PR: Secretary of State Ken Bennett Endorses Senator John Huppenthal for Superintendent of Public Instruction in 2010

PHOENIX – Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett today announced his endorsement of State Senator John Huppenthal for Superintendent of Public Instruction in 2010.

Senator Huppenthal, the current Senate Education Chairman, is weighing a potential run for this position in 2010 and opened an exploratory committee last month to measure public support. The current Superintendent, Tom Horne, cannot run for re-election due to term limits.

Bennett said he is encouraging Huppenthal to enter the race, and would look forward to campaigning with him statewide.

“I’ve worked closely with Senator Huppenthal, first as a member of the Arizona State Board of Education, and later as a State Senator,” said Bennett. “I can tell you from personal experience that Senator Huppenthal is a policy wonk’s wonk. He does his homework and nobody knows the issues better. He brings real intellectual depth to the making of public policy.”

Bennett served on the Arizona State Board of Education from 1992 to 1998, and served as its president in 1996 and 1998. He served in the Arizona State Senate from 2000 to 2008, where he served as Chairman of the Senate Education Committee for two years and as Senate President for four years (2003-2007).

“Ken Bennett has a long and distinguished record of working to improve the quality of education for Arizona’s children.” said Huppenthal. “I’m honored to have his support.”

Huppenthal is one of Arizona’s leading authorities on education issues. In addition to being the current Senate Education Chairman, Huppenthal has served for 17 consecutive years on the State House and State Senate education committees.

Huppenthal’s reputation for making policy based on the best research available is well established. A September 2008 editorial in The Arizona Republic stated:

“…Huppenthal is a veteran of the Legislature, having chaired five committees and being as knowledgeable about the bill-making process as any of his colleagues. He’s a pragmatic conservative who bases his positions on exhaustive research and works across party lines to get worthwhile bills passed.

Huppenthal insists that legislation be based on best practices from around the country, and he’s prone to arcane dissertations based on stacks of studies he has compiled as he delves into state and district problems. It’s not sexy stuff but it’s necessary to guide a legislative process too often led astray by raw politics and emotion.”  (Read editorial.)

A February 2008 article by reporter Luige del Puerto in the Arizona Capitol Times stated:

“Don’t start Sen. John Huppenthal with reports and studies. A staff member says he probably knows more about them than most, and that’s probably an understatement. Indeed, when the Chandler lawmaker makes a point on the floor it is certain to be backed up by research, and not just any kind of research, but the best research available. To converse with Huppenthal is to immerse in figures, percentages, growth rates and performance ratings. He treats studies the way others probably regard meditation, a way to find peace amid the noise and haste.”

During Senator Huppenthal’s legislative career he successfully developed and passed over 200 bills – the most of any legislator in Arizona history.

Senator Huppenthal played a key role in helping create school choice for parents. In 1995, as Senate Education Chairman, his legislation took the caps off charter schools. This legislation moved Arizona to first in the nation in school choice (ALEC rankings). In addition, Congressman Trent Franks named Senator Huppenthal one of three legislators most responsible for creating and expanding tuition tax credits in Arizona.

Bennett’s endorsement of Huppenthal comes one week after Arizona’s most popular elected office, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, said he would work to help elect Huppenthal should Huppenthal decide to run. A recent statewide poll by Rasmussen Reports shows 68% of Arizona voters have a favorable view of Arpaio.

For additional information, please call Senator John Huppenthal at (480) 330-3215 or visit www.ImprovingArizonaSchools.com.

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Previous press release: Sheriff Joe Arpaio Endorses Senator John Huppenthal