Senator Carlyle Begay Joins Republican Party

Monday, Senator Carlyle announced his evolution to the Republican Party.

The former Democrat senator from Ganado, Arizona made the switch “with a clear mind and heart” because families in rural Arizona are in a crisis with unemployment as high as 80% and infrastructure is “wasting away.” Many native Americans are without electricity and clean running water. Native American teens have the highest high school drop out rate and sadly, one of the highest suicide rates.

Democrats have done nothing to alleviate or fix these problems.

In his video statement, Begay asserts, “change must happen now.”

Senator Begay joined the Republican Party because he sees it as the party of progress and opportunity. Republicans have done more to offer solutions and build a positive future for those Begay represents.

This short video describes Begay’s evolution to the GOP and reinforces the idea that Republicans are about addition and multiplication and not subtraction and division.

Congratulations Senator Carlyle Begay! Welcome to the Republican Party!

Gov. Ducey’s Republican Education Plan Earns Support of AZ Democratic Party Leader

Ducey Plan Solves One of Arizona’s Oldest and Most Politically Controversial Issues: Education Funding
PHOENIX – This morning Chairman Robert Graham of the Arizona Republican Party congratulated his counterpart, Arizona Democratic Party Chairwoman Alexis Tameron, on her announcement yesterday of her support of Gov. Doug Ducey’s Education Funding Plan. The measure, Proposition 123, will be on the ballot in May of 2016. If approved by voters it will increase K-12 funding by $3.5 billion over the next ten years.
“Governor Ducey is a true leader, and he’s put together a plan to address one of Arizona’s most difficult and controversial issues without putting more pressure on hardworking taxpayers,” said Arizona Republican Party Chairman Robert Graham. “Even the Democrat leadership knows a great leader with a great idea when they see one, and we’re happy to see more and more Democrat Party leaders acknowledge the hard work of our Republican legislature and Governor Ducey, and saying publicly they’re voting for it.”
“I want to thank the Chairwoman for publicly announcing her support,” Graham added.
Governor Ducey’s plan highlights are here:
Governor Ducey’s remarks upon signing the legislation to refer the plan to the ballot are here:
Arizona Democratic Party Chairwoman Alexis Cameron’s remarks, broadcast on 12 News’ “Sunday Square Off” on November 8th, will be available here:

OpEd: Colorado’s problems reveal danger of legal pot

By Seth Leibsohn and Sheila Polk

As Arizonans prepare for a public debate on legalizing marijuana, we encourage a close look at Colorado — the first state to fully legalize recreational use and sale of marijuana – and Ohio, the most recent state to defeat it.

Ohio—a key bellwether state—defeated legalized marijuana this week by a margin of 28 points. What Ohio made clear is that when the facts about today’s more potent and dangerous marijuana are aptly communicated and exposed, there are no good reasons left to make it both legal and more widely available – and it loses.

Perhaps recent news in Colorado is what informed Ohioans. For example: legalization advocates claimed it would help put an end to the black market and illegal sales. In just the last month in Colorado, however, we witnessed the contrary. To wit:

October 28: Officers find 6,400 illegal marijuana plants in southern Colorado forest.

October 9: 32 busted in big Colorado illegal marijuana cultivation crackdown.

October 6: DHS suspends 7 cross country runners.

October 8: Manitou Springs police: Mustangs boys’ soccer marijuana issue handled by school.

As Chief John Jackson of the Colorado Association of Police Chiefs said on 60 Minutes earlier this year, “I can resoundly say that the black market is alive and doing well.”

The largest of these raids, also last month, found 20,000 marijuana plants, 700 pounds of dried weed, and more than 30 guns. Among those arrested were Honduran, Mexican, and Cuban nationals. Clearly, instead of putting an end to the black market, legalization in Colorado has created a magnet for it as legality and availability drive sales and consumption.

As just this one month in Colorado also reveals, the notion that we can solve an international drug cartel program by legalizing a dangerous product that harms our youth is, quite simply, a fraud.

As noted above, high-school marijuana use—including by those on athletic teams—is also a major problem and growing concern. Why? As explained in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors just last month: “[A]s marijuana has become more accessible and adults have become more tolerant regarding marijuana use, adolescents perceive marijuana as more beneficial and are more likely to use if they are living in an environment that is more tolerant of marijuana use.”

