When A Lie Travels: Comparing Alcohol To Marijuana

By Seth Leibsohn

Seth LeibsohnThis November, several states will vote on whether to legalize marijuana for recreational use, and the proponents of legalization have seized on a seemingly clever argument: marijuana is safer than alcohol.  The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, an effort of the Marijuana Policy Project (or MPP), has taken this argument across the country.  Their latest strategy is labeled Marijuana vs. Alcohol.  It is a very misleading, even dangerous, message, based on bad social science and sophistic public deception.

Citing out-of-date studies that go back ten years and more, even using that well-known scientific journal, Wikipedia, the MPP never references current research on the harms of today’s high potency and edible marijuana, studies that come out monthly if not more frequently.  Indeed, their Marijuana vs. Alcohol page concludes with a 1988 statement about the negligible harms of marijuana—but that is a marijuana that simply does not exist anymore, neither in mode nor potency.  Today’s marijuana is at least five times more potent, and sold in much different form.  And the science of marijuana and its effects on the brain have come some distance since 1988 as well.

So out-of-date is the science and knowledge of marijuana from thirty years ago, it would be malpractice in any other field to suggest that kind of information about a drug having any contemporary relevance at all.  One almost wonders if the MPP thinks public health professors still instruct their students on how to use microfiche to perform their research as they prepare to write their papers on 5K memory typewriters.

It is simply misleading in a public health campaign to cite dated research while at the same time ignore a larger body of current evidence that points in the opposite direction of a desired outcome.  At great potential peril to our public health, political science (in the hands of the marijuana industry) is far outrunning medical science.  But the danger is clear: with the further promotion, marketing, and use of an increasingly known dangerous substance, public health and safety will pay the price.

Consider three basic problems with the industry’s latest campaign:

I.  Comparisons of relative dangers of various drugs are simply impossible and can often lead to paradoxical conclusions.  It is impossible to compare a glass of chardonnay and its effects on various adults of various weights and tolerance levels with the inhalation or consumption of a high-potency marijuana joint or edible.  Is the joint from the 5 percent THC level or the 25 percent level?  How about a 30 mg—or stronger—gummy bear?  A glass of wine with dinner processes through the body in about an hour and has little remaining effect.  A marijuana brownie or candy can take up to 90 minutes to even begin to take effect.

Consider a consumer of a glass of wine who ate a full meal and waited an hour or more before driving and a consumer of a marijuana edible taking the wheel of a plane, train, automobile, or anything else.  The wine drinker would likely be sober, the marijuana consumer would just be getting high, and, given the dose, possibly very high at that.

True, marijuana consumption rarely causes death, but its use is not benign.  Last year, an ASU professor took a standard dose of edible marijuana, just two marijuana coffee beans. The effect?  “[E]pisodes of convulsive twitching and jerking and passing out” before the paramedics were called.  Such episodes are rare for alcohol, but they are increasingly happening with marijuana.

Beyond acute effects, the chronic impact of marijuana is also damaging.  Approximately twice the percentage of regular marijuana users will experience Marijuana Use Disorder than will alcohol users experience Alcohol Use Disorder—both disorders categorized by the Diagnostic Statistics Manual (DSM).[1]   Marijuana is also the number one substance of abuse for teens admitted to treatment, far higher than the percentage who present with alcohol problems.  In fact, the most recent data out of Colorado shows 20 percent of teens admitted for treatment have marijuana listed as their primary substance of abuse compared to less than one percent for alcohol.

Still, the Campaign persists in its deceptions—as if they have not even read their own literature.  One online marketing tool it recently deployed was the “Consume Responsibly” campaign.  Delve into that site and you will find this warning: “[Smoked marijuana] varies from person to person, you should wait at least three to four hours before driving a vehicle.”  And: “Edible marijuana products and some other infused products remain in your system several hours longer, so you should not operate a vehicle for the rest of the day after consuming them.”  Who has ever been told that they should not operate a vehicle for four hours, much less for the rest of the day, if they had a glass of wine or beer?  Safer than alcohol?  This is not even true according to the MPP’s own advice.

