My Dear Fellow Republicans,
When it comes to the GOP primary in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District, I have been content sitting on the sidelines. I was hoping the primary candidates would stick to the issues and run on their records. For the most part, they have been doing that. Unfortunately, Tobin’s primary opponents have gone down a path of deception leveling false claims against a proven conservative and his track record. Therefore, I feel compelled to write this open letter to all Republicans in CD-01 to set the record straight.
In 2008, Arizona was in the midst of a great recession and was facing the largest budget deficit in its history. We were more than $3 billion in debt. The housing bubble had burst, costing tens of thousands of Arizonans their jobs. The state unemployment rate was screaming toward double digits and our economy was in a ditch. After six years of Janet Napolitano, government labor unions ruled the roost at taxpayer expense. Government spending was out of control and crime was on the rise.
I was sworn into the legislature on January 12, 2009. I remember it like it was yesterday. I first met Andy Tobin when he was House Majority Whip. He sat all of us newly elected freshmen legislators down to tell us what we were in for. The picture he painted wasn’t pretty. Tobin explained our need to stick together in the fight to get our state back on the right track. He told us that we were going to face the stiffest opposition from supporters of big labor unions, big government, and open borders.
Tobin got us working together as a team. In a few hard-fought years we began to turn things around. As Majority Whip and later Speaker of the House, Andy was on the front line of those battles every step of the way. He was the first person onto the battlefield and will be the last to leave.
Of course there were times when Andy and I disagreed on policies and methods but that was to be expected. The important thing is that I always trusted Andy. I still do. Andy has always been honest. He has always been a warrior for conservative values. Saying Andy Tobin isn’t conservative is absurd coming from primary opponents that lack any conservative record whatsoever. They are essentially campaigning on sound bites.
Here’s a list of some major reforms that our GOP team accomplished with Andy’s leadership:
We cut taxes. That’s right. In the midst of a recession we did something counterintuitive. While others were demanding that we raise income and business taxes, we cut them. We knew that Arizona’s economy needed a shot in the arm, not a blow to the head. Tax reform to encourage economic growth went to the top of our agenda. Andy led that effort and helped get the “Arizona Competitive Package” (HB-2001) passed. The bill completely eliminated the State Commerce Department. When was the last time any government eliminated an entire agency? I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty darn conservative to me.
We dramatically reduced regulation and the negative impact government labor unions were having on our economy. Senator Jonathan Paton, my seatmate, introduced “Save Our Secret Ballot,” which prevented union intimidation of workers. Andy not only supported it, he was instrumental in getting it passed through The House and sent to voters where it was overwhelmingly approved. Conservative.
We balanced the budget! After years of wasteful spending and unbalanced budgets, we cut up the state’s credit cards and hunkered down to get Arizona out of the red. Andy Tobin was Speaker and I was Senate Majority Whip. I experienced Andy’s statesmanship firsthand. His cool-headed leadership and no nonsense approach to getting Arizona back on track has now given the state a budget surplus. Washington needs an Arizona conservative that has balanced a budget.
Under Tobin’s leadership we cut state spending by 22%. A percentage greater than any other state or the federal government. None of the CD-01 primary opponents have a record even close to Andy’s. But somehow they expect to have the courage to make these hard decisions in Washington. If I were considering giving someone any job it would be a no brainer to pick the experienced candidate rather than the guy who thinks he can do it. Andy has cut spending, his opponents have not.
Together, Andy and I fought hard to stop Obamacare in 2010. The “Healthcare Freedom Act” (Proposition 106) prevented Arizonans from being forced to take part in ObamaCare. It was overwhelmingly approved by voters. But we didn’t stop there. We worked together day and night on other measures to blunt the impact of Obamacare in Arizona. I was in constant contact with Andy during the entire fight against ObamaCare. I was very aware of everything going on behind the scenes. He never supported a single stitch of ObamaCare or Medicaid Expansion!
Tobin led the fight against Obamacare in Arizona! He nearly lost his position as Speaker of the Arizona House for fighting back against this take over. There is nobody in the state that fought harder to stop Obamacare from coming to Arizona than Andy Tobin. Nobody.
How about illegal immigration? In 2010, SB-1070 was one of the most conservative bills ever to pass in Arizona, maybe in the entire country. Andy was under considerable pressure to stop the bill in the House, but he didn’t cave. Even when President Obama was attacking Arizonans from Washington, Tobin didn’t cave! He fought to make sure that SB-1070 got a vote on the house floor. It did. And with his vote, it was sent to the governor. His primary opponents talk a big game when it comes to illegal immigration. Where were they when Andy Tobin was fighting for Arizona’s conservative values?
Thanks to Tobin, Arizona is now the “free-est” state when it comes to the right to keep and bear arms. From concealed carry to defensive display, some of the most successful pro-second amendment legislation was passed during Tobin’s Speakership. His primary opponents were still in college or sitting in the gallery watching while he defended our 2nd Amendment rights.
In 2011, I was the only Arizona lawmaker with an “A+” rating from the NRA. Take it from me: Tobin is the only person in the race for Arizona’s 1st Congressional District who has a track record of protecting and expanding our second amendment rights. His “100% ‘A’ Rating” from the NRA speaks for itself. His primary opponents want to challenge his conservative pedigree? Not on my watch.
In 2012, I introduced a bill providing workers with “Paycheck Protection” to stop involuntary paycheck deductions to support union activities. The bill was identical to the legislation passed in Wisconsin by Governor Scott Walker years later. Andy supported and defended it. Despite statements to the contrary, I alone made the decision to exclude law enforcement professionals in the Paycheck Protection Bill. Like our brave military members, law enforcement officers place their lives in danger everyday to protect us. The decision to exclude public safety was also supported by Senator Russell Pearce, a former Deputy Sheriff who was seriously wounded in the line of duty. I dare anyone to claim that Senator Pearce isn’t conservative.
Lastly, Tobin fought against Common Core. He has fought for local control of testing and the right to opt-out of Common Core. Tobin ended AIMS testing and teacher tenure in K-12 schools, effectively growing school choice in Arizona.
Tobin’s obligation to Arizonans has always come before his personal interests. I have never seen his conservative principles waiver. Ever. During his legislative career, Tobin has given Arizona the best conservative agenda in its history. He has made Arizona the most pro-life, pro-second amendment, pro-school choice state in the country. Tobin has cut government, balanced budgets, fought illegal immigration, cut taxes and put a stop to wasteful government spending. Just last session Andy got rid of fat-cat pension plans for future elected officials, the only state in the country to do so. Conservative.
Nobody else running in this congressional district or any congressional district can claim a record like Andy’s. He’s been doing this for years. In the 1980’s, as the President of the Junior Chamber of Commerce, Andy was fighting for balanced budgets with President Reagan. He’s still fighting today.
Tobin will beat Kirkpatrick in November. He will help bring our country back, just like he has in Arizona. I am always the first to say that we need to focus on those who don’t follow conservative principles. Tobin’s primary opponents have it all wrong. Attacking Andy Tobin after his historical conservative achievements in Arizona is deplorable.
I hope you’ll join me in ending these attacks. Let’s get down to business and beat Kirkpatrick for future generations of Arizonans. Andy Tobin is the only person in this race who is qualified and experienced enough to represent Arizona in Washington. That’s why I am endorsing Andy Tobin for congress in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. Please join me in standing for rural Arizona’s conservative values by supporting Andy Tobin.
Senator Frank Antenori