Now, Becky….

A Letter to the Editor that include the phrase, “I am outraged…” is a letter from a zealot.

Right or Left, they all arise from the same crop of pods (yes, I did watch “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” last night on Turner Classic Movies, thank you). One arrived from a Person of the Outraged Left in The Republic today.

“I am outraged that our senator, Jeff Flake, during his time to question the Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch would ask: ‘Would you rather fight 100 duck-sized horses, or one horse-sized duck?” wrote Republic reader Ms. Becky (full name withheld because maybe she’s taken a pill and calmed down by now).

You know, it was an odd question for Sen. Flake to ask. But with all the purple-faced fake outrage being directed by the Left against Gorsuch (the worst? the absolute worst? oh, yesssss: Right here), a little silliness doesn’t hurt.

Flake in fact has indicated just how seriously he takes Gorsuch’s nomination. And his seriousness won’t please Ms. Becky.

But here is the thing: After four days of Senate hearings with this elegant, intelligent constitutionalist, a reasonable person — Ms. Becky in her present state of pique clearly excluded — simply cannot end a Letter to the Editor with this, and not be pegged as a Perpetually Outraged Pod Person:

“Gorsuch is not fit to sit on the Supreme Court. He must be opposed.”

Trent Franks, Other Arizona Conservatives Need to Keep Healthcare Promises

By Sam Stone

The Trump Administration may be less than two months old, but for conservatives, it may already be D-Day in Washington.

In less than 48 hours, the House of Representatives is set to vote on the curiously named “American Health Care Act” – the current GOP effort being pushed by Speaker Paul Ryan as a repeal and replacement of Obamacare.

This bill is the wrong idea at the wrong time and it does not deserve a “yes” vote. Right now, the count says that it’s too close to call. So every member of Congress counts.

Here’s our question: Will Trent keep his promise to repeal and replace Obamacare in a responsible way?

Let’s step back.

Trent Franks is no rookie when it comes to opposing Obamacare. Look at his record here. Lots of detail and votes against what he consistently calls: “Health care proposals that wrested control of the American health care industry from the hands of private organizations and turn it over to the federal government.”

Right when this year’s Congress began, Franks and Congressman Andy Biggs introduced the Protection from Obamacare Mandates and Congressional Equity Act.

Franks said it contained three bedrock principles:

  • First, it gives every American more coverage options.
  • Second, it would allow Americans to purchase their coverage across state lines, opening up more opportunities for competition that will, in turn, help to lower costs for consumers.
  • Third, our alternative protects the patient-doctor relationship.

Just a month ago, Rep. Franks said: “My concern is [a repeal-replace bill] will give some lackadaisical senator a reason to vote against it. My concern is the entire repeal is in mortal danger … There may be some people who will get weak-kneed.”

These are valid concerns, but they sound like reasons not to vote for the current plan, which has all sorts of problems.

The reliable conservative policy think tank Heritage Action makes the fundamental case that the AHCA falls short:

“Many Americans seeking health insurance on the individual market will notice no significant difference between the Affordable Care Act (i.e., Obamacare) and the American Health Care Act.  That is bad politics and, more importantly, bad policy.

“Rather than accept the flawed premises of Obamacare, congressional Republicans should fully repeal the failed law and begin a genuine effort to deliver on longstanding campaign promises that create a free market health care system that empowers patients and doctors.”

Congressman Franks is a solid conservative leader. Currently, he is listed as “leaning no.” That’s why this is the ideal time to give him the support, encouragement and, well, cautionary warning he may need to stay true to his principles and his promises by not resting until Obamacare is gone – and in its place a true, principled alternative – instead of Obamacare-lite.

House Ed Chair Paul Boyer, Rep. Drew John Endorse Tracy Livingston for Superintendent

Phoenix, AZ – Two more members of the Arizona House of Representatives, House Education Committee Chairman Paul Boyer (R-LD20) and Representative Drew John (R-LD14) today announced their support for Tracy Livingston as the  next Superintendent of Public Instruction.