Beyond unscientific dose and effect comparisons, there is a growing list of problems where marijuana use does, indeed, appear to be more harmful than alcohol.  According to Carnegie Mellon’s Jonathan Caulkins: “Marijuana is significantly more likely to interfere with life functioning” than alcohol and “it is moderately more likely to create challenges of self-control and to be associated with social and mental health problems.”

Additionally, a recent study out of UC Davis revealed that marijuana dependence was more strongly linked to financial difficulties than alcohol dependence and had the same impacts on downward mobility, antisocial behavior in the workplace, and relationship conflict as alcohol.

II.  The marijuana industry pushes and promotes the use of a smoked or vaped substance, but never compares marijuana to tobacco.  Indeed, the two substances have much more in common than marijuana and alcohol, especially with regard to the products themselves and the method of consumption (though we are also seeing increasing sales of child-attractive marijuana candies).  But why is the comparison never made?  The answer lies in the clear impossibility.

Consider: Almost every claim about marijuana’s harms in relation to alcohol has to do with the deaths associated with alcohol.  But, hundreds of thousands more people die from tobacco than alcohol.  Based on their measures of mortality, which is safer: alcohol or tobacco?  Can one safely drink and drive?  No.  Can one smoke as many cigarettes as one wants while driving?  Of course. So, what’s the more dangerous substance?  Mortality does not answer that question.

Alcohol consumption can create acute problems, while tobacco consumption can create chronic problems.  And those chronic problems particularly affect organs like the lungs, throat, and heart.  But what of the chronic impact on the brain?  That’s the marijuana risk, and, seemingly, society is being told that brains are less important than lungs.  Nobody can seriously believe that, which is why these comparisons simply fail scrutiny.

This illustrates but one of the problems in comparing dangerous substances. As Professor Caulkins recently wrote:

“The real trouble is not that marijuana is more or less dangerous than alcohol; the problem is that they are altogether different…. The country is not considering whether to switch the legal statuses of alcohol and marijuana. Unfortunately, our society does not get to choose either to have alcohol’s dangers or to have marijuana’s dangers. Rather, it gets to have alcohol’s dangers…and also marijuana’s dangers.

Further, marijuana problems are associated with alcohol problems.  New research out of Columbia University reveals that marijuana users are five times more likely to have an alcohol abuse disorder. Society doesn’t just switch alcohol for marijuana—too often, one ends up with use of both, compounding both problems.

The larger point for voters to understand:  The marijuana legalization movement is not trying to ban or end alcohol sales or consumption; rather, it wants to add marijuana to the dangerous substances already available, including alcohol.  This is not about marijuana or alcohol, after all.  It’s about marijuana and alcohol.

We can see this effect in states like Colorado, with headlines such as “Alcohol sales get higher after weed legalization.”  And, according to the most recent federal data[2], alcohol use by teens, as well as adults, has increased in Colorado since 2012 (the year of legalization). If alcohol is the problem for the MPP, in their model state–Colorado–alcohol consumption has increased with marijuana legalization.  Legalizing marijuana will, in the end, only make alcohol problems worse.

III.  The legalization movement regularly cites to one study in the Journal of Scientific Reports to “prove” that marijuana is safer than alcohol.  But this study leads to odd conclusions in what the authors, themselves, call a “novel risk assessment methodology.”  For instance, the researchers find that every drug, from cocaine to meth to MDMA to LSD, is found to be safer than alcohol. (See this graph).  By the MPP standard, we should thereby make these substances legal as well.  But, seeing such data in its full light, we all know this would be nonsensical.

Further, the authors specifically write that they only looked at acute effects and did not analyze “chronic toxicity,” and cannot judge marijuana and “long term effects.”  Indeed, they specifically write in their study the toxicity of marijuana “may therefore be underestimated” given the limitations of their examination.  Yet, legalizers ignore these statements.  Always.  It simply does not fit their narrative.

