Candidate Interview – Rich Davis, LD-11 Senate

From time to time, Sonoran Alliance will be interviewing candidates who are running for office, so that our readers can better get to know the conservatives who will be asking for our votes and support.  Today, we spoke with Rich Davis, candidate for the open State Senate seat in LD11 that is being vacated by the term-limited Barbara Leff.  For more information on Rich and his campaign, you may visit his website.

Davis Photo

SA: What led you to run for office?

RD: I think it was a combination of my personal experiences, the needs that our state has and a deeprooted passion to make the state a better place. We’re going to be losing a great State Senator in Barbara Leff and we need to be sure that we elect a conservative Republican to take her place.

SA: What is it about your background that you feel lends itself to the office?

RD: You know, it is a lot of things that match up very well. For folks whose primary concern is education, I’ve been a teacher and an administrator, even a chancellor for a school system. For voters whose main interest is business and the economy, I have run a successful business and know what it means to make payroll. If border security is what matters to you, then my background in the Department of Homeland Security has given me unparalleled expertise on the topic. In every case, my job has been to look after the best interests of people, groups, businesses, as well as the community they serve, and that is very much the role of a legislator.

SA: You mentioned Homeland Security, what exactly did you do there?

RD: I was asked by President George W. Bush to work at the White House as the Director of Terrorism Prevention Policy for the Homeland Security Council. And prior to that, I served as the Director of the Task Force to Prevent the Entry of Weapons of Mass Effect and the Director of the Academe, Policy and Research Senior Advisory Committee for Secretaries Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff at the Department of Homeland Security. Big long fancy titles like you would expect to find in the Federal Government, but essentially we worked to build defenses needed to prevent terrorism here in the United States. Issues like nuclear and bio-terrorism were primary concerns of ours.

SA: Did the issue of border security come up often in those scenarios?

RD: Oh it came up all the time. You can imagine how difficult it is to protect your home when you leave the backdoor wide open, twenty-four hours a day. It is one of the many reasons why securing the border needs to be a top priority for our federal government and our state government as well. The issue of illegal immigration isn’t just about people coming for jobs. Its about drugs, crime, guns, human trafficking and abuse, welfare fraud, and of course national security above all else. We need to develop history’s most sophisticated border integrity system to help meet these challenges.

SA: The big story at the Legislature this year was the budget, and its likely to dominate next year as well. How would you approach the state’s budget woes?

RD: If you stand up in front of voters and say “We cannot spend more than we take in” everyone gets it and no one disagrees. When she was Governor, Janet Napolitano spent us into a huge hole, and now its time to get out. The only way we’re going to do that is to cut spending and make systemic changes to state government. We need to change the programs that are on auto-pilot and get the voters to give the power to spend back to the legislature. We also need to give the legislature the power to control the entire state’s budget. Right now, we are one of three states where they do not have that power. There are billions of dollars that are controlled by the Governor without any input from the elected Legislature, and that leaves us without adequate checks and balances….and that of course will add to our budget issues.

SA: As a legislator, Jan Brewer agreed with that position, but as Governor, she no longer wants to give that power to the Legislature. How would you deal with that?

RD: Putting a politician in control of billions of dollars without supervision is never a good idea. It isn’t right. The governor of Arizona should have accountability for budget decisions. Checks and balances are necessary to ensure that the taxpayers’ money isn’t squandered. Going forward, we need to insist that all of the candidates for Governor take a public position on this issue and then hold them accountable. Frankly, whether its this issue or any other, we have to be able to hold our elected officials accountable and we have to insist that they keep their words and campaign promises. Too many people have lost faith in the process because they have lost faith in the politicians, and that’s a real danger to the Republic.

SA: There is speculation that others might be interested in running in the Republican Primary for this seat. How would you deal with that?

RD: We’ve heard a lot of names that might be interested in this seat, and we’re very aware that the Democrats are also going to make a major push for it in the General Election. From early on we’ve known that this was going to be a very expensive race and that we would probably have to spend north of $100,000 to win the primary, then reload for the general. So we’ve been very aggressive with our fundraising and are delighted by the results. It is important that we elect fresh blood into the State Legislature and we most certainly need to keep this seat in the hands of a conservative Republican.

SA: You describe yourself as a conservative Republican, so are we safe in assuming that you are pro-life?

RD: Oh absolutely. I believe in the sanctity of life and marriage. I am pro-2nd Amendment, pro-State’s Rights. Pro-all the good stuff (laughing). Our party has got a great platform and I look forward to defending it.

SA: Thank you for spending this time with us.

RD: Happy to do so.


Comments

  1. Leff has been decent on immigration issues while Driggs and Meyers have both been terrible. It sounds like this guy gets what Driggs and Meyers don’t get. Border security is about a lot more than cheap labor and clients for your law firm. Its about protecting our nation, our borders, and our law-abiding citizens from bad people doing very bad things. Its good to know a real conservative is running here. Not sure he should play up the George Bush thing too much though.