“As Chairman of the House Education Committee, I am responsible for advancing policies that will strengthen every classroom in Arizona,” said Rep. Boyer. “As a teacher, I am responsible for the best interests of my classroom full of kids. Because I have to approach education from both perspectives, I am very encouraged by what I’ve seen and heard from Tracy Livingston. I’m supporting Tracy for Superintendent of Public Instruction because we need someone who understands the impact education policies have on kids, on teachers, and our classrooms. Tracy will fight to end Common Core and will champion giving parent’s choices and control over their kids’ education.”

Echoing the sentiments of his colleague, Rep. John had this to say: “Improving Arizona’s schools will require more than just good policies. We are going to need dedicated teachers who love their kids and what they do. And what better place to put just such a teacher than into the office of State Superintendent. That’s why I’m endorsing Tracy Livingston and why I hope you will support her.”

While 13 states currently elect their Superintendent, none of those elected in recent years appear to have spent the majority – or even a significant portion – of their careers in the classroom. Unlike them, Tracy Livingston has spent her entire career teaching kids and understands the needs of students, parents and teachers alike.

“The non-traditional student of 20 years ago is now the norm,” Mrs. Livingston noted, “and teachers are having to adapt, but school policy and administration isn’t keeping up. Teachers are facing a greater burden today than ever before, yet the enormous run-up in educational spending over these last few decades hasn’t reached the classroom. As a classroom teacher, I know we can do better – and I know what we need to do to make it happen. It’s time for a teacher to lead.”

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Mrs. Livingston is a graduate of Arizona State University with a Bachelors in Broadcasting from the Walter Cronkite School, and a Masters of Education. First elected in 2014, Tracy is a member and former President of the Maricopa Community College Governing Board. Before that, she served two years on the Peoria Unified School Board. Tracy has also served as an elected Republican Precinct Committeeman in Legislative District 22 since 2011.

Tracy and her husband, David, have one son, Kyle, who is an EMT in Prescott, Arizona. David Livingston is a member of the Arizona House of Representatives. The family currently lives in Peoria with their two rescue Siberian Huskies, Katie and Spencer.

Bob Stump: Why is Airbnb funding a group attacking Arizona Republicans?

All you Airbnb fans take heed! The company has decided to inject itself into Arizona politics by funneling dark money against Republicans. In this letter, former Arizona Corporation Commissioner Bob Stump hits back with an email to Arizona legislators.

Bob StumpDear Honorable Member:

It is rare for me to contact you as a private citizen and former colleague. I believe this issue is important enough to merit it.

An extremist far-left organization, Checks and Balances, is active again in Arizona. Yet again, it is attacking elected Republicans.

I fully expect Republican members of the House and Senate to be next.

Airbnb, which has enjoyed a friendly regulatory environment in Arizona thanks to you, is funding Checks and Balances. According to Penn State’s Daily Collegian, “Airbnb representative Nick Papas said Airbnb supports the work CBP does.”

What exactly is this “work”? Smearing, suing or harassing Arizona Republican officeholders such as Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, members of the Arizona Corporation Commission — including four Commission chairs — and yours truly.

Consider the “work” of the group Airbnb supports financially:

In an act of pure malice, Checks and Balances published my mother’s private mobile number on the Internet.

At a cost of hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars and staff time, and with the help of Democratic activist Dan Barr, Checks and Balances sued the Arizona Corporation Commission in an attempt to break the chain of custody of my phone and publish private text messages to my family and friends. Despite Checks and Balances’ conspiratorial fantasies, I was vindicated in court: Two judges determined that nothing retrieved from my phone met the definition of a public document.

Undeterred by losing in court every single time, Checks and Balances has taken to the pages of the Arizona Capitol Times to attack Arizona Corporation Commission Chair Tom Forese and Commission legal counsel Tim LaSota, who defended me in court.