Legalizing an intoxicating substance for adults will not keep it out of the hands of our youth—which is why 77% more of Arizona’s youth use alcohol than marijuana today. Making marijuana like alcohol means more adolescents will use more marijuana…just like they do alcohol. And it’s critical to note that today’s marijuana is not the same as it was in decades past—it’s at least five times more potent, practically an entirely different drug.

One month in Colorado is, of course, not the whole story; we recommend reading September’s Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Report. This report documents that, since legalization in Colorado, marijuana has been associated with such social fallout as increased homelessness, school suspensions and expulsions, and traffic deaths.

It couldn’t be clearer: Arizonans should not want this for its families and communities, and we certainly do not need it.

Seth Leibsohn is the host of The Seth Leibsohn Show on 960am/KKNT. Sheila Polk is the Yavapai County Attorney. Respectively, they are the Chair and Vice-Chair of Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy.

Governor Doug Ducey: Our Money. Our Kids. Our Success

This special message was sent out from the Office of Governor Doug Ducey today:

Doug Ducey

Who says you can’t make government work?

We just did it here with the most far-reaching, high-impact education funding bill in our state’s history. News like this is too good not to share, so spread the word by forwarding this message along!

We’ve just passed, signed, and are ready to go with a bill that:

  • Puts $3.5 billion into education to dramatically improve our schools.
  • Increases per-student funding to $3,600 each year and gives educators the resources they’ve been asking for.
  • Doesn’t raise taxes while maintaining our balanced budget.
  • Provides relief from lawsuit abuse so funds go into classrooms, not attorneys’ pockets.
  • Maximizes the State Land Trust by drawing a modest amount as a shrewd investment in our kids.

I’ll never forget the good friends and strong, loyal supporters who gave me this job and the accompanying charge to solve problems and get results. Your support was, is, and will always be a source of tremendous inspiration.

Thanks so much,

Governor Doug Ducey

P.S. Help me share our fast-breaking news. Tell your friends, family, neighbors and colleagues that we got something great done for Arizona’s future. And we’re not done by a long shot. In fact, we’re just getting started!

Senator Sylvia Allen: Win, Win for Schools and Taxpayers!

Senator Sylvia Allen

Senator Sylvia Allen

I am proud of our schools in Arizona.  A number of our high schools are consistently ranked near the top of U.S. studies.  We were one of the first states to create charter schools and our Empowerment Scholarship Accounts allow parents to find the best education option for their children. These two reforms are models being emulated throughout the country.  I personally have toured and seen the excellent achievement of our students and teachers throughout my district.

Friday, October 30, the Legislature passed and the Governor signed an increase of $3.5 billion over the next ten years to our schools.  This will bring new money into our K-12 school system, if voters approve the plan in a special election to be held May 17, 2016.

Part of the funding will come from a new percentage level, 6.9%, distributed to the State Schools Fund from the Permanent Land Endowment Trust Funds (PLETF).  The Arizona Constitution determines the portion of investment earnings the Treasurer must distribute annually to each beneficiary.  Right now annual distributions are set at 2.5% of the average monthly market valuation of the PLETF from the preceding five years.  The voters will be asking to approve the increase above 2.5% in the May election.

Governor Ducey was State Treasurer before being elected Governor, so he understands this trust fund and how it functions.  In 2012 he developed Proposition 118, to move to a fixed rate of 2.5%, instead of a fluctuating rate used at the time.   Voters approved that proposal.

Three years later, the Governor proposed to increase that amount to 6.9%, and the Legislature agreed.  We spent much time in debate and talking to lawyers and staff about the ramifications of the increased percentage.  I am convinced that we have been short changing our schools all these years.  The PLETF is now valued at $5 billion and the consensus of those who voted yes is that we can safely pay this out to our schools and protect the principle of the fund.

Triggers are placed within the law in case we have another major economic downturn. It would require the Directors of the Office of Strategic Planning and Budgeting (OSPB) and the Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC) to jointly notify the Governor, the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House that a reduction to the distribution is necessary to preserve the safety of the capital in the PLETF, if the value of the PLETF has decreased.  At that point we would return to the 2.5%.

This was a complicated issue that took hundreds of hours of work by all concerned, but I am confident that we have made a very good decision in increasing the payout from the State Schools Trust Fund.

The proposal also included increased money for schools from the General Fund.

