Arizona Politics, News, Commentary and Information with a Blatantly Conservative Worldview Presented by an Alliance of Writers, Activists, Consultants and Government Insiders.
Large, Bipartisan Majorities Show Support for the First Step in a Rebirth of Civics Education
Phoenix, Arizona – With large, bipartisan majorities in the State Legislature, Arizona today became the first state to pass the Civics Education Initiative. The Civics Education Initiative requires high school students, as a condition of graduation, to take and pass the USCIS Citizenship Civics Test – the test all new immigrants must pass before becoming citizens.
“Proud day for Arizonans as we become first in the nation, and lead the way to the bipartisan passage of the Civics Education Initiative in every state,” said Frank Riggs, President and CEO of the Scottsdale-based Joe Foss Institute, the organization promoting the legislation.
Beyond Arizona, eighteen other states are currently considering this critical legislation. North Dakota and Utah appear to be next in line, with legislators and supporters in those states eager to follow Arizona’s lead, with the North Dakota House of Representatives also passing the bill today by an astounding 85-1 margin.
The leadership of the Joe Foss Institute and the Civics Education Initiative would like to extend special thanks to Governor Ducey, prime sponsor Majority Leader Steve Montenegro (R-13), House Government and Education Committee Chairman Bob Thorpe (R-6) and the members of his committee, and Minority Leader Dr. Eric Meyer (D-28).
In the Senate, special thanks go out to Majority Leader Steve Yarbrough (R-17), Senate Education Committee Chairman Kelli Ward (R-5) and the members of her committee, Senator Barbara McGuire (D-8), and Senator Carlyle Begay (D-7).
“It’s a New Year, and a new day for students here in Arizona and across the country who will now have the basic tools they need to become active, engaged citizens,” concluded Riggs.
The bill passed the Arizona House by a vote of 42-17. In the Senate the results were similarly positive, with 19 for and only 10 voting against.
At a time when millions of Arizonans have struggled to make ends meet through the Great Recession, there’s one gubernatorial candidate who’s been indifferent to the plight of his paycheck-to-paycheck neighbors.
Former mayor of Mesa Scott Smith, whose net worth still remains undisclosed (although we know it’s well over $100K), pushed hard twice while mayor of Mesa to increase his pay and the pay of his fellow council members.
Prior to the increase, the charter for the city of Mesa locked in the mayor’s compensation at $33,600/year with a $1,800/year vehicle allowance and $960/year phone allowance. To change that compensation, the mayor and council are required to vote rather than send the issue to voters.
Smith made the first push to increase his salary on December 10, 2012 during a regular session of the mayor and council. In the video, Smith argues for increasing his pay and not to reject the recommendations of an independent commission.
During that first attempt, he asks the council to support him for the 118% pay raise and allowance increase of 122%. As the video shows, Smith’s temperament reveals a man on a mission to make more money as mayor.
If you haven’t worked out the math yet, the 118% pay raise would take the mayor’s salary to $73,300/year and the vehicle allowance to $6,600/year. Keep in mind, this is for a part-time mayor and council.
During the first attempt, the vote fails with Smith visibly upset that the council turned down his request.
One year later, On December 9, 2013, Smith makes the push to hike his salary once again using the same commission recommendations. He chides the council, “it was right a year ago and it’s right now.” This time Smith is successful in pressuring the council to raise his and their pay.
The Mesa Charter is amended with the new and outrageous increases but what the average citizen never sees (unless they watch the December 9, 2013 video) is that the mayor and council also voted to make themselves eligible for benefits “consistent with those provided to executive level City employees.” So now in addition to the pay raise, Mesa’s mayor and council are now receiving the same benefits as senior city management.
One comment that sticks out during the debate, is that Smith notes that Mesa is the 38th largest city in the country and its mayor and council deserve to be compensated as such.
Given Mesa’s population is ranked between Tucson and Chandler, we reviewed their compensation rates to see if Mesa ball parked itself proportionally on elected official compensation rates.