Until recently, SolarCity, the nation’s largest solar rooftop leasing company, sponsored Checks and Balances. SolarCity’s aim was to attack and sue sitting regulators nationwide, in an attempt to alter regulatory outcomes and thereby enhance SolarCity’s bottom line.

SolarCity was shamed into withdrawing their support for Checks and Balances.

It is past time for Airbnb to follow SolarCity’s lead and cease funding a mercenary band of character assassins which exists to intimidate citizens at the behest of its corporate sponsors.

Airbnb’s CEO, Brian Chesky, ignored my letter to him, written when I was a sitting member of the Arizona Corporation Commission. Perhaps he will be more responsive to you.

I would suggest you contact Mr. Chesky and his lobbying team and ask why Airbnb is funding an unsavory group that sues and smears Arizona Republicans.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. And thank you for your service to our great state.

Sincerely yours,

Bob Stump

Former member and Health Committee Chair, Arizona House of Representatives (2002-2008)
Former Commissioner and Commission Chair, Arizona Corporation Commission (2008-2017)

Sen. Jeff Flake Stands Up for Arizona’s Consumers and Businesses

Takes to the Senate Floor to Raise Concerns with Border Adjustment Tax

Phoenix, AZ – Today, Americans for Affordable Products, a coalition of nearly 200 businesses, local organizations, and trade associations united to stop the Border Adjustment Tax or BAT, and its resulting increased prices on everyday necessities, thanked Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) for speaking out on the U.S. Senate floor to raise his concerns with the BAT.

The Border Adjustment Tax is a provision of House Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) tax reform plan, which, if enacted, would levy a 20 percent tax on imported goods.

During the floor speech, Senator Flake expressed his worry that BAT “could make everyday consumer products more expensive at the very places that middle-class families shop the most…[and] household staples could be pushed out of reach for those who can least afford it.” He went on to say that he’s looking forward to working with his colleagues on tax reform, “but we ought to make sure that the middle class isn’t in the losing column.”

“Senator Flake’s stout defense of Arizona’s businesses and consumers earlier today cannot be lauded enough,” said John Arterburn, owner of Ace Hardware in Pinnacle Peak. “A 20 percent tax on imported products could threaten the viability of my business, forcing me to make tough choices – I’d either have to raise prices or eliminate staff.”

If enacted, the Border Adjustment Tax could result in American consumers spending an additional $1,700 per year on basic necessities like food, clothing, medicine and gasoline.

“Everyone agrees, simplifying our complicated tax code is very much needed, but shifting the burden onto the backs of the middle class while killing U.S. jobs is not the way to do it,” said Robert Medler, VP of Government Affairs for the Tucson Metro Chamber. “Senator Flake hit the nail on the head today – we need tax reform in this country, but introducing a Border Adjustment Tax which amounts to a hidden tax on consumers and punishes those that are the least fortunate dampens what would otherwise be a popular plan.”

Americans for Affordable Products is a coalition of job creators, entrepreneurs, business leaders and consumers united against higher prices on everyday necessities. To learn more, please visit: www.KeepAmericaAffordable.com.

Additional Information:

  • Resources: Coalition Infographic, Myth vs. Fact, and More
  • Press Release: AAP Launches Opposition to BAT

To schedule an interview with an Americans for Affordable Products representative, please email press@KeepAmericaAffordable.com.

House Democrats Oppose Effort to Prohibit Public Money from Going to Political Parties

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – The House of Representatives today failed to pass HB 2403, legislation sponsored by Representative Coleman which would prohibit Clean Elections candidates from contributing public funds to political parties.

Doug Coleman

Rep Doug Coleman

While a majority of House members supported HB 2403, it failed to achieve support from three-fourths of the body, which is required to amend statutes created through the initiative process.  Republicans overwhelmingly supported the measure, but Democrats opposed it.

“Clean Elections candidates are supposed to use public money to run for office, not to line the coffers of their political party,” said Representative Coleman.  “This is an abusive manipulation of the Clean Elections system and violates the trust of Arizona voters, yet Democrats would apparently rather protect the interests of their political party than taxpayers.”