  • Increases the per pupil amount by $173.26
  • Increases basic state aid by $248,829,400 in FY2016 by increasing the base level per pupil amount
  • Includes additional inflation of $74,394,000 in FY2016
  • Increases the Permanent State School Fund distribution line item by $172,081,000
  • Appropriates to the Superintendent of Public Instruction additional funding for school districts and charter schools of $50 million annually in FY2016 through FY2020
  • Allows flexibility for school districts to budget the additional funding to where they feel it is needed.

None of this will increase taxes for our citizens and is being done within the capacity of what we have now.  

We hear all the time how bad Arizona ranks in school spending, but those rankings can be very misleading. Other states have 95% of land privately owned and is part of the tax base. In Arizona, we are generating revenue from 13% private property. We will never raise revenues to the level of those other states.

Also, Arizona has a high population of those under 18 years of age and a large population of adults over 65 years of age.  In the 18-64 age bracket where the bulk of taxpayers reside, we have a proportionally small population, so again, we will never be able to reach the revenues of other states without significantly increasing taxes.

This ranking propaganda by our critics is designed to pressure taxpayers to fund more into our schools.  We are short changing our teachers and kids when we constantly focus on a ranking instead of results.   Funding is important but does not guarantee a good education that depends on parents, teachers, and, most of all, students.  

I wish to thank the Arizona taxpayer who is willing to give their hard-earned money to better the life of children through our education system in Arizona.

AP: Ducey won’t restore welfare cuts made during budget crunch

Conservatives across the state should rejoice — we finally have a conservative governor who will do what’s always right, and not what’s always popular.

Gov. Doug Ducey speaks to a town hall meeting at the Department of Economic Security on Oct. 22, 2015. (Photo by Luige del Puerto)

Gov. Doug Ducey speaks to a town hall meeting at the Department of Economic Security on Oct. 22, 2015. (Photo by Luige del Puerto)


(Reposted from the Arizona Capitol Times)

By: Bob Christie, Associated Press | October 22, 2015

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said Thursday that he won’t seek to reverse cuts to the state’s welfare program made when the state appeared to be facing a major budget crunch, despite a dramatic turnaround in finances.

The Republican governor said that he instead wants government to provide opportunities for the poor and prevent them from being ‘trapped in these government programs.”

Ducey was asked about his plans by The Associated Press after he told hundreds of Department of Economic Security employees: “Our No. 1 obligation not only as public servants but as human beings is to care for those who cannot care for themselves.”

DES is the state’s social welfare agency and oversees welfare, unemployment, child support services and many other programs.

Ducey’s first-year budget limited Arizona families to no more than one year of cash welfare benefits in their lifetime, the shortest period in the nation. The state was facing a possible $1 billion deficit when the law passed in the spring but now expects a $650 million surplus next year.

The general relief welfare program provides up to $278 a month for a family of three and was limited to two years of eligibility.

The cuts approved by the GOP-led Legislature and signed into law by Ducey will lead to 1,600 families being thrown off the state’s welfare rolls starting July 1, 2016. There are exemptions in the new law for some people, including those with disabilities are who are homeless.

The plan is expected to save $4 million in spending in the 2017 budget year and will use the money instead to help fund the state’s child safety agency.

The money is actually federal funds provided to Arizona in a block grant for social welfare programs. Limiting general relief eligibility allows Arizona to use the money in other ways.

Democrats complained bitterly about the cuts when the budget that included the cuts was enacted in March.

“We’re talking about a cash benefit that ultimately goes to take care of food or diapers or whatever necessities the poorest of the poor need,” House Minority Whip Rebecca Rios, D-Phoenix, said at the time. “In fact, it absolutely puts more of the most vulnerable in jeopardy.”

Ducey has defended the cuts, saying they are designed to encourage welfare recipients to find a job. On Thursday, he repeated that intent.

“I think the first role of DES is to help set a social safety net that allows people to enter the workforce, get the help they need and provide the services they need,” the governor said. “It’s part of the reason we’re so focused on growing our economy and having help wanted signs available and having educational opportunities or work training. I want to see people not stuck in a government agency or services. I wanted to see them be able to go out and work and have a productive life.”

The cuts bringing Arizona’s lifetime welfare benefits to one year are the third- time limit cut in five years. They were cut from five years to three in 2010 and to two years in 2011.

Center for Arizona Policy: Abortions Decrease 3.7% in Arizona


Statement from Center for Arizona Policy President Cathi Herrod

PHOENIX – “Arizona leads by example in the national effort to protect the health and safety of women and preborn children – and the numbers again prove it.

