So You Want To Be A Legislator And Support Religious Liberty?

Guest Opinion by Anonymous (for obvious reasons)

Kudos to you.  But you had better be prepared for a whole lot of hatred coming your way from the hypocritical left.  They have a real habit of telling you to be tolerant while telling you to die.  As the public face of support for SB1062, Arizona’s Religious Freedom bill, State Senator Al Melvin’s Facebook page was deluged with vile comments.  We don’t have space for all of them, but here are some excellent examples of what passes for political discourse and tolerance on the left these days:

Some folks just want to blame the Mormons…  Like Kay here.  She is a former member of the church who thinks it is a cult.  Of course, Kay also thinks the majority of GOP legislators are LDS, and she intends to make sure that everyone knows that.

Kay Doesn't Like Mormons

Shane wouldn’t blame the Mormons, because he likely considers it narrow-minded to blame just one group of Christians when you can blame ALL of the Christians.

Shane Hates the Bible

Jett seems less upset at organized religion and more upset at the Bible itself.  A lot more upset.

Jett Smith thinks you're scum

Bart here is apparently still smarting from losing his job as a nutrition counselor.  In fairness Bart, we’re pretty sure that’s not the 5-A-Day plan most people think about.

Bart has a 5 lb bag!

Ciaran was in a bit of a hurry, so we just get the short and sweet from Ciaran.  It gets weird when Ciaran seems to have some inside knowledge though.  First you want him to die, then you celebrate that he’s almost dead?  Does Ciaran know something we don’t know?

And Ciaran can't wait for Al to die

Ciaran thinks Al's a cunt
Comparatively speaking, David here is one of the good guys.  He doesn’t want Melvin dead, but he’s liking the idea of tracking down a State Senator and beating him, you know, “for good measure”?

David Allen wants to beat Al

James wants lots of people to die, so it isn’t personal, okay Senator Melvin?  We mean, he does want you to die, but he also wants lots of other people to die.

James Jefferies Wants You To Die

Richard seemed like a pretty good example of the basic profanity laced “I wish you were dead” comment.  Not exactly Lincoln-Douglas, but we’re sure he’s doing the best he can with what he has.

Richard wants Al dead too

And what would a leftist outburst be without invoking a Nazi reference or two?  Gary, what’s with that profile picture though?  Seriously?

Gary Dailey Nazi

Chris Thomas has anger issues.  He isn’t alone in that.  Melvin’s campaign says they’ve deleted “probably two hundred” posts that were not what we’d call family friendly.  But Chris seemed to be one of the more inspired authors of hate-filled rants.  And oddly, Chris is very pro-Common Core, which ought to have been a completely different debate.  Looks like Chris doesn’t like Melvin’s position against Common Core either.  Show of hands here, do you agree with Chris’ assertion that he is “apart of the human race?”

Chris Thomas 2

Remarkably, it looks like part of Melvin’s team actually took the time to respond to this guy.  They probably didn’t make that effort twice.  Chris is not pleased.  Now Chris wants Melvin’s people dead.  Also, Chris would like to add his voice to those who do not like the bible.  We know, you’re shocked.

Chris Thomas wants CQ dead too

Chris and Kay ought to talk.  Chris doesn’t like Mormons either.  He wants them to die.  Graphically.  In fact, he’s already decided how he wants them to die.  We think we speak for civilized society at large when we say we’re glad Chris doesn’t have it his way?

Chris Thomas Hates Mormons

Looks like Melvin’s campaign started deleting Chris’ comments.  Well OF COURSE they did!  We’d recommend not just deleting them, but using the BAN feature offered by Facebook.  Apparently they didn’t go that route, because Chris is back and he wants Al Melvin DEAD, weirdly enough, with the bullet that hit Gabby Giffords.  Although he’ll apparently settle for a .357 round.