Tucson, which is the second largest city in Arizona, compensates its mayor at $42,000/year. Chandler, ranked as the fourth largest city, pays its top elected executive $49,500/year. Mesa ranked third, is well above the Arizona cities above and below it by $23,800.
But we also took it a step further and looked at Mesa in terms of its population ranking among other US cities. Just above Mesa is Kansas City, Missouri which pays its mayor $123,156/year. Right below Mesa, is Virginia Beach whose mayor makes $10,000/year. Quite a variation but more like comparing apples to oranges.
Finally, we reviewed 2012 US Census data to see what the average median income is for the city of Mesa. According to this latest data, the average family in Mesa earns $47,256/year.
For the mayor of Mesa to relentlessly push for a dramatic pay raise during a time when many Mesa citizens remain in financial hardship due to reductions in salaries, hours or even job loss, anyone can see that Smith’s crusade to raise the mayor and council’s salary was not the right thing to do.
Arizona voters are worried that this style of governance will be more of the same business-as-usual. Conservatives reformers are trying to put an end to runaway spending, backroom union deals and corporate cronyism. Scott Smith’s style of management proves he’ll push the former and disturbingly his own self-interest no matter what it cost the citizens he’s supposed to serve.
Do NOT vote for Michele Reagan. She sold the Republicans out in 2004, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2013.
It is time for all Republicans to take a stand and hold those we elect accountable.
Michele Reagan has a bad pattern that is not Republican and is not Principled
But she is really nice. And she wants to be one step away from being the Governor of Arizona.
It is time to hold Republicans accountable.
2013: Republican Legislative Districts and Counties CENSURED Michele Regan saying:
“we therefore disassociate ourselves from the governor and these legislators, and encourage other Republicans to likewise disassociate themselves from any of the above who may be candidates for any office in the upcoming 2014 elections, or any election thereafter, and affirm our withholding of support of all kinds.”
2006: Michele votes to stop the notarization of parents when a child wants an abortion joining with 100% of the Democrat caucus and 2 other Republicans on HB 2666 – Notarized Parental Consent for Abortions.
2013: Michele voted for the Obamacare Medicaid Expansion. Then she voted against it.
Michele votes ‘YEA’ for Obrewercare, SB1492, joining 5 Republicans and all the Democrats, in the middle of the night, after Senator McComish makes a motion to suspend the rules, to stop Senate President Andy Biggs from trying to save Arizona from the train-wreck that is Obamacare.
Michele changes her reason for her vote but now she is saying, “I voted for the Andy Biggs budget.”
No she did not. Andy Bigg’s budget was modified so badly that even he voted against it.
2009: Michele sponsors a bill to teach sex education in the Kindergarten classroom, HB2544.
2008: In 2008 Michele voted for a deficit producing budget, ‘YEA’ with three Republicans, 100% of the Democrats, and Governor Napolitano on HB2209 to pass by a 31 YEA to 29 NAY vote.
(No Republican that voted for the 2004 or 2008 budget is serving in an elected office except for Michele.)
2004: Democrat budget: Michele voted ‘YEA’ with 14 Republicans for Democrat Janet Napolitano’s budget to raise the state budget more than a billion dollars.
Resolutions were passed by every district but one demanding her loyalty to Republican planks saying:
“Do not sell out our Republican principles and the promise of 3 years funding that will benefit a few special interests at the cost of our State sovereignty and our core Republican values. We will adamantly oppose those who compromise our core values for short term political expediency.”
She sold YOU OUT. Did you mean it? Do NOT vote for Michele Reagan.
It is time for Republicans to hold those we elect accountable for their votes.
Yesterday I was visited by a member of Danny Ray’s campaign team here in northeast Mesa and was provided with this piece of campaign literature.
Of course, I’ve watched the voters of Mesa authorize the mayor and council to take the city deeper into debt through bond elections – against my advocacy and wishes.
But what really provoked my interest was who has been in leadership over the years approving increases in the budget and amount of debt.