The recently released Department of Health Services annual abortion report shows that 501 fewer abortions were performed in Arizona in 2014 as compared to 2013, a decrease of 3.7%. Since 2011, there are now 1,500 fewer abortions performed annually for a decrease of 10.7%! This is encouraging news to everyone who values life, and it is also a testament to what the thriving pro-life movement in Arizona has been able to accomplish.

We continue to see that through strategic public policy and a commitment to loving and serving women with pregnancy resource centers, we can save lives.

Although this is yet another encouraging report, it is clear that the abortion rate in Arizona remains too high. Women considering an abortion deserve better. Our efforts to safeguard women and to ensure that every preborn child has the right to pursue life, liberty, and happiness are far from over.

The shocking videos from the Center for Medical Progress, exposing the barbaric quests of Planned Parenthood executives to sell baby body parts, further prove that we still have a long way to go to ensure that every life is protected and respected. I am more resolved than ever to do what is necessary to protect women and preborn babies from the dangerous and deadly practices undertaken by Planned Parenthood and the rest of the abortion lobby.”

Center for Arizona Policy promotes and defends the foundational values of life, marriage and family, and religious freedom. For more information, visit

Recall Amateurs Fail To Do Their Homework

As we noted in a prior post, the young amateurs heading up the recall effort have no idea what they’re doing.

Yesterday, Max Goshert filed a complaint with the Arizona Attorney General’s Office claiming that Michael Bradley, Chief of Staff to Superintendent Diane Douglas, was engaging in political activities on taxpayer time and harassing members of the recall committee.

Recall Chairman Max Goshert alleges that Bradley sent an email to the Arizona Alliance of Black School Educators inquiring into Goshert and his involvment with the organization. (At least someone was doing their opposition research.) Goshert was tipped off by someone who obtained a copy of Bradley’s email that was sent on September 1 at 1:58 PM.

Bradley’s email states:

“Does he [Goshert] in fact work for your organization? Are you a nonprofit allowed to participate in recall elections? If not, then why do you have his recall efforts on your site? Do you support removing Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas from office?”

What Goshert and his entourage of recallers failed to realize is that Bradley had taken a sick day on September 1st. This was verified with Department of Education spokesman Charles Tack.

In effect, Michael Bradley was on his own time acting as himself inquiring into Max Goshert’s profile. This was not an act of harassment and the Attorney General’s Office will reach the same conclusion. No harassment, no foul.

Incidentally, Goshert did have a dedicated profile page on the AzABSE website which has since been removed. (Here is a screenshot of the cached paged.)

Again, leaders of this recall effort have demonstrated their incompetence in heading up a statewide political campaign.

Taxpayers will now have to foot the bill for an investigation of a false accusation against Michael Bradley.

This is also an excuse for the anti-Douglas establishment (Democrat Party) to stay away from this effort (in addition to the nude photos of its founder Anthony Espinoza, an elementary school teacher who posted nude photos of himself on his Tumblr account.)

Read Arizona Republic education reporter Cathryn Creno’s article on this fiasco.



Democrat Amateurs Wanna Recall Diane Douglas

EGBThe Arizona Secretary of State provided notice today that a committee filed an application to recall Diane Douglas.

The committee calls itself “The Coalition to Recall Diane Douglas” and has listed Maxwell Goshert as its Chairman and David J. Bier as its Treasurer.

Who you won’t find on the official paperwork is Anthony Espinoza who originally beat his chest about starting the recall. That’s because Espinoza was discovered to be posting gay nude selfies across various websites which becomes a problem when you’re a technology teacher at a west valley elementary school trying to spearhead a major political campaign. Nevertheless, Espinoza remains associated with the recall effort as its “founder” which we find bizarre give political campaigns and their committees never use that title.

According to the application filing with the Secretary of State’s office, the grounds for the filing is:

“Since taking office in January 2015, Diane Douglas has demonstrated that she lacks the ability and expertise to serve professionally and politically in her elected position as the Arizona State Superintendent of Public Instruction. From a fiduciary standpoint, Superintendent Douglas has consistently and recklessly jeopardized valuable and vital education education funding due to her unwillingness to execute various federal and state education laws and State Board of Education policies. In regards to her leadership role, she has not upheld the virtue of the constitutional public office to which she was elected, refusing to fulfill not only her basic duties under A.R.S. 15-251 but also to adhere to the checks and balances of the Arizona state government system. Most importantly, she is not fulfilling her basic state duties superintending the schools of Arizona, focusing more on how to increase her power and position rather than how to increase student achievement, teacher effectiveness, school performance, stakeholder relations, and educational funding. Education is in a crisis fiscally, professionally, socially, and emotionally in Arizona. Education in Arizona needs a strong leader to lead its stakeholders and citizens during this time of crisis. Diane Douglas has proven she is not that leader.”