Chris Thomas 1

The statement we received from Melvin’s campaign was relatively patient, considering.  They said “Al’s been at this a long time.  He has voted for Constitutional Carry, protecting marriage, SB1070, and the list goes on.  So this isn’t the first time he has taken a stand on an important issue.  Receiving hate from people who disagree with you is saddening but not surprising.  Comments usually fall into four groups:  People who agree with you or thank you.  People who disagree with you and want to debate the idea.  People who just want to call names without adding anything to the debate.  And the really ugly folks who flat out hate you and tend to lost control of their thoughts and emotions in their haste to express their hate.  The third and fourth groups are just best deleted, otherwise they obscure any rational debate that might actually occur, and they tend to drive away the decent people who may agree or disagree with you.”

Point taken.  And if it makes our blog readers feel better, Chris Thomas, like most of the folks captured in this post, isn’t even from Arizona.  That makes us feel a bit better, even if now we have to feel sorry for Chesapeake, Virginia!

 

 

Handicapping the Arizona Governor’s Race

Arizona PBS’s Horizon just featured a segment featuring ASU pollster Bruce Merrill discussing the current lineup and prospects seeking the office of Governor in 2014. For the most part I agree with Merrill’s assessment on the candidates but I think I’d like to point out some factors that the respected pollster may have overlooked.

First, here’s the interview with Ted Simon:

YouTube Preview Image

If I were to break out the GOP gubernatorial race into three tiers, this is what it would look like. (For the purpose of full disclosure, I do not have any of these candidates as clients.)

First Tier:
Arizona State Treasurer Doug Ducey
Mesa Mayor Scott Smith

Second Tier:
Secretary of State Ken Bennett
Christine Jones
Former Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman

Third Tier:
State Senator Al Melvin
Former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas

Assessing the first tier of candidates, both Ducey and Smith are extremely formidable candidates with perhaps the best consulting firms/teams in Arizona running their campaigns. I like to refer to this race as a battle between the House of Noble and the House of Coughlin.

DC London is run by former Chief of Staff to Congressman John Shadegg, Sean Noble – one of the most disciplined, organized and well-connected consultants in the business. House of Coughlin is run by Governor Brewer’s closest advisor and strategist, Chuck Coughlin who founded and oversees Arizona’s HighGround firm. As noted, Noble and Coughlin are two of the best Republican consultants in the state of Arizona. Both their firms are ready to lock horns in the governor’s race with teams that will make the Republican primary battle very exciting to watch.

Both Doug Ducey and Scott Smith are also strong leaders in their respective arenas. They know how to campaign effectively and are very good with audiences. They also have the capacity to bring a lot of money to the table for their teams. On the GOP spectrum, Ducey draws out support from the grassroots while Smith tends to identify with the establishment.

At the present, Ducey’s assertiveness for this race has been a little below the radar while Smith’s team has been actively taking advantage of opportunities to boost the mayor’s profile. We saw this recently in Smith’s election as President of the US Conference of Mayors. This makes sense from Smith’s perspective since his profile is highest in the east valley and Ducey has already obtained statewide name recognition.

This race will be very tight as money, leadership style, likability and their respective teams are evenly matched.

Looking at the second tier, I would have to place Secretary of State Ken Bennett at the top of this tier, although he has the chance to bounce into the first tier given an effective campaign team. Bennett has run for statewide office before although he really didn’t have any competition. Anyone who knows Ken Bennett knows him as one of the nicest elected officials they’ve ever met. But his chivalrous soft-spoken demeanor is often seen as a lack of assertiveness. To jump into the first tier, he will need ditch some of the nice-guy persona and get a little more assertive.

Christine Jones’ biggest challenge is that no one knows who she is. Whoever she hires as her team will need to do a lot of catching up making the rounds. If she is counting on raising money from the political establishment, this will be tough because most of the cash is flowing to the upper tier. She will have to put a lot of her own money into the race to boost her profile and prove credibility as a candidate. When I first heard her name mentioned for a statewide office, my suggestion was to see her run for Attorney General because a Christine Jones vs. Felecia Rotellini matchup would keep that seat in the hands of Republicans.

Hugh Hallman also remains in the second tier primarily because of the challenges of statewide name identification and the challenge of fundraising in a crowded field. Hallman is one of the smartest policy guys and that may come off as being too wonky, geeky and not strong enough leadership. He is well liked but running for Governor is not like running for the 8th most populous city in Arizona,

Jumping to the third tier, it’s accurate to say that both Senator Al Melvin and former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas have no path to victory whatsoever.