  2. West Valley GOP says:

    I know there is more to life than illegal immigration, but Driggs and Meyer are both terrible on the issue. I can’t think of anything great or notable that they have achieved on any other issue that would even begin to outweigh their votes on this issue. Can we get a conservative House candidate as well?

  3. Seems like a nice enough guy, but he was in Homeland Security under Bush and is campaigning on securing the border? Come again?

  4. West Valley GOP says:

    I hear that. Although his part of the fight seemed to be fighting terrorism, and that part of stuff Bush got right. Hopefully his terrorism background will create a sense of urgency when he is trying to pass bills to do something about the border.

  5. 20/30 GOP says:

    Not only does it sound like this guy knows what it takes to secure our border, but he also has real-world experience from being a teacher and business owner, which will be useful in dealing with education and budget issues. Sounds good to me!

  6. I was thinking exactly as cinqo–if this guy thinks he’s going to ride his tough on illegal immigration record from the BUSH ADMINISTRATION to victory I think he will be disappointed…

  7. Conservative First says:

    I haven’t heard of any potential opponents here. But knowing the McCain crowd in LD11, they’ll have one in the race before its all said and done. Davis sounds pretty darn conservative to me and his website is a pretty nice read as well. But stack him up against the McCain nominee and he’ll look like Russell Pearce, no matter what you think of his resume. Let’s elect real conservatives to every open seat in the state. That’s our mission!

  8. AZ Pragmatic Conservative says:

    No matter how you feel about the Bush Administration, this guy worked to thwart terrorist activities. His resume reads, “…Director of Terrorism Prevention Policy for the Homeland Security Council. And prior to that, I served as the Director of the Task Force to Prevent the Entry of Weapons of Mass Effect and the Director of the Academe, Policy and Research Senior Advisory Committee for…” This is very impressive.

    The icing on the cake is that he believes in the sanctity of life and marriage. He’s pro-2nd Amendment and pro-state’s rights. He talks the talk and walks the walk.

  9. As a conservative, I’ve been burned too many times by people who said they were conservative but turned out not to be

    With Rick Davis all we have are his claims, he’s saying “trust me.” That’s just not good enough! Especially when his rhetoric on illegal immigration, my #1 issue, does not match his record.

  10. George Sampson says:

    He’ll be a great conservative voice for the district and the state.

  11. Ralph,

    What does your checklist look like for someone running for office and will win your vote on illegal immigration? Do they have to do a 4-week tour of duty with the minutemen?

  12. I’m really impressed with Rich. His resume and background would seem to make him an ideal candidate for dealing with border policies and the fact that he has background in education while still being a solid conservative suggests he may actually have what it takes to tackle some real reform. I would love to hear some more of his ideas, maybe Sonoran Alliance can do a follow up interview closer to the election?

  13. We plan on interviewing many candidates and posting the interviews here.

  14. Kent Walter says:

    I appreciate that he seems to be straight forward with his responses. Our State in particular needs someone with with his strong security and educaiton qualifications.

  15. Nice resume. Still, this requires some explaining:

    “SA: Did the issue of border security come up often in those scenarios?

    RD: Oh it came up all the time. You can imagine how difficult it is to protect your home when you leave the backdoor wide open, twenty-four hours a day. It is one of the many reasons why securing the border needs to be a top priority for our federal government and our state government as well. The issue of illegal immigration isn’t just about people coming for jobs. Its about drugs, crime, guns, human trafficking and abuse, welfare fraud, and of course national security above all else. We need to develop history’s most sophisticated border integrity system to help meet these challenges.”

    Despite all of this, they tried comprehensive immigration reform as their first shot at “solving” this problem. Then the 11th hour conversion.

  16. Cinqo, I suspect your ax to grind is with Bush, not Davis. His position didn’t seem to have anything to do with immigration policy, just national defense. What Bush did or did not do would seem to be something entirely different. Davis sounds like a border hawk, and thank goodness for that. Rep. Adam Driggs is exploring for that same seat and Sanctuary City Driggs is a total leftie when it comes to the issue of illegal immigration. He’s a huge McCain guy, an immigration lawyer who makes his living off of illegal immigration, and a horrible vote on the issue, personally blocking legislation to combat sanctuary city policies.

    If its Davis versus Driggs, that’s the easiest choice we’ll have all year, unless Hayworth runs against McCain. In that case, its the second easiest choice we’ll have all year.

  17. I’m not defending Driggs because I don’t know the guy, but do you have any idea what an immigration attorney actually does? They don’t work with illegal immigrants — they work to get visas and greencards, etc, for people coming to this country legally. I have a friend who does it and 90% of his work is getting legal clearance for foreign spouses to enter and remain in the country. There’s pretty much no way for any attorney, anywhere in this country, to “make a living off of illegal immigration” (as you wrote) since the system automatically sends those people back to their home country when caught.