Whatever your opinion of Diane Douglas, these young naive liberal activists are amateurs.

Quick to respond to the filing, the Arizona Republican Party issued the following statement:

PHOENIX – This afternoon Chairman Robert Graham of the Arizona Republican Party brushed off the announcement from two voters in the Democratic Party that they would attempt to gather signatures to recall Diane Douglas, the Republican who was elected last year to serve as Arizona’s Superintendent of Public Instruction.

“It looks like these young Democrats are following the lead of their party elders and wasting time and money on useless complaining about the outcome of the election in which the Republicans clearly dominated the opposition,” said Arizona Republican Party Chairman Robert Graham. “We have frequent elections at every level of government in this nation for a reason, and as a party we fight hard on behalf of our platform and our candidates. It’s disrespectful to the voters for these Democrats to suddenly wake up and decide they know better than voters.”

Douglas received 740,000 votes in the 2014 election, which was more than enough votes to defeat her opponent for that office. Her vote total also exceeded the vote total for each and every one of the Democrats on the ballot running for statewide office: Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, Mine Inspector, and Corporation Commission.

“Their plan is to raise and spend at least a million dollars to get enough signatures before the end of the year and they haven’t raised a dime yet, so I think they’re going to have a very disappointing Christmas,” Graham added.

Watch for this recall effort to fail miserably.

The Democratic Party establishment is silent and most likely publicly shunning the effort. (Not a byte on its website or Twitter feed.)

Amateurs are running the show and won’t have the support to collect the signatures to place it on the ballot.

In one year, Diane Douglas will still be the Superintendent of Public Instruction and these young activist will be a little bit wiser. Ironically, they’ll be able to thank their target for teaching them a hard lesson in political science.



Aaron Borders Asks for Clergy Rights Bill in Next Arizona Legislative Session

Aaron Borders, Second Vice Chair of the Republican Party of Maricopa County, is asking Arizona legislators to consider a Ministers & Clergy Rights Bill in the upcoming 2016 legislative session.

Borders is not so interested in rehashing the controversy surrounding 2013’s SB 1062 bill as much as affirming right of conscience protections.

In a recent interview, Borders said, “this is a completely separate issue. Now that it’s legal in Arizona to have same sex marriage, it is not my business to interfere. There are clergy in Arizona who will happily perform same sex marriage ceremonies. However, many who have chosen to stand behind their constitutional right to practice and uphold their religion by not performing these marriages feel threatened with lawsuits against them and their congregations and frankly, that requires legal protection. Such a law as a Ministers & Clergy Rights Bill would protect the rights of Arizona ministers and pastors from costly, frivolous and unconstitutional lawsuits that would bring undue hardship on local congregations who are simply excising their religious beliefs in their place of worship.”

Borders is referring to a 2008 account of a lesbian couple in New Jersey seeking use of a beach side pavilion operated by a Christian organization as well as the recent US Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges as reported in Christianity Today.

Aaron Borders is not new to standing up for the First Amendment’s religious freedom. He has been an outspoken Christian activist participating in his local church since he was a boy.

Nearly 15 years ago he and his older brother and one of his sisters recorded a Southern Gospel Record when he was barely 15 years old. He recently performed with his siblings in a ‘reunion of voices’ at the church he grew up in during a visit to Ohio.

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Ken Bennet isn’t the only Republican politico who has a love and proclivity for music.

Borders is currently serves as one of the music directors at his local Church in Phoenix. It is a small, but growing congregation in the valley. He also serves as the project manager and building fund raiser for the church.

Aaron Borders stated, “Our congregation is growing and we need to do a solid remodel to make better use of our building to accommodate the growth God has blessed us with.”

Borders also periodically fills in for his 90-year old World War II veteran pastor and bringing sermons before his congregation.

Borders believes that Ministers & Clergy Rights legislation will especially help smaller churches continue to operate without fear of legal threats and lawsuits.