My Concerns with Jim O’Connor

By Chris Herring

As the newly elected MCRC Chairman I feel it is vitally important that the relationship between the county party and the AZGOP be healed. Discord between the two has festered for too long, makes the party weaker, and is a public black eye to the conservative cause.

Chris Herring

Chris Herring

Key to a healthy working relationship is a foundation of trust. Trust that no matter our disagreements we all work towards the same goals, Republican victories, not personal ambitions.

Unfortunately I now have serious concerns regarding my ability to trust one of the candidates who may direct the AZGOP if elected.

Below you will see outlined multiple occasions over the last several months where I was purposefully lied to and misled by Jim O’Connor. The below have nothing to do with his personal politics or his goals for the party, on which O’Connor stated to me personally that we largely are in agreement. These examples show that with repeated actions by Jim, I cannot trust what he tells me face to face, looking me in the eye.

On September 7th Jim pulled me aside in the office of the AZGOP to discuss his intent to run for AZGOP chairman. I told Jim during this conversation of my intent to run for county chairman. Jim was aware that I was thinking about running and that was one reason he wanted to talk to me. He wanted to assure me that he would stay neutral no matter who may run against me. He said it was important he stayed neutral because if we both won we would need to work together. I agreed with him. Unfortunately he was lying.

After the meeting I was pulled aside by another person in attendance and informed that Jim was attempting to recruit a candidate to run against me and was trying to organizing meetings for people to meet the possible candidate. The exact opposite of staying neutral as he went out of his way to assure me just hours before. I never asked him to do that. He intentionally pulled me aside to try and deceive me.

Over the next two months I was contacted on multiple occasions by PCs across the county stating that Jim had personally talked to them and shared his negative feelings about me. Fortunately for me some of the people he was speaking with knew me personally and knew that the misinformation he was spreading was false.

Finally I had enough. I reached out to Jim through mutual friends and asked him to speak. I shared the information I had been told about him talking to others about me. Jim responded that he “had concerns” but had never reached out to me about them. He also shared that he had indeed been trying to personally recruit someone to run against me but despite significant effort hadn’t found anyone. This conversation took place on December 1st.

I invited him to ask anything he wanted and he spent over 2 hours doing just that. When we were done Jim said he felt we were far more aligned than he thought, I had addressed all his concerns, and he had no plans to back anyone else for county chair. Wonderful.

Unfortunately that was also untrue. Jim left the call stating he would set up meetings for me to meet other PCs so they could get to know me. Of course this never happened.

Twice more I met with Jim in December both on the phone and face to face, meetings he initiated. I asked about meetings he said he would arrange, he said he still would and praised me on the good job I was doing on my campaign.

Unfortunately he was secretly helping my opponent. I didn’t share with Jim but I was already aware that his continued outreach to me was disingenuous. But I wanted to see if he would come clean or continue going out of his way to lie to me.

As the election approached I stopped talking to Jim. Unfortunately he didn’t stop his deception. The day of the election he expressed well wishes and praise to me. After the election PCs came up to me and shared that Jim was personally going around to PCs during voting asking them not to vote for me.

It’s fine that he opposed me. It’s an election, people pick sides. But how can I trust someone who consistently went out of their way to privately pull me aside and then repeatedly lie and try to convince me I should trust him, when he was actively working against me.

If deception, deceit, and back room shenanigans are what you want for the AZGOP then vote for O’Connor. But don’t expect this county chair to trust a thing he says or does. I’m done believing his lies.

Chris Herring
Chairman, Maricopa County GOP

 

Sal DiCiccio: $16 Million Wasted In Just One Day By City Of Phoenix

Sal DiCiccio

Last week, I wrote about the structural deficit our city is facing. Our deficit problems will continue until we make public safety our priority and cut spending in non-essential areas. On Tuesday, city staff gave a presentation regarding the budget deficit forecast. The forecast, which did not come as a surprise to me, shows our deficit continuing to grow out of control, even while we collect increased revenue.

