployed. If the state had been more diligent, the amount borrowed could have been almost cut in half.

Overpayments also put a strain on employers. Unemployment insurance is funded by taxing employers and if the fund doesn’t take in enough money to pay unemployment checks, taxes on employers go up too. There is a direct cost to employers that could be reduced if the state had better unemployment eligibility verification in place.

The unfortunate thing is that this is no surprise: An audit of the Arizona Department of Economic Security’s UI division concluded that “the Division’s accuracy rate in determining whether claimants are eligible for UI benefits is significantly below [U.S. Department of Labor] standards and national averages.” That audit occurred in 2005 and there hasn’t been one since.

Much can be done to reduce overpayment of unemployment benefits and reducing the cost of this program to those who fund it, starting with another audit of the eligibility verification process.

Keeping government-imposed costs of employing workers low should be part of Arizona’s economic development strategy. But the legislature must fix our broken unemployment insurance system.

Stephen Slivinski is senior economist for the Goldwater Institute.

Learn More:

Goldwater Institute: Policymakers should audit, not expand, the unemployment insurance program

Wall Street Journal: Billions in unemployment benefits paid in error

Office of the Auditor General: Performance Review of Arizona’s Unemployment Insurance Program (2005)

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Congressmen David Schweikert, Ben Quayle, and Trent Franks will be there. There will be county assessors in a dunk tank – no self-respecting conservative should be able to resist that!

Doug Ducey Statement On Increasing Taxes on Municipal Bond Investments

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 28, 2011
CONTACT: Kevin Donnellan

PHOENIX – “The Arizona State Treasurer’s Office manages $3.3 billion of local government tax dollars for more than 150 Arizona cities, towns, counties and special taxing districts. Higher taxes for municipal bonds during this artificially created low interest rate environment will increase the cost of financing for municipalities. Those costs will ultimately be passed along to city, county and state taxpayers.

“The goal for our economy should be long-term, sustainable job creation, not increases in short-term revenues. We need real reforms and real reductions in spending, not tax increases that will only continue to fund our already bloated and out-of-control federal government.

“President Obama rolled the dice in 2009 with a $862 billion stimulus package that failed to prevent unemployment from rising over 8.0 percent. Today, Arizona is faced with 9.3 percent unemployment and a national rate of 9.1 percent. In the business world we call that a negative return on investment. The President now sees it as an opportunity to double-down with another $447 billion stimulus gimmick.

“Raising taxes on municipal bond investment will not help create jobs. The President’s proposal will bring more volatility into the markets and take more money out of the private sector; neither of which will have a positive return for Arizona or our national economy.”

# # #

NFIB Seeks Immediate Supreme Court Review of Health-Care Lawsuit

Urges Expeditious Decision to Curb Economic Uncertainty in Small-Business Community

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 28, 2011 — The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) today filed a petition for certiorari asking the Supreme Court of the United States to hear its case challenging the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). The petition for certiorari, filed by the NFIB and its co-plaintiffs, seeks an expeditious resolution, during the Supreme Court’s upcoming term, to the outstanding question of whether the entire new health-care law should be invalidated because the individual mandate exceeds the enumerated powers granted to Congress by the Constitution.

“The 11th Circuit ruling confirmed NFIB’s view that the individual mandate in the health-care law is unconstitutional. It is now imperative that the Supreme Court rule on whether the entire law can stand without the mandate,” said Karen Harned, executive director of NFIB’s Small Business Legal Center. “The sooner the Court takes up this case, the sooner small businesses and individuals will know whether they will have to bear the full weight, financially and economically, of this bad law.”

“While the survival of the new health-care law remains an open question, small businesses and individuals will continue to face uncertainty and trepidation, hesitant to hire or expand,” Harned said. “In filing our petition today, we are attempting to impress upon the Court the urgency of this issue.”

According to NFIB’s petition, the economic impact resulting from the current uncertainty in the health-insurance market is already taking a heavy toll on both big and small businesses. Many businesses are currently in the process of making irreversible fiscal planning for the upcoming years; the unknown potential costs of PPACA are preventing many firms from growing or expanding.

Currently, two federal courts of appeals have ruled on the constitutionality of the individual mandate; one has upheld the mandate, and another has struck it down.  The lower courts are also divided on the question whether the rest of the PPACA can survive if the mandate is unconstitutional. In the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, NFIB successfully argued that the mandate is unconstitutional, and the Eleventh Circuit’s decision makes Supreme Court review extremely likely.

NFIB is the nation’s leading small-business advocacy organization, representing 350,000 small businesses around the country.  It is also the only business organization in the lawsuit brought by 26 states against the health-care law.