What long-term effects are we talking about?  To cite the New England Journal of Medicine: “addiction, altered brain development, poor educational outcomes, cognitive impairment,” and “increased risk of chronic psychosis disorders.”  Now think about what it will mean to make a drug with those adverse effects more available, and for recreational use.

Finally, the very authors of the much-cited Journal of Scientific Reports study specifically warn their research should be “treated carefully particularly in regard to dissemination to lay people….especially considering the differences of risks between individuals and the whole population.”  But this is precisely what commercialization is about—not individual adult use but making a dangerous drug more available to “the whole population.”

Given what we know in states like Colorado, we clearly see that legalization creates more availability which translates into more use, affecting whole populations—Colorado college-age use, for example, is now 62 percent higher than the national average. [See FN2, below].

And the science is coming in, regularly.  Indeed, the same journal the MPP points to in its two-year old “novel” study, just this year published another study and found:

“[N]eurocognitive function of daily or near daily cannabis users can be substantially impaired from repeated cannabis use, during and beyond the initial phase of intoxication. As a consequence, frequent cannabis use and intoxication can be expected to interfere with neurocognitive performance in many daily environments such as school, work or traffic.

That is why these comparisons of safety and harm are—in the end—absurd and dangerous.  In asking what is safer, the true answer is “neither.”  And for a variety of reasons.  But where one option is impossible to eliminate (as in alcohol), society should not add to the threat that exists:  One doesn’t say because a playground is near train tracks you should also put a highway there.  You fence off the playground.

That, however, is not the choice the MPP has given us.  They are not sponsoring legislation to reduce the harms of alcohol, they are, instead, saying that with all the harms of alcohol, we should now add marijuana.  But looking at all the problems society now has with substance abuse, the task of the serious is to reduce the problems with what already exists, not advance additional dangers.

If the MPP and its Campaigns to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol are serious about working on substance abuse problems, we invite them to join those of us who have labored in these fields for years.  One thing we do know: adding to the problems with faulty arguments, sloppy reasoning, and questionable science, will not reduce the problems they point to.  It will increase them.  And that, beyond faulty argument and sloppy reasoning, is public policy malfeasance.

[1] See http://archpsyc.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2464591 compared to http://archpsyc.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2300494

[2] 2011/2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health compared to 2013/2014.

Andy Tobin Advances In The Race For Arizona Corporation Commission

Andy Tobin

Phoenix, AZ – Corporation Commissioner Andy Tobin has advanced to the General Election in the race for the Arizona Corporation Commission. Tobin, the former Speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives, was appointed by Governor Doug Ducey to fill a vacancy on the Commission. In early results, Tobin received strong support in Arizona’s rural counties and finished near the top in Maricopa and Pima Counties.

“I am beyond grateful to the people of Arizona who voted to nominate me as one of the Republican Party’s nominees for the Arizona Corporation Commission.Serving the voters and taxpayers of Arizona has been one of my life’s biggest and most important professional accomplishments. My purpose for serving on the Commission has always been straightforward: Protect Arizonans and grow an economy. Period. I want to ensure that all Arizonans have access to a reliable and affordable electrical grid, clean water and safe infrastructure. I want to continue the implementation of conservative reforms such as Governor Doug Ducey’s ‘Lean Government Initiative.’ I want to fight for our seniors who often are taken advantage of by unscrupulous financial planners.”

Andy Tobin

Andy Tobin

Commissioner Tobin continued: “After serving on the Commission for over 200 days, it is clear to me that there is still so much more work to be done here on behalf of Arizonans. This election is far from over. Special interest groups connected to Hillary Clinton and the Obama Administration are threatening to turn the Commission a deep shade of liberal blue. It seems like every week, a new burdensome, job-killing environmental regulation scuttles out of Washington.Let’s send a clear message at the polls this November: Arizona, especially our rural communities, cannot afford the federal government’s ‘wisdom,’and we must not stand for it either.  I ask for your vote for the Arizona Corporation Commission because I understand that the job of elected leaders is not to protect themselves or the government — it is to protect the taxpayers.”