    I get that the word “immigration” gets you salivating like one of Pavlov’s puppies, but a little knowledge will go a long way.

  18. DL11 Conservative says:

    Rich Davis sounds like a solid candidate who can come to terms with the reality our state finds itself in. Immigration is as much of a national issue as local. Isn’t it good to have a conservative with a little national experience?

    Conservative First: Our mission is to elect conservatives, why RD doesn’t sound like one?

  19. Thanks Her. Good to know. I probably made a bad assumption based on what he does for a living combined with his voting record. Good to know he has another (and presumably much more legit) reason for his bad votes.

    DL11 Conservative: Not sure what your last sentence means? I think he sounds quite conservative and am happy to help Davis get elected.

  20. Conservative First says:

    I don’t understand it either DL11. Did you get some words backwards? Is it like your name? DL instead of LD?

    If I confused you, rest assured I do think that Davis is conservative and I do hope that he gets elected.

    Word of caution to “Dude” though, because I don’t think your initial thought was wrong. Driggs doesn’t get business from illegal immigrants, so that part of “Her”s comments are correct. But his job most likely IS a big reason for his pro-amnesty bent. He doesn’t want illegals sent home, he wants “comprehensive reform”, read: Amnesty, because he’ll make a bloody fortune doing all of the paperwork for his share of the hundreds of thousands seeking amnesty.

    “Her” accidentally points it out for the rest of it, but Driggs makes no money UNLESS we have amnesty.

  21. PHX conservative says:

    i head Davis spoke really well at the LD11 meeting last night. i talked to someone that attended the event that said they really liked what Davis had to say about issues that are important to us conservatives. I like hearing that we are getting more and better conservatives out there that want to represent our party well.

  22. Conservative First says:

    Glad to hear it. So now that we’ve got a good guy in LD11, what is being done to replace Carolyn Allen in LD8>

  23. PCbutnotPC says:

    Yeah, a guy from the Bush administration who is telling people he will raise $200,000 for a legislative campaign when even the speaker of the state house race has never seen that much dough. So here we go, out of state influence peddling from a guy who says he does international security and terrorism consulting … so, when will he have time to be in Arizona to vote? Will he cut back his business?
    As for the posters who accuse Adam Driggs of being a leftee and soft on illegal immigration because he’s an immigration law attorney – well, here’s an education – Driggs cannot represent someone who is here illegally. Immigration lawyers help people who already have entered legally. Pretty limited scope, otherwise you’d see a huge cottage industry with folks lined up outside a store front LaRaza door or something.
    I want a seasoned voice who is calm and listens to people. I’m going for Adam Driggs.
    As for the House race, count on John Altmann to make another run – he’s already filed. My family voted for him last time and will again. Good family and church guy.

  24. Conservative First says:

    Geez PC, I can’t find that $200,000 figure that you’re attributing to Davis anywhere, but we’ll take your word for it. Of course, you also claim “when even the speaker of the state house race has never seen that much dough” when in fact the speaker of the house’s last race was far more than $200,000. So you’re kind of blowing it here as far as providing honest, factual information.

    Then you go to “out of state influence peddling”? So a contribution is influence peddling? Weird that influence peddling from out of state earns your scorn, yet we are left to assume that Drigg’s in state “influence peddling” as YOU call it is morally superior? Good luck convincing voters of that.

    As far as his financial interests in amnesty, I’ve already addressed it in comment #20.

    It is apparent that this will be a pretty rough race though, as you are already trying out lines of attack for Driggs to use. Heck, you could actually BE Driggs, posting for fun. I think its curious that Davis hasn’t filed any financial reports, yet you’re already stating as fact that his contributions are from “out of state”. How would you know that? Whatever your connection to Drigg’s effort, good luck to you. Running against real conservatives is usually a bad political idea, so you’ll need more than McCain’s endorsement, you’ll need some really good luck. See you at the ballot box.

  25. PCbutnotPC says:

    Conservative first – so you are saying Adam Driggs is not a conservative? So, when we elect someone who goes to the Legislature and works hard to put through good legislation and find reasonable budget solutions, they are branded as not being conservative.
    No, I am not Driggs. But, I like the guy and will be supporting him, not some left over from the Bush administration. That worked so well for us in 2008.
    Adam brings people together and does not engage in devisive debates.
    LD11 is not the East Valley or the far West Valley.
    But, blogs are what they are.

  26. I stumbled across this and was excited to see Rich running for office. I worked with Rich during his years in education (I was a Board member of the school system where he was a teacher, assistant principal, then chancellor). He left to go to Harvard and ended up working at the White House…none of us were surprised. Rich is the real deal and a very hard worker. He is a visionary and definitely a solid conservative. I wish him well and am trying to find out if I have any AZ friends who live in District 11. If you get a chance to talk to him privately, ask about the non-profit he started.

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