The day after the budget deficit presentation, I voted NO on the following expenses, all of which the Phoenix City Council ultimately approved:

  • $3,668,564 to Downtown Phoenix Inc – a group that already taxes private businesses against their will to spend money on the Downtown area
  • $16,000 to National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials – annual membership fee
  • $60,000 to Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) Local 777 to buy promotional and training material for themselves
  • $108,000 to Ballard Spahr LLP- lobbyists (this is on top of the hundreds of thousands of dollars they already spent on lobbyists at the last council meeting)
  • $12,170,000 to change just 4 bus routes
  • $750,000 to join the ASU Global Institute of Sustainability

TOTAL: $16,772,564

Just during a single city council meeting, we could have cut $16 million of unnecessary spending. But instead, we continued to add to the structural deficit problems we face.

As long as we continue to spend in this manner, we will continue to see your taxpayer monies wasted. And city officials will continue to have their hand out, telling you they need to increase your taxes because they are short on revenues. They’re not. They just have a spending problem.

You have my commitment to continue to protect you, your family and your hard earned tax dollars.

My best to you,

Sal DiCiccio
Phoenix City Council
District 6

Democrat Randall Friese ‘Sour’ Over TANF Sponsorship

JD Mesnard

House Speaker JD Mesnard

There’s a short news item on AZCentral by Mary Jo Pitzl this morning reporting a “sour note” in the harmony sought by Arizona House Speaker, JD Mesnard.

Apparently, State Representative Dr. Randy Friese (D-9) wanted to sponsor the bill restoring funding to TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) but was beat to the hopper by Republican State Representative Jeff Weninger.

Friese called the move an example of “hyper partisanship.”

Jeff Weninger

Rep Jeff Weninger

During his State of the State address on Monday, Republican Governor Doug Ducey announced a round of legislative and budget initiatives including the restoration of TANF funding. Weninger, who represents Chandler, is spearheading the bill.

Dr. Friese and his Democrat colleagues made it obvious that they don’t approve of Republicans stealing their brand of helping the most needy because it takes away an issue they’ve used to craft political dependency. It pains them to lose credit on the issue and by alleging the move as an act of “hyper partisanship,” Friese hurts his credibility should he sign on as a co-sponsor the bill.

Randall Friese

Randall Friese

Speaker Mesnard, perhaps presented a more realistic forecast of legislative action acknowledging the challenges of finding room in the budget to fully restore TANF.

Unfortunately for Rep. Friese, Democrats don’t control either chamber so it’s in their best interest to stop acting petty and become team players on issues they support.

Congressman Andy Biggs Submits Two Amendments for the REINS Act

Washington, DC (January 4) – Today, Congressman Andy Biggs (AZ-05) announced that he had submitted two amendments to the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2017 (REINS Act). The REINS Act seeks to restore oversight authority to Congress for any major federal regulation that could potentially cost the U.S. economy at least $100 million. Congressman Biggs also testified in front of the House Rules Committee on behalf of his two amendments this afternoon.

“I am pleased to have offered up two amendments to the REINS Act and to have defended the amendments in the Rules Committee,” Biggs said. “Many small businesses and individuals in my district have been negatively affected by the ripple effect caused by an out-of-control rules-making process by unelected and unaccountable federal bureaucrats. I promised my constituents that I would strongly support the REINS Act, and I have kept my promise. I will continue to push for the passage of the REINS Act to ensure that Congress takes back this very-important job of rule-making oversight.”

Watch Congressman Biggs’ testimony in front of the Rules Committee.

Congressman Biggs offered the following two amendments to the REINS Act:

Amendment #4: Defines all rules promulgated by the Environmental Protection Agency as “major.”

Amendment #5: Lowers the annual economic effect threshold for a major rule from $100,000,000 to $50,000,000.

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Congressman Andy Biggs is a first-term Representative from Arizona’s Fifth Congressional District, representing parts of Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, Sun Lakes, and Queen Creek. He lives with his wife Cindy in Gilbert.