New Appointee Braswell is Lone GOP Vote Against School Choice

David Braswell

For children who are trapped in failing schools, there are few choices and very few ways out of their bad schools.  Parents can pack their belongings, sell their home, and move to a new school district, but in today’s economy only the financially fortunate have that option, and they are usually already living in good school districts.  So Republican State Representative Rick Murphy introduced HCR2057, which would give a voucher to parents of kids stuck in failing schools that would allow them to transfer to a better school, even if it is a private or parochial school.

The concept is simple, and one that conservatives have rallied around for years.  There is no excuse for forcing children into failing schools.  It is, quite simply, morally inexcusable.  Defenders of the status quo, or those who put the interests of the education unions and bureaucracy before the needs of the children argue that all school districts need to improve is more time and more money, and that removing the kids hurts the district.  Yet after hundreds of billions of dollars, decades of time, and millions of children graduated from public schools who lacked the fundamental skills needed to read their own diplomas, that excuse is no longer credible.

Yet that argument is what the voters of LD6 are being treated to by newly appointed State Senator David Braswell.  Braswell was appointed to fill the vacancy created when Pamela Gorman resigned to run for Congress.  Gorman would have been a Yes vote on the measure, but Braswell is a longtime school board President who makes his living selling computer software to school districts.  So it came as no surprise that Braswell looked after the bureaucracy rather than the students.

Ironically, the bill’s author Rick Murphy, also sits on a school board, but he apparently considers his responsibility to be looking after the best interests of the students.  Fortunately for the children of Arizona, Murphy was able to overcome the united opposition of Braswell and the committee Democrats, and the bill passed.  While it faces several remaining hurdles before it can reach the ballot, those kids passing the prospect of another long year in a failing school have hope again.  No thanks to liberals like Republican David Braswell.

Shadegg Opposes Auto Bailout, Proposes Taxpayer Bailouts

Congressman Shadegg has introduced a couple bills that will help real Americans, not the auto industry. Nice to see there are still some good ideas coming out of Washington. Here is his release:

Shadegg Opposes Auto Bailout, Proposes Taxpayer Bailouts

Shadegg: “I believe taxpayers should decide which businesses survive and which need to be restructured to remain competitive.”

Washington, DC— Congressman John Shadegg today issued the following statement last night after voting against the Auto Industry Financing and Restructuring Act (H.R. 7321) and instead, introducing two economic alternatives:

“If anyone needs a bailout in this economy it’s the American taxpayer. Politicians shouldn’t be picking winners and losers; the American people should.

“I voted against the massive auto industry bailout, not because I don’t care about America’s auto industry, or the workers in that industry, but because I believe taxpayers should decide which businesses survive and which need to be restructured to remain competitive.

“The American people, those in the auto industry, and those in every other industry need help right now. While I would favor permanent tax relief, I also believe a substantial tax holiday will do more to stimulate our economy than another taxpayer-funded bailout. Average Americans, not politicians, should determine which companies deserve to be rewarded and which do not. The banking industry bailout enacted just weeks ago has proven that Washington is clueless when it comes to the American economy. And, it’s been a spectacular failure.

The bills I introduced today would stimulate the economy and be a tremendous boon for every struggling American family. Under the first proposal, individuals making less than $125,000, or couples making up to $250,000, in 2008 would owe no income taxes. Taxes withheld to date would be refunded to these taxpayers to use as they see fit. Those making over these amounts would pay income tax at 5% below the otherwise applicable rate. The alternate bill, would suspend both payroll and income taxes for the first six months of 2009.

These plans would return, on average, roughly $5,700 to $6,400 to each taxpayer. Either would cost dramatically less than the bloated $7 trillion bailout packages peddled by congressional Democrats and the Bush Administration.

“The federal government has demonstrated utter incompetence in solving our nation’s economic problems over the past three months. It’s time to put the control of our economy back in the hands of the American people.”

Pelosi’s Head Fake

Democrats felt the heat from constituents during the 5-week Congressional summer break. Instead of doing something real – which is what Americans expect – Pelosi is putting a bill on the floor on Tuesday that, if passed into law, would ultimately fail to produce one drop of oil.

The reason? She knows that her allies in the radical environmentalist movement will be lined up to sue on every attempt to drill. Want proof? Just look at the record. The following information comes from Congressman John Shadegg – demonstrating that he continues to stay completely engaged in the public policy fight, even while engaged in an active campaign.