Arizona Right to Life PAC Did NOT Endorse Kate Brophy McGee

Last week, a mailer went out from an independent expenditure in support of Kate Brophy McGee. On the mailer, was a list of organizations that endorsed Brophy McGee in her race for Arizona State Senate. One of those endorsements was Arizona Right to Life.

This endorsement was incorrect. Arizona Right to Life did NOT endorse Kate Brophy McGee.

This was brought to my attention because I was once the Executive Director and Director for the Arizona Right to Life.

Given Brophy McGee’s voting record, she has never been endorsed by Arizona Right to Life.

In her Primary race, she is running unopposed as a Republican. She receive the Republican nomination on Tuesday, August 30th. She will run against a rabidly liberal, pro-abortion Democrat, Eric Meyer, in the General Election.

The mailer that was sent out was produced in error. Again, Kate Brophy-McGee was not endorsed by Arizona Right to Life.

The vendor who prepared the mailer, made an error. The vendor also released a letter and apology to Arizona Right to Life stating that mailer was done in error.

Here is that letter:

August 24, 2016

Arizona Right To Life
Attention Greg Hansen Jr.
4633 N 54th St, Phoenix, AZ 85018

Re: LD 28 Mail piece

Dear Greg:

We would like to offer our sincerest apologies for having listed Az. Right To Life on the LD 28 endorsement piece we did for a client recently.

By way of background, I am pro-life and had the privilege of working for your organization several years ago. I hold your organization in high esteem.

It is always an honor for a candidate to receive the endorsement from Az. Right To Life. However, due to an unfortunate error on my part, your organization was listed for someone who was not on your endorsed list. For that, we sincerely apologize to Arizona Right To Life and to you Greg, for this error.

We wish you the very best this election season. If you have any other concerns, please don’t hesitate to call me.


Judy Connell

(Read full letter)

Guest Opinion: Single Shot Syms

By Cactus Cantina Chats

With ten more days remaining until the August 30th primary election let’s focus on Legislative District 28 (LD 28).  Republican primary voters have a real chance to nominate a successful, well-educated female candidate to serve on their behalf in one of two legislative House seats for the next two years.  Maria Syms is the only candidate running in LD28 with the potential to win in November and serve honorably for the State of Arizona.  Please use your two votes to push her through the Republican primary.

Let’s take a look at Syms’ competition for the two House seats, and then evaluate Syms’ impressive background:

Ken Bowers, Jr. is the final candidate running for the Arizona House. It is quite difficult to know too much about who he is and where he stands on the issues because he has also decided to ignore candidate surveys issues by different associations and groups representing causes or industries throughout Arizona. He seems to only care about reforming Arizona’s correctional system and hasn’t given much thought to the broader issues facing Arizona’s future.

Alberto Gutier, III is an active PC in LD28.  Unfortunately, he has not taken the time to fill out any candidate surveys or set up a website sharing his viewpoints on the issues. Nice guys typically don’t finish first in a competitive legislative race.

Mary Hamway is an uber liberal Republican In Name Only (RINO) candidate who is a retread from the 2014 election cycle. Hamway has spent so much time as a Paradise Valley town councilmember raising taxes and cutting funding for cops that she single-handedly jeopardizes a prosperous future for Arizona.  Since Mary lacks the spine to vote publicly she and several of her other Big Government crony councilmembers rely on closed door executive sessions so they don’t have to truly make a public statement of town council matters.  Hamway talks out of both sides of her mouth if you can bear to listen to her speak.  Hamway has been an arduous proponent of Medicaid expansion and common core over the past several years.  Hamway self-funded her 2014 loser campaign to the tune of nearly $100,000. After she lost to Bolick, she had her husband make a $500 campaign contribution to liberal pro-choice Democrat Eric Meyer. It is not surprising Hamway has been endorsed by the former Mayor of Paradise Valley, Scott Le Marr, who once served on the Planned Parenthood board.

