‘School Choice Matters’ Ad Indicates Education To Be Top Issue In 2018

If you’re a Sunday Square Off viewer, you probably saw this political “thank you” ad air several times during the show. There was no “paid for” disclaimer but the ad was produced by the American Federation for Children.

The ad is airing to support and thank Governor Doug Ducey and the Arizona Legislature for passing and signing Senator Debbie Lesko’s Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) legislation. The law now expands school choice (although capped) throughout Arizona.

During final debate, opponents (primarily the Arizona Education Association) whipped up cataclysmic hysteria over the bill. Casual observers would have thought Arizona public education was about to be nuked into oblivion.

School choice advocates were probably caught off guard by the rapid rabid response.

Thus, the American Federation for Children realizing the need to recover the narrative and refocus the debate on children and parental choice, injected itself into the debate.

Anyone watching the warmup for Arizona’s 2018 election cycle can see that next year’s top political issue will be education.

And at the center of that debate, stand Arizona teachers.

Get ready. Every political candidate will position himself/herself as an advocate and “friend of teachers.”

The data proves that Arizona teachers deserve to paid more and if that means unclogging the pipes and removing the administrative clogs to get more money into the classroom, then so be it.

As the Arizona Legislature wraps up the budget and 2017 session, Governor Ducey and lawmakers are poised at an advantage in controlling the message heading into 2018. How they address direct delivery of tax dollars into the classroom, handing out teacher raises and elevating respect for the teaching profession will establish the battlefield for next year’s election.

Republicans have the opportunity to own and make 2018 the “Year of the Teacher.” If they seize the day, Arizona taxpayers, parents, teachers and children will win.

 

Guest Opinion: Arizona Board of Education Rubber Stamps Common Core for 7 More Years

State Board of Education Ignores  Governor, Parents, and own Policy and  Rubber Stamps Common Core for another  7 Years

After a raucous 2014 election year for the office for Superintendent of Public Instruction only 16,034 votes separated the outcome of the 2014 election results between Diane Douglas and David Garcia. One would like to suggest Douglas’ opposition to the top down federal one-sized-fits all standards helped ensure she was the victor. This was a coup for the parents who despised the unconstitutional federal outreach in their children’s classrooms – later only to learn the