Take a look at the information, and it’s no wonder our gas prices remain high and we continue our over-reliance on foreign oil.

Prepared by the Office of Congressman John Shadegg

    LEGAL CHALLENGES BY ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS ARE BLOCKING OR SIGNIFICANTLY DELAYING OIL LEASES AND PRODUCTION

Radical environmentalists challenged every lease in the Chuckchi Sea:

• The Administration issued 487 leases in the Chuckchi Sea Sale 193 in February 2008.
• The Center for Biological Diversity, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club, and other radical environmental organizations, in January 2008, filed a pre-emptive suit challenging all 487 leases under the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act.
• Status: Currently pending. (U.S. District Court Alaska; Case No. 1:08-cv-0004-RRB)

Radical environmentalists challenged the entire 2007-2012 5-year national OCS leasing program:

• The Administration, in July 2007, proposed a national schedule to issue oil leases over a 5-year period (2007-2012) in the outer continental shelf, including Alaska.
• The Center for Biological Diversity and other radical environmental organizations immediately filed suit challenging all existing leases and all future leases under the Endangered Species Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and various other laws.
• Status: Currently pending. (U.S. Court of Appeals for District of Columbia; Case NO. 07-1247)

Radical environmentalists challenged exploration activities of every lease in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas:
• There are 748 leases which lie in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas
• The Center for Biological Diversity, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and other radical environmental organizations, in May 2008, sued, challenging all seismic activity at all 748 leases in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas under the National Environmental Policy Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
• Status: Currently pending. (U.S. District Court of Alaska; Case No. 1:08-cv-0001-RRB; U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals; Case No. 08-35571)

Radical environmentalists block proposed drilling plans:

• On February 15, 2007, the Minerals Management Service approved the proposed exploration plan for 12 leases in the Beaufort Sea.
• The Center for Biological Diversity, the Natural Resource Defense Council, the Sierra Club, and other radical environmental organizations sued in April 2007 and obtained a court order halting drilling on all 12 leases. This order has already stopped activity for two years.
• Status: Currently pending. (U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals; Case No. 07-71457)

Radical environmentalists sue under FOIA seeking evidence for use in future litigation to block all leases:

• The Administration issued 487 leases in the Chukchi Sea Sale 193 in February 2008
• The Center for Biological Diversity and the Natural Resource Defense Council, in January 2008, sued under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), seeking documents for their effort to stop all oil exploration and production.
• Status: Currently pending. (U.S. District Court of Alaska; Case No. 3:08-cv-00159-RRB)

Radical environmentalists protest every lease in BLM New Mexico State Office lease sale:

• On July 16, 2008, the BLM New Mexico State Office auctioned 78 leases in New Mexico, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas.
• The Western Environmental Law Center and the Wild Earth Guardians preemptively, on July 1, 2008, administratively challenged all 78 leases under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act. (43 CFR 3120.1-3)
• Status: Currently pending. (Bureau of Land Management)

Radical environmentalists block a majority of oil and gas leases in the Rocky Mountain States:

• In 2007, approximately 50% of the oil and gas leases in the Rocky Mountain States were administratively challenged. (Bureau of Land Management)
• In Utah alone, oil and gas development on millions of acres is being held up by environmental groups. (U.S. District Court, Utah Central; Case No. 2:04CV574 DAK)

More on Shadegg – will he stay?

The boys at RedState.com are calling on conservatives to join them in encouraging Congressman John Shadegg to stay in the U.S. House to continue the conservative fight:

We at Redstate wholeheartedly concur with those who circulated the letter – Reps. Pence, Hensarling, and Hoekstra – and with the other 130+ House GOPers’ call for Mr. Shadegg to run for reelection and to remain in office. These are critical times for our nation, and Washington needs leaders of his caliber.

The Arizona Republic and East Valley Tribune have coverage here and here.  Look for a growing crescendo of support for Shadegg to stay in the House.  National conservative leaders are worried that losing someone of Shadegg’s caliber will hurt the overall movement. 

WOW!

Breaking from Roll Call:

130 Colleagues Urge Shadegg to Stay

Thursday, Feb. 14, 2008; 7:29 pm

 

Motivated by a letter signed by more than 130 of his House GOP colleagues urging him to forgo retirement and run for re-election, Rep. John Shadegg (R-Ariz.) could be reconsidering his decision to call it quits upon the conclusion of his current term, a well-placed Republican source said late Thursday.