Matt Morales is a moderate Republican precinct committeeman (PC) in LD28 who has been a registered lobbyist on behalf of the vaping and gaming industries.  Need we highlight any more of his resume to illustrate that he is not a conservative choice.  Morales likes to tell his fellow Republican voters how he encouraged Kate McGee in 2010 to use her maiden name “Brophy” to get elected to the Arizona House of Representatives.  In 2014, Morales boasted of being Adam Driggs’ campaign manager.  At the same time Morales worked on an Independent Expenditure (IE) to benefit only McGee and Driggs in the general election.  Considering there was one additional Republican on the ballot for the other House seat this speaks volumes to Morales’ lack of character in electing Republicans to two House seats. One last point: it is laughable that Morales’ campaign signs say “conservative” and “personal freedom.”  He answered the Arizona Voter Guide’s survey which is sponsored by Center for Arizona Policy as supportive of a living Constitution.

Maria Syms

Maria Syms

Fortunately, LD28 has Maria Syms as their only conservative choice!  She has taken the time to thoughtfully share her views on the issues in support or opposition against many policy issues facing Arizona.  Syms has served honorably on her short time on the Paradise Valley Town Council.  There aren’t many city elected officials who don’t vote in lockstep to vote for a tax increase, but Syms is one who has encouraged thoughtful conversation while holding the line on tax increases. If she wasn’t running for the Legislature she would be a perfect addition to Arizona’s Justice system.  Her past job titles include: Assistant U.S. Attorney, Senior Adviser to Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich plus she is a Mom of three children spanning the school choice spectrum so she fully grasps education and opportunity for all!

When you vote by early ballot, or vote in person on August 30th please only vote for Syms! She is the real deal and the only choice to represent LD28 honorably.

Republican Candidates for Arizona Corporation Commission Debate on Horizon

Follow the Money: SolarCity to Bob Burns

“Follow the Money”

SolarCity, a company who has one of the largest financial stakes in decisions that are made by the Corporation Commission is pouring money into Bob Burns re-election campaign through the AZ “Save Our Az Solar” committee.  From mail pieces and robo calls, to Google and Facebook ads.

What they don’t want Republican voters to know is that they are desperately hoping their candidate makes it out of the Primary so they can team him up with the two Democrats in the General election.

Yes, that’s correct; the SolarCity Dream Team – Bob Burns and the two Democrats.

Oh, how the money and games flow, not quite like the Game of Thrones but still intriguing:
(click on chart)

SolarCity Web




Save Our AZ Solar

Energy Choice For America

Kris Mayes appointed to the Energy Foundation’s board of directors

Energy Foundation financials

Scott Hempling’s clients

Dan Barr – Attorney for Checks and Balances

Outside groups target Arizona

SolarCity funded group targeting commission


Frank Schmuck Questions Jeff Dial’s Military Record in Political Ad

Conservative Republican Frank Schmuck released a new digital ad today questioning the military service of Jeff Dial. Dial is seeking reelection to the Arizona State Senate in Legislative District 18.

The ad references Dial’s admission that his military service was characterized as “unsatisfactory participation” due to his weight, but the Schmuck campaign cites military regulations for an accurate definition.

According to regulations, “unsatisfactory participation” is due to “disobeying military orders” or not showing up for duty or “Absence Without Leave” or AWOL.

Earlier this week, the Schmuck campaign asked Jeff Dial to release his DD-214, the official document issued by the Department of Defense certifying release of discharge of active military service.

Dial has refused to release his DD-214 and instead has only provided a DD 256, which only certifies completion of a term as a reservist. The DD Form 256 is not used to determine if someone is a veteran in part because it can be purchased online with no verification of military service required and because active dates of service must be listed to qualify.

Dial and Schmuck will square off in the August 30th Primary Election.