Senator Melvin is one of the nicest men you will ever meet but his time in the Arizona Legislature has branded him with the image of the grandfatherly citizen legislator. He has never run for statewide office and the money, energy and team it requires to mount such a campaign is out of reach.

Finally (and this is difficult to write), Andrew Thomas has no chance of winning the nomination short of the entire Arizona judiciary system being indicted for corruption. If Thomas had only remained in the office of County Attorney and successfully beat the judiciary system, he might be invincible. Unfortunately he now has one of the highest political radioactivity levels when it comes to former elected officials. This will doom his campaign.

Having managed a statewide campaign, I will tell you that it is a tremendous amount of work that requires millions of dollars. Money does make the difference in races and candidates who assert themselves early through money, endorsements and profile take the advantage. Watch for this race to be far more exciting than it was in 2010!

 

Shane Wikfors is the creator and editor of Sonoran Alliance and President of Red Mountain Consulting & Development. He has been active in Arizona campaigns, grassroots politics and non-profit issue advocacy for over 23 years. You can read more about him at ShaneWikfors.com.

Republican Gubernatorial Candidates: Who Do You Like?

Al Melvin, Steve Smith, Adam Kwasman form Conservative Team in Newly Formed LD-11

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 30, 2012

Conservative Team Emerges for GOP in New LD11

~ Smith’s move to the State House paves way for united GOP slate ~ 

Central Arizona – After careful consideration, conservative State Senator Steve Smith announced that he would be running as a candidate for the State House in 2012, thwarting an attempt by the liberal Arizona Redistricting Commission to force him into a primary with fellow conservative State Senator Al Melvin. Smith and Adam Kwasman, a financial consultant, will be candidates for the two House seats while Al Melvin will run for re-election to the State Senate.

In 2010, Smith shocked the political establishment with his stunning victory over longtime incumbent Rebecca Rios, whose family had held the seat for nearly 30 years. He joined Melvin in the State Senate where they worked together to pass a balanced budget free of the gimmicks and borrowing that had plagued Arizona for years. They also worked to pass a Jobs Bills to encourage job growth by cutting state spending and providing needed tax relief for businesses. Their hard work has been rewarded as Arizona is now projected to have a budget surplus of more than $600 Million in 2012.

Kwasman is well known for his role in helping to elect conservative Republicans, and his campaign has already received the support of prominent Republicans like U.S. Congressman Trent Franks, Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne.

In discussing their newly formed campaign team Senator Melvin said “Steve and I have worked together very well in the Senate and I think that everyone appreciates him putting the district and the whole Republican Party first. The Redistricting Commission has tried very hard to pit Republican versus Republican and they failed in the new LD11.”

Smith said “In light of the fact that Senator Melvin is now the senior Senator in our new district, I feel that it is my responsibility to do whatever it takes to try and keep both of our conservative voices in the Legislature. I am also looking forward to serving with Adam Kwasman. He is an outstanding conservative candidate and he will make an excellent addition to the State Legislature.”

Kwasman agreed with Melvin’s statement and added “It is a privilege to be on the same team as these two conservative champions. They bring a wealth of knowledge and experience from the Legislature, the private sector, and the military, and I look forward to working with them to protect the taxpayers, attract more jobs, and keep Arizona’s economic recovery on track.”

###

Small Business’ Top 10 Arizona Legislative Victories in 2011

By Farrell Quinlan

The 50th Arizona Legislature has boldly staked its claim to being the most pro-small business legislature in Arizona’s history. With issue after issue, legislators advanced measures to relieve the tax and regulatory burdens on the engines of our economic recovery, Arizona’s small businesses.  Even in instances where lawmakers mistakenly pursued bad policy, they did so with the right motive in mind—creating more jobs.