The letter, spearheaded by Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), comes in response to Shadegg’s surprise decision, announced Monday, not to seek an eighth House term. Pence, a former chairman of the Republican Study Committee — a caucus of conservative House Republicans — followed Shadegg in that post.

“As your colleagues, your fellow conservatives, and your friends, we sincerely ask that you reconsider your decision to retire from Congress,” reads the letter, a copy of which was obtained by Roll Call. “John, you continue to inspire, embolden, and lead. The Republican Conference needs you here, the Conservative Movement needs you here, and the country needs you here. Please reconsider.”

The letter was circulating on Capitol Hill on Thursday, although Shadegg had yet to officially receive it, according to the source, who nevertheless said that the “unprecedented” nature of so many Members appealing for Shadegg to reconsider was giving him pause.

“Never before have more than 130 members signed a letter asking a fellow Member to stay,” the source said. “I’m sure [Shadegg] takes that seriously.”

Shadegg raised more than $1 million in 2007 to close the year with $864,000 on hand, and had given every indication that he was going to run for re-election this year in his Republican-leaning, suburban Phoenix 3rd district. In the wake of his retirement announcement Monday, a half-dozen Republicans were contemplating running for his seat. Attorney Bob Lord, who had banked more than $500,000 at the end of 2007, is the likely Democratic nominee.

Late last year, House Republican leaders tried to persuade Rep. Jim Ramstad (R-Minn.) to reverse the retirement announcement he had made early in the fall, but he has yet to do so.

— David M. Drucker

 

Lord Needs Help From On High

The latest FEC reports should put to rest any of the speculation that Bob Lord will be competitive against Congressman John Shadegg in CD 3.

Lord garnered attention early in the year when he filed with just over $120,000 for the first quarter, while Shadegg filed just $19,000.  Obviously, Shadegg was not expecting an early challenge, but quickly bounced back, raising a whopping $312,000 and ending the 2nd quarter with $50,000 more cash-on-hand than Lord.

Now, the year-end reports paint a very clear picture:  Bob Lord doesn’t have a chance in hell (or in heaven) to beat John Shadegg.

Shadegg raised a stunning $495,000 in the fourth quarter – more than any other candidate in the state when you subtract any personal candidate money loaned (ie, Schweikert).  Lord, with a top-tier fundraising event in D.C. with the DCCC Chairman and with a major event with Governor Janet Napolitano during the fourth quarter managed to only scrape together $211,000.  When an incumbent – and a popular one at that – ends the off-year with a $360,000 cash-on-hand advantage, turn the lights out, the party is over.

If anyone doubts the desperation of the Democrats in the face of the fundraising onslaught by Shadegg, just take a look at the attacks they have launched against him in the last two weeks.  They fed a bogus story to their in-house press operation (the Arizona Republic) attacking Shadegg’s ethics (a clear non-starter with anyone who has followed Shadegg’s career), filed a frivolous complaint with the FEC about the bogus allegation, attacked Shadegg’s contributors, attacked his vote against the stimulus package and then launched thousands of robocalls into his district to take that attack directly to voters.

Shadegg’s response was a good-natured jab at the Democrats, thanking them for communicating his position to voters in his district and suggesting that they may need to file an in-kind contribution with the FEC because it directly supports his re-election.

So, why all the attacks in the last two weeks?  The only explanation is that Shadegg’s campaign put out a press release in the middle of January reporting his huge fundraising quarter and announcing that he would be filing with an eye-popping $863,000 cash-on-hand.  When that got out, the choking sound down on Indian School was Bob Lord spitting up his morning coffee.  Democrat spinster, Emily Bitnner’s head was about to explode and the out-of-state-manager-that-beat-a-Pennsylvania-Republican-incumbent-who-strangled-his-mistress Drew Eldredge-Martin (what guy has a hyphenated last name?  Oh, I guess we have to ask Jeff Hatch-Miller) realized that managing a campaign in 2006 against a weak Republican incumbent who HAD POLICE CHARGES FILED AGAINST HIM (and still only lost by a smallish margin), was very different than coming into Arizona and trying to manage the campaign of a little-known leftist Democrat against a popular incumbent in a very safe Republican seat.  Essentially, they went into full panic mode and the mudfest began.