Frank Schmuck Releases DD-214, Demands Jeff Dial Release His Military Records

Frank Schmuck for Arizona Senate
There has been some discussion regarding the military service of my opponent in this primary race. Articles have been written questioning and challenging his military service record. To put things in perspective and provide contrast, I am releasing my military records to the public. The public has a right to know the character and quality of my military service, just as they have a right to know the character and quality of my opponent’s claimed service record. I am providing links to my DD Form 214 and DD Form 215 along with another link to my Officer Performance Reports (OPR’s). The DD Form 214 is a transcript of your military service.

Unfortunately, my opponent has refused to release his records numerous times to the Arizona Republic and at the request of Veterans who live in his district.

My opponent may tell you he has an “Honorable Discharge” however, the form he cites, a DD Form 256 (kind of like a certificate) is UNACCEPTABLE proof to employers, mortgage lenders, the US Department of Veterans Affairs, the Arizona Department of Veterans Services and any Veteran Service Organization, like the American Legion, VFW etc. for Veteran status, to get a loan, to obtain a Veteran license plate or to achieve membership into their organization.

One may certainly say that one has an “Honorable Discharge” based on a 256 certificate, but that does not allow one to say, “I am a Veteran.”  Someone could go to basic training and advanced individual training and then stop going to one’s reserve unit and eventually receive an “Honorable Discharge” certificate, but that would not make one a Veteran.  The title “Veteran” is reserved for those who have a certain number of days of active duty service, not training.

The true test of a “Veteran” is the DD Form 214/215.  My opponent has admitted his DD Form 214 is marked as “Uncharacterized.” Why does he refuse to release his DD Form 214? What is he hiding? My opponent has also admitted to “Unsatisfactory Participation,” which military regulations define as disobeying a direct military order or Absent Without Leave (AWOL).

Analysis of records  appear to prove that my opponent signed up for Army Basic Training (NOT Service) and afterwards failed to show for duty, shirking nearly 8 years of service, by his choice. Thereafter, for my opponent to say he is “very proud of my country, and stand by my eight years of service in the military” is an insult to every Veteran who has served, and all the families of Veterans who lost their lives and sacrificed for their loved one.

Two military experts, at the request of the Arizona Republic, reviewed my opponent’s record. A US Navy Seal and Stolen Valor Team Member, Captain Larry Bailey, has stated, “the idea that he [Dial] is a veteran is ‘laughable.’

A Brigadier General with a career of expertise in military records has said, “it is odd that Dial could get an honorable discharge given his military record.” He went on to say, “He’s not somebody I would stand next to and say I’d go to combat with this guy.

If my opponent truly “served” from 1996 to 2004 then why did he not campaign as a Veteran in 2004; yet in 2008 began campaigning as a Veteran? If he had already done 7 or 8 years of service by then wouldn’t he know he is Veteran?  See the Citizens Clean Elections Commission Candidate Statements – Jeff Dial
 The public has a right to know that falsely portraying your military service is an offense on this country and when done for gain (as in the case of an election and employment), may be punishable not only in the court of public opinion but in a court of law. Every voter is a juror and all you need is a preponderance of evidence to convict in this case, but doesn’t this seem beyond even a reasonable doubt? Jeff Dial appears to have misled the public about his military service or lack thereof, and the public deserves to know all the facts.
Will you call (602) 926-5550 and ask Jeff Dial to release his records including his DD Form 214?


Frank Schmuck
Candidate for  Arizona State Senate
Legislative District 18
Representing Ahwatukee, and parts of
Chandler, Mesa and Tempe

Note: The DD Form 214 is a transcript of an individual’s military service and is  “a document of the United States Department of Defense, issued upon a military service member’s retirement, separation, or discharge from active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States. The DD Form 215 is used to correct errors or additions to a DD Form 214 discovered after the original had been delivered and/or distribution had been made. It is distributed in the same manner as the DD Form 214.” The DD Form 256 is NOT an acceptable form of proof for qualifying someone as a “Veteran.” For more visit: http://www.cem.va.gov/hmm/discharge_documents.asp

Andy Tobin, Al Melvin & Rick Gray Form Team To Run For Corporation Commission

July 20 – (Phoenix, AZ) Republican Corporation Commission candidates Andy TobinAl Melvin and Rick Gray announced that they are running as a team for the three Arizona Corporation Commission seats that are up for election.