Having been the former Communications & Outreach Director for AFP-Arizona, I jumped over to the local government scorecard put out by the Americans for Prosperity Foundation – Arizona to refresh my memory on how the City of Mesa scored. Here’s a screenshot of their performance from 2008-present:
As you can see, no one on the current council scored anywhere close to taxpayer-friendly. This confirms what Danny Ray has been campaigning on but it also reveals something about the former mayor and his effort to get a promotion to Arizona Governor.
While I like the fact that Danny Ray seems to be an anti-establishment candidate, I’m now wondering just who took Mesa in the direction its currently going and how that might be injected into the gubernatorial race.
By Jose Borajero
Shortly, the Arizona Supreme Court will be ruling on whether the Medicaid tax imposed by the Democrats, aided and abetted by Representative Heather Carter and eight other Republicans in the House of Representatives is really a tax or something else, like a fee. The only question that will be resolved by the court is whether that move was legal or not. It will not determine whether it was good or bad. We all know that the mere fact something is legal does not automatically make it good, or desirable.
Whether we call it a tax, or something else, like a fee, an assessment, a contribution, an investment, or any of a myriad euphemistic terms that big government advocates use to disguise taxes, the fact remains that Heather Carter voted for bills that increase the amount of money that moves from the pockets of the taxpayers to the pockets of the government.
That fact is reflected in the results of the legislator evaluations done by three conservative leaning organizations.
Americans for Prosperity (AFP): This organization routinely keeps track of how legislators vote on issues having to do with economic matters, like taxation, spending, education, etc. (scorecard)
Goldwater Institute: These folks evaluate legislator performance across a wide variety of subjects, including tax & budget, education, constitutional government, and regulation.
National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB): This is a watchdog group for small businesses, which account for the vast majority of jobs in this country. They evaluate legislators on whether or not their votes enhance small businesses ability to operate in free and open market. (scorecard)
Currently in Arizona, we have 17 Republicans in the Senate and 36 Republicans in the House of Representatives, for a total of 43 Republican legislators. Let us see how Heather Carter was scored by all three organizations.
ORGANIZATION SCORE RANK
Americans for Prosperity – 48% or 39th out of 43
Goldwater Institute – 61% or 35th out of 43
National Federation of Independent Businesses – 75% or 43rd out of 43
Conclusion: Heather Carter is a friend of Big Government and an enemy of the tax payer. People should keep that in mind when deciding whether to vote for her or for her challenger(s).
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday June, 17 2014
CONTACT: Scot Mussi: (602) 346-5061
Phoenix, AZ – Today the Arizona Free Enterprise Club announced our first legislative endorsements for the 2014 election: Shawnna Bolick and Jill Norgaard for the House of Representatives. Both candidates are conservative outsiders facing a crowded primary election in August.
“Shawnna Bolick is the type of free market advocate we need at the State Legislature,” Executive Director Scot Mussi said. “Her limited government principles and willingness to take on the establishment will make her a valuable edition at the House of Representatives.”
“Jill Norgaard is going to provide District 18 voters with an opportunity to support a real conservative in the election,” Scot Mussi added. “She is a fighter that will defend liberty and economic freedom at the legislature.”
The AZFEC is a 501(c)(4) policy and advocacy group not affiliated with any other organization. For more information visit www.azfree.org
Today, Bullhead City Mayor Jack Hakim and Prescott Valley Mayor Harvey Skoog endorsed Mark Brnovich for Attorney General.
Mayor Jack Hakim remarked:
“Having a sit down with Mark Brnovich and posing a number of questions to him, I found candidate Mark Brnovich to cut through the chase and respond without hesitation. I believe that Mark has the values, credentials and experience needed as Arizona’s next Attorney General.”
Mayor Harvey Skoog commented:
“After much consideration concerning the office of the Arizona Attorney General, I have decided to give my full support to candidate Mark Brnovich. This is a time of growth, fiscal challenges, and diverse political issues. He offers the knowledge, work ethic, and dedication that brings him to the forefront of handling and overseeing the State of Arizona’s legal concerns.”
“The next Attorney General must represent all of Arizona. From Bullhead City to Sierra Vista, and Yuma to Prescott Valley,” said Brnovich. “I pledge to all of our Arizona communities that when I am Attorney General I will personally engage with them to address the issues they face.” Brnovich added, “The Attorney General should fight for all of Arizona, not just Maricopa County.”