Bottom line?  In Presidential year, in a district that gave Bush 58% of the vote in 2004 and Shadegg nearly 60% of the vote in 2006, this district is staying deep red.  But there will be plenty of mud to clean off as the Democrats try to keep up the facade of a real race.

Returning to Reagan

A small group of solid conservative Members of Congress have launched an effort to return to the principles of Ronald Reagan.  This is sorely needed in the Republican ranks in D.C.  One of the more significant developments of this effort is that all Members who have joined the group have pledged to not seek earmarks.  Given that there were only eight members of Congress who don’t seek earmarks before (including Congressmen Shadegg and Flake) this is a step in the right direction. 

The Members at the press conference announcing what they are calling “Reagan21” included Sens. Tom Coburn and Jim DeMint and Congressmen John Shadegg, Jeb Hensarling, Tom Price, Paul Ryan and John Campbell.

Congressman Shadegg posted an announcement about the effort on Red State.  Here are a couple excerpts:
 

The choices for America have never been clearer.  On almost every issue, Democrats and the left are promoting more government ownership and control, pushing America closer to a welfare state.  All of the Democratic Presidential hopefuls are running on a decidedly collectivist and socialistic leaning platform…

Americans need a clear alternative to the Democrats radical agenda.  Reagan 21 is composed of individual Americans, including Congressmen and Senators, who are committed to fight for Reagan’s principles of liberty and America’s vision of individual freedom, free enterprise, and common-sense traditional values… 

These are the principles of liberty that will once again make the party of Ronald Reagan the party that will guide America’s future…

Americans need to know that there are some in Congress, and across the country, still committed to freedom, and anyone who shares these principles will be welcome to join Reagan 21 and participate in its activities…

I encourage you to join us in this effort.  You read can more about Reagan 21 by going to www.reagan21.org.  

 The other Members who are a part of Reagan21 include Sen. Richard Burr and Congressmen (and women): Michele Bachman (MN), Gresham Barrett (SC), Marsha Blackburn (TN), Eric Cantor (VA), Jeff Flake (AZ), Virginia Foxx (NC), Trent Franks (AZ), Patrick McHenry (NC), Marilyn Musgrave (CO), Peter Roskam (IL), and Lynn Westmoreland (GA).

Long Overdue

One of the great economists of our time, Walter Williams, has a great column in the Washington Times.  Some excerpts:

In each new Congress since 1995, Rep. John Shadegg, Arizona Republican, has introduced the proposed Enumerated Powers Act (HR 1359). The bill, yet to be enacted into law, reads: “Each Act of Congress shall contain a concise and definite statement of the constitutional authority relied upon for the enactment of each portion of that Act. The failure to comply with this section shall give rise to a point of order in either House of Congress. The availability of this point of order does not affect any other available relief.”

Just a few of the numerous statements by our Founders demonstrate that their vision and the vision of Mr. Shadegg’s Enumerated Powers Act are one and the same. James Madison, in explaining the Constitution in Federalist Paper No. 45, said, “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation and foreign commerce.”

I’m sure that if Founders such as Madison, Jefferson or John Adams were campaigning for the 2008 presidential elections, expressing their vision of the federal government’s role, today’s Americans would run them out of town on a rail. Does that hostility reflect constitutional ignorance whereby the average American thinks the Constitution authorizes Congress to do anything upon it can get a majority vote on or anything that’s a good idea? Or, are Americans contemptuous of the constitutional limitations placed on the federal government?

I salute the bravery of Mr. Shadegg and the 28 co-sponsors of the Enumerated Powers Act. They face a monumental struggle. Congress is not alone in its constitutional contempt, but is joined by the White House and particularly the constitutionally derelict U.S. Supreme Court.

Good to know that Arizona continues to have conservative, Constitutionally-minded representation.

Live from Reno, it’s Saturday (Night)!

The Conservative Leadership Conference has been underway since Thursday.  While Sonoran Alliance isn’t “live blogging” from the site, other good conservative bloggers are.  The Arizona connection is that the Honorary Chairman of the CLC is Congressman John Shadegg.  The engine behind CLC is the indefatigable, conservative-extraodinare Chuck Muth.  It’s been his goal to build a “CPAC for the West.”