“Already being on the Commission I appreciate the importance of quality commissioners who are working together to provide stability to both providers and ratepayers, and that’s what I believe this team will do,” said current Commissioner Andy Tobin.
“As three conservative Republicans who are equally committed to ensuring a plentiful supply of clean and safe water and electricity to our great state, the team approach just made sense,” said former State Senator Al Melvin.

State Representative Rick Gray said, “With our team of Tobin, Melvin and Gray the people of Arizona will have strong leadership that will work to protect the ratepayers while providing affordable, reliable utilities.”

Collectively, Tobin, Melvin, and Gray have all been awarded Friend of the Taxpayer and Friend of the Family awards, and have extensive private and public sector expertise.

Rep Kelly Townsend Releases Open Email to District PC’s

Sonoran Alliance obtained a copy of an email that is currently circulating among Maricopa County Republican Precinct Committeemen. The email is a personal and heartfelt defense and revelation of the difficulty she has had working with the President of the State Senate, Andy Biggs.

Sonoran Alliance has redacted certain personal information from the email.


It is with a heavy heart that I write this email to you this morning.  There is so much I could say to you but I will choose to keep everything to just facts to keep it as short as possible. If there is anything you need clarification on, please send me a message and I can expound on the fact in question.
Last night, Andy Biggs was a guest speaker at the LD meeting. Only a handful of you were there because most were home watching the convention and acceptance speech.  However, there were enough people in attendance that what was said about me by Mr. Biggs, and the chairman’s subsequent reaction, need to be addressed.  I was accused of “threatening Mr. Bigg’s family” and Dennis Brimhall, a supporter of Andy Biggs, refused to allow me to defend myself and threatened to have me forcibly removed.
At issue:
I recently was asked to go on Sunday Square off and describe why I regretted my vote to limit TANF to one year of lifetime eligibility for needy families.  To truly explain it, I would need a two hour show and I only had minutes.  What I did say was that I regret it and last year’s decision was in part because of how I had been “conditioned” by Andy Biggs to not oppose him or I would face the consequences.  Here is why:
  •     In 2013, I went on the radio to discuss the child bride situation in Colorado City, where the police would return a 12 year old runaway to her abuser rather than hold that abuser accountable.  I was asked on radio why people turn a blind eye to the situation, which I answered that although I couldn’t turn a blind I, I pledged to do everything I could to fight pedophilia wherever I could.  I hung up and cried due to the disturbing content of the conversation, and meanwhile the radio host subsequently began to bring up Andy Bigg’s blocking of a Michelle Ugenti bill that would have allowed for sanctioning of that police department. I knew that he might think I was participating in that part of the conversation, so I immediately began to reach out to him to explain I was only talking about child brides.  He didn’t answer so I left a phone message.  After no personal communication, I began asking for a meeting at work.  I sent several emails, as did my assistant, none of which were returned.  The rest of my bills died that session.  I finally asked him if he would speak to me at the end of session, and he agreed and admitted he was angry at me and said I should have never gone on the radio to discuss the issue in the first place.  I told him that I had thick skin and if there was something I did wrong, as Senate President he should sit me down and talk about it, not stonewall me.
  • Although it was very upsetting that Andy Biggs did not allow Rep. Ugenti’s bill to go forward, I had hoped that he would offer an alternative solution to the police scandal in Colorado City.  The following year I saw no such solution.  Instead, all of my bills that went out of the House were not assigned to committee for a great length of time.  I had to call the Speaker-Pro-tem and tell him I was “off the budget” meaning I would vote no on any budget bill until after my bills had been assigned.  I had learned from the previous year that the “stall to kill” tactic could be used to delay the bill from getting through the process in time before the budget was complete and we closed session.  We were in budget negotiations and would close session any day and my bills had yet to be assigned.  I knew at that point I was being punished once again. I wasn’t sure if it was because I spoke out against pedophilia or if this time it was to punish me for my Convention of States bill that he didn’t like.  He claimed last night to only have blocked 5 of my 60 bills.  Although that may be the hard fact, the sad fact is I had to resort to counter tactics each subsequent year to avoid being punished again.  Something I never thought I would have to do within my own party, with someone who was once my #1 political hero.