# # #

NFIB is the nation’s leading small business association, with offices in Washington, D.C., and all 50 state capitals. Founded in 1943 as a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, NFIB gives small and independent business owners a voice in shaping the public policy issues that affect their business. NFIB’s powerful network of grassroots activists send their views directly to state and federal lawmakers through our unique member-only ballot, thus playing a critical role in supporting America’s free enterprise system. NFIB’s mission is to promote and protect the right of our members to own, operate and grow their businesses. More information is available online at

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie endorses Wes Gullett for Phoenix Mayor

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 28, 2011
CONTACT: Daniel Scarpinato

Nation’s leading government reformer says “Reform does not come easy” 

PHOENIX – In his quest to reform city government and fundamentally change the way business is done at City Hall, Wes Gullett has won the endorsement of the nation’s leading reformer – New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

“I have been working to reform New Jersey. I know that Wes Gullett has a reform plan for Phoenix that will bring important changes to city government to jump start economic growth,” Governor Christie said. “Reform does not come easy. Entrenched interests will fight hard against reform. I hope that you will stand tall for Wes. Cast your vote for him and tell your friends and neighbors that now is the time to make a difference.”

“I am truly honored to have the endorsement of a true reformer like Governor Christie,” Gullett said. “Governor Christie’s straight-talk and unwavering quest to change the status quo in his state is a model for how I would approach governing here in Phoenix. We can’t afford to keep doing things the way we’ve been doing them.”

Watch the endorsement video:

Gullett and Christie met in Phoenix late last year at a Goldwater Institute event where Christie spoke about his reform agenda in New Jersey. Gullett shared with Christie his reform ideas for Phoenix.

Since that time, Gullett has released comprehensive plans to reform Phoenix city government and save money, including cutting red tape, reforming public pensions and a Seven Point Jobs Plan.


Police: Illegal immigrant responsible for Pollack’s death

A m e r i c a n  P o s t – G a z e t t e

Distributed by C O M M O N  S E N S E , in Arizona

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Son of prominent Valley real estate businessman killed by illegal immigrant in hit and run

Suspect fled the scene and hid from law enforcement for two weeks; was working using stolen ID at restaurant

by Alicia E. Barrón and Stacey Delik
Posted on September 26, 2011 

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Police confirm the man recently arrested in the hit-and-run death of a 31-year-old Scottsdale man earlier this month is an illegal immigrant. Scottsdale detectives arrested Cristino Torres-Romero, 33, a Tempe resident, on Friday afternoon, nearly two weeks after the fatal incident.Scottsdale police Officer Dave Pubins confirmed on Monday that Torres-Romero is in the U.S. illegally. He is suspected of being behind the wheel of a truck that struck Daniel Pollack in the early morning hours of Sept. 11.”Nothing is going to bring my son Daniel back, but it feels reassuring to know that this person has been apprehended,” said Michael Pollack, the victim’s father. Michael, a prominent Valley real estate developer, had put up a $50,000 Silent Witness reward for information leading to an arrest. Police say they got a break in the case on Tuesday when they received an anonymous tip. Since then the department’s Vehicle Crimes Unit followed up on information that led to the alleged suspect.

Detectives found Torres-Romero and the suspected vehicle at his Tempe apartment Friday and took him into custody. During an interview Torres-Romero apparently admitted to fleeing the scene after hitting Pollack near Hayden and Thomas roads.

Michael Pollack said he got the phone call from Scottsdale detectives that they’d arrested a suspect around 7 p.m. Friday, and he and his wife felt a great sense of relief. Still, he said, “They say time heals, but I don’t know if it will ever really totally heal the scars of losing a son.” Michael said he hopes the arrest sends a message that “you can run, you can try to hide, but they’re going to find you.” At a news conference on Saturday he thanked Scottsdale police for their dedication to the case and thanked the community for support and well wishes.

Court paperwork indicates that Torres-Romero was using a stolen identity and had a job at the California Pizza Kitchen restaurant in Tempe. According to the same court paperwork, Torres-Romero faces one count of leaving the scene of a fatal collision and is being held without bond under a 2006 ballot proposition (Prop. 100) that denies bail to illegal immigrants accused of a class 4 or higher felony. The source of legal wrangling since its passage with nearly 78 percent of the vote, a federal judge upheld the Bailable Offenses Act in April. A preliminary hearing for Torres-Romero has been scheduled for Oct. 4.

The Pollack family issued a written statement after Scottsdale police made the arrest: “Last week we laid our son Daniel to rest. The arrest by the Scottsdale Police Department tonight cannot bring our son back, but it does bring our family’s gratitude and appreciation to Detective Rodger Paliwoda and the entire department for a job well done. They have taken a hit and run suspect off the streets and proven that the law will do right when people do wrong. Thank you to law enforcement, the publi, our friends, family and everyone who has helped and provided kind words and prayers.”

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