Here are 2011’s top ten legislative victories for the small business:

  1. Broad-based Business Property Tax Relief – Passage of then-House Speaker Kirk Adams’ “jobs bill” (HB 2001) included historic business property tax relief that when fully implemented will mean a 28 percent reduction in the business property tax assessment ratio over the preceding decade. Our business property tax burden was the fourth highest in the nation back in 2006 when we began to lower the Class 1 assessment ratio from 25 percent. When the 18 percent Class 1 ratio is realized in 2016, Arizona’s business property tax burden will have settled into the low- to mid-20’s ranking among the 50 states. Truly historic. Moreover, Governor Brewer’s courageous veto of SB 1041 upheld the principle of broad-based business property tax relief over the allure of constitutionally-dubious schemes that pick winners over losers in the tax code.
  2. Corporate Income Tax Rate Cut – The “jobs bill” was so monumental this session; it easily earns the top two positions on this list of small business victories. HB 2001 also slashes Arizona’s corporate income tax rate 30 percent to 4.9 percent when it’s fully phased in by 2017. We should not discount the enormously positive signal this sends to out-of-state enterprises looking to relocate to more business-friendly states. Our corporate income tax and business property tax rates are no longer in question due to our protracted budget crisis. Instead, Prop. 108’s protection against tax increases effectively locks in not only stable and predictable rates—it locks in significantly lower rates. That’s the best economic development tool we could create to spur the strong, broad-based economic recovery that we are all looking to achieve.
  3. Health Savings Account Incentives – House Majority Leader Steve Court’s HB 2556 creates income tax credits for small businesses for the premium paid on a high deductable health plan and for contributions to employees’ health savings accounts. 
  4. Local ‘Bounty Hunter’ Audit Ban – Sen. Steve Yarbrough’s SB 1165 reverses the emerging trend of cities contracting with ‘bounty hunter’ auditors on a contingent fee basis to audit businesses collecting sales tax receipts.
  5. City & County Regulatory Bill of Rights – Sen. Lori Klein’s SB 1598 establishes a Regulatory Bill of Rights to ensure fair and open regulation by local governments.
  6. Union Preference Prohibition – Rep. Michelle Ugenti’s HB 2644 prohibits state entities, counties, cities and towns from accepting federal money for a construction project if accepting it requires them to give a preference to union labor.
  7. Employer Protections & Labor Relations – Sen. Frank Antenori’s SB 1363 restricts unlawful picketing, trespassing and defamation by labor unions against a business.
  8. Tax Closing Agreements Reform – Rep. Jack Harper’s HB 2202 enhances the criteria for declaring an ‘affected class’ for the purposes of determining whether an extensive misunderstanding or misapplication of Arizona tax laws has occurred—thereby allowing for the abatement of past tax liability, interest and penalties.
  9. IRS Conformity Policy – Rep. Harper’s HB 2332 waives any interest or penalties for unpaid tax liability due when the state fails to conform to revised definitions in the Internal Revenue Code in time for the taxpayer to accurately file their annual tax return.
  10. Civil Appeal Bond Limits – Sen. Al Melvin’s SB 1212 provides some relief for businesses in civil lawsuits by limiting the amount of the bond that must be posted against a judgment during the appeals process.

Though this list could go on listing other wins in areas like workers’ compensation reform and returning solvency to our unemployment insurance trust fund, it should be noted that the 2011 session included its share of disappointments.

Sen. Antenori’s SB 1322 would have required most municipal services in Phoenix and Tucson that cost more than $500,000 to go through an open and competitive bidding process. Sen. Nancy Barto’s SB 1593 would have allowed healthcare insurers from any of the 50 states to issue their policies in Arizona under the same coverage terms as in their home state. Unfortunately, both were vetoed by Governor Brewer. The Legislature also failed to act on a referendum to increase the exemption amount on the business personal property tax, a job-killing tax that punishes small businesses for reinvesting in machinery and equipment to grow their businesses.

Still, these setbacks cannot diminish the 50th Arizona Legislature’s overwhelmingly positive record on small business issues. The 7,500 Arizona members of the National Federation of Independent Business thank Governor Brewer and our lawmakers for this session’s impressive achievements on behalf of small business and look forward to building on them next year.

 – Farrell Quinlan is state director for the National Federation of Independent Business in Arizona (www.nfib.com/az). 

Click here to access the NFIB/Arizona Voting Record to see how your lawmakers voted on these and other bills.