  • Later that year, his [REDACTED] began sending me Facebook messages asking for money over the course of 6 months, along with asking for advice about a suspected pregnancy.  I am a doula and we were Facebook friends so I suppose [REDACTED] thought I would be helpful.  It was Christmastime and I didn’t have extra funds.  I was asked for food money, for money to keep [REDACTED] phone on, money for various other needs.  I was confused because I thought [REDACTED] had won the publisher’s clearing house, and I also thought he believed that family should help the needy, not the government.  I was dismayed when [REDACTED] told me [REDACTED] had been on food stamps for two years because he wouldn’t help [REDACTED].  Not that I judged [REDACTED] for that, but because he would often scoff at people for “drinking from the public trough” as he always put it.
  • I began to see an incredible level of hypocrisy from a man who was punishing me for wanting to stop pedophiles.  I decided it was time to send him a text and tell him that it was inappropriate for his [REDACTED] to be asking me for money and that it should be he who was taking care of his pregnant [REDACTED]. He returned the email telling me to stay out of it.  Soon thereafter, I received a new message from his [REDACTED] excited that he was buying [REDACTED] and [REDACTED] new [REDACTED] a house.  Relieved, I agreed to see the photo of it.  I was shocked to find a photo of a garden shed with a porch on it.  No running water, one room. [REDACTED] was asking me if it was legal to put it on her mother-in-law’s back yard without a permit and I advised [REDACTED] that as a pregnant mom, she should be in a house with running water.
  • At this point, I was horrified and didn’t know what to think.  I stopped corresponding with [REDACTED] because I knew it would only lead to disaster, which it did.  Shortly thereafter we had to vote on the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF).  I was so appalled that there was the argument that families and church should be the ones taking care of their own, not government and all the while I was being asked by this person’s [REDACTED] to support [REDACTED] when he was the millionaire.  It was almost too much to bear at this point.  I took a long time deciding how to vote, and I chose to vote yes on his bill as a Conservative.  But it wasn’t without tears, it wasn’t without feeling horrible and full of questions about rhetoric that really isn’t meaningful when you don’t put your money where your mouth is.  And yes, I partly chose to vote yes because I didn’t want all my hard work going down the drain again next year due to the stall and kill tactic.
There is so much more I could tell you folks, but I will leave it at this to explain to you that I never once threatened his family.  I said that I would bring this to light because it was important for voters to know that things aren’t always as they seem.  As someone who has had to work with hundreds of molested mothers in childbirth and watch the anguish they go through as they deal with their past during that most vulnerable time, as someone who has had this issue strike too close to home, it has become impossible for me to remain quiet about these issues.  I have been told to keep my mouth shut and just take the high road.  Folks, this is too serious.  I was accused of many things last night, and our chairman refused to allow me to defend myself and was threatened.
I am angry.  I am angry at him for allowing the problem in Colorado City to continue, and I am angry that Rep. Ugenti and myself have suffered the consequences ever since for speaking out.  I am about the truth, and at this point, because Mr. Biggs brought it up at the LD meeting and I was not allowed to defend myself, I must send you this most unsavory email.  I have been quiet for four years.  That is long enough.  For the sake of sexually abused men and women everywhere, I tell you the truth this morning, and let the chips fall where they may.
Should you desire confirmation of any of this, I do have the screenshots of the Facebook confirmation. 
Brokenhearted and mad as heck,
Kelly Townsend