To learn more about Mark’s campaign, please visit www.Mark4AZ.com
Today, Republican candidate for attorney general Mark Brnovich received the endorsement of former State Representative Amanda Reeve. Reeve remarked:
“Integrity in character, intelligence in reasoning, passion in morality, fairness in representation, and value in actions…these are the characteristics of a great Attorney General. As its chief legal officer, Arizona needs these qualities in its Attorney General to fight for the rights of its citizens, protect the state and businesses from overzealous federal agencies; and provide guidance to the legislature and state agencies in the drafting and implementation of constitutional laws and sound rules. Mark Brnovich is this Attorney General and it is my great honor to endorse his candidacy.”
During her tenure in the Arizona House of Representatives, Reeve served as Chair of the House Environment Committee, and as member of the Energy & Natural Resources, Higher Education & Innovative Reform, Military Affairs & Public Safety, and Transportation & Infrastructure Committees. She is well-versed in Environmental and Natural Resources litigation and regulatory matters, as well as a vast array of other complex litigation and policy issues.
Mark remarked, “I am grateful for Amanda’s support. She is a well-respected policymaker – from her time spent as a State Representative to her current position where she researches, drafts, and advocates for issues important in the lives of Arizonans, including the environmental issues we face. I am encouraged by the diverse group of individuals supporting my campaign.”
Former Representative Amanda Reeve joins a quickly growing list of support, including that of former U.S. Senator Jon Kyl, U.S. Representative Trent Franks, former State Senators Linda Gray, Barbara Leff, Dean Martin, and Kathleen Dunbar, County Attorney Bill Montgomery, Representatives Debbie Lesko, Paul Boyer, T.J. Shope, Brenda Barton, John Allen, Nancy Barto, Karen Fann and Warren Petersen, Mayor Tom Shope, Len Munsil, former Congressman David McIntosh, and more than 120 grassroots leaders throughout Arizona in endorsing Mark Brnovich for Arizona Attorney General.
For more information, please visit www.Mark4AZ.com
Representative Warren Petersen Endorses Mark Brnovich for Attorney General
Today, Mark Brnovich, candidate for Republican attorney general, announced that he has received the endorsement of State Representative Warren Petersen. Petersen represents Arizona House District 12 in the East Valley.
“We need a constitutional conservative who understands the importance of states rights in the Attorney General’s office,” said Representative Petersen. “Mark Brnovich is the candidate to answer this call and has the experience to take on the tough issues. Local leaders need a voice who will stand up for them and Mark is the candidate to do just that. I’m proud to support Mark Brnovich for Attorney General.”
Representative Petersen joins other Republican legislators including Senator Nancy Barto, Representative Paul Boyer, Representative Debbie Lesko, Representative T.J. Shope, Representative John Allen, Representative Brenda Barton, and Representative Karen Fann in endorsing Mark Brnovich. Former legislators Dean Martin, Linda Gray, Kathleen Dunbar, Amanda Reeve and Barbara Leff have also endorsed Mark over his Republican primary opponent.
Mark Brnovich remarked:
“I want to thank Representative Petersen for endorsing me in the Republican primary. He and other legislators have demonstrated a great deal of courage by endorsing a challenger who is taking on an incumbent. My pledge to Warren and to the rest of the legislature – from both sides of the aisle – is to not embarrass them or selfishly pursue my own political self-interests.”
ABOUT MARK BRNOVICH
Raised in Arizona, Mark Brnovich is a graduate of Arizona State University. After law school, Mark prosecuted felonies in the Gang/Repeat Offender Bureau of the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office and worked as an Assistant Attorney General for Arizona and as Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona. Mark also served his country as the Command Staff Judge Advocate for the 153rd Field Artillery Brigade of the Arizona Army National Guard for eight years. Mark met his wife Susan while both were working as prosecutors. They live in Phoenix with their two daughters.
For more information, please visit www.Mark4AZ.com