Edward Morrissey’s “Captain Quarter’s” blog (one of the big –time national blogs in the conservative movement) is live blogging on the speeches and presentations at CLC.  His coverage of the previous couple days has been exhaustive and worth the read.

Here is his take on Congressman Shadegg’s speech this afternoon.  And he’ll have coverage of J.D. Hayworth’s speech later this afternoon.

 

John Shadegg addresses the CLC after an introduction by Rep. Dean Heller (R-NV), who sat on yesterday’s 2008 prognostication panel with me. Heller calls Shadegg a “true exception” to the stereotype of politicians who lose their way once they get to Washington. I met with Rep. Shadegg earlier this morning, and I found him very approachable, humble, and gracious, so that description seems particularly apt…
[Shadegg] also complimented the CLC organizers for sticking to their guns and holding the conference this far outside of DC…
When they reached DC in 1994, people warned that the Beltway would change them, and not the other way around. Shadegg says they were proven right; they became the party of Jack Abramoff and earmarks. The culture of corruption eroded their credibility and their efficacy. Freshman Republicans were told to spend 98% of their time raising money, and to load up on earmarks for their home districts.
“There is no amount of money in the world that will elect a party without principles.” By 2006, the Republicans became the Washington they intended to defeat in 1994.
We still have to clean our own house first. Republicans need to exemplify a standard of conduct that will allow them to regain the trust of the electorate. That means abandoning incumbents who act unethically. It means real reform, real transparency, and a thorough house-cleaning that will set an example the Democrats simply won’t meet.
Shadegg hits Democrats especially hard on earmark reform. They have championed a process that will only make earmarks transparent after they spend the money. Without transparency, earmarks and their corrosive effects cannot be stopped. They will still have the ability to manipulate the voters and Congress through the exploitation of taxpayers funds.
Shadegg is a very effective speaker, and he has everyone’s attention. I haven’t heard him speak in person before, and I’m very impressed. Sean Hackbarth called the speech “further confirmation that the Republicans chose the wrong leadership,” and although I think John Boehner has done a good job, it’s hard not to draw that conclusion.

 

(Race) Blind Justice

One of my favorite conservative commentators, Thomas Sowell, has a great column today about one of my favorite Judges, Clarence Thomas.

It is hard to believe that it was exactly 16 years ago that many a conservative of my generation sat riveted to the TV screen during Thomas’ confirmation hearings.  We didn’t quite remember the Bork hearings, but we knew that the experience of Judge Bork made the Thomas hearings that much more important.  The overreach by the left (and their Democrat allies in the Senate) are largely forgotten, but there is no doubt that the Thomas hearings were in the minds of voters in the 1994 elections (particularly after seeing the judicial picks of Clinton).

Here are a few excerpts of the Sowell piece, but it is worth reading the entire thing:

In an era when too many judges, including justices of the Supreme Court, seem to be playing to the media gallery — if not writing opinions or leaking information with an eye toward favorable coverage in the press — Justice Thomas’s refusal to play that game tells us a lot about him.His memoir tells us more. Born in material poverty beyond anything experienced even by people on welfare today, Clarence Thomas was raised with an abundance of discipline and character-building that would pay off in later life…

The other great myth about Justice Thomas is that he is a lonely and embittered man, withdrawn from the world, as a result of the brutal confirmation hearings he went through back in 1991.

Clarence Thomas was never a social butterfly. You didn’t see his name in the society pages or at media events, either before he got on the High Court or afterward.

In reality, Justice Thomas has been all over the place, giving talks, especially to young people, and inviting some of them to his offices at the Supreme Court.

Summers find him driving his own bus all around the country, mixing with people at truck stops, trailer parks, and mall parking lots. The fact that he is not out grandstanding for the media does not mean that he is hunkering down in his cellar.
Clarence Thomas’s sense of humor is terrific. Whenever I am on the phone with someone and laughing repeatedly, my wife usually asks me afterward, “Was that Clarence?” It usually is.

Now, thanks to his book, the public can get to know the man himself, rather than the cardboard image created by the media.

Thomas is misunderstood, and still hated by the left.  But he wears that disdain as a badge of honor, because every day that he walks into the Supreme Court he knows that he can be a force for good, and the leftist who tried to destroy him can do nothing about it.  He is a consistent voice of reason and a true constructionist on the court.  And we are a better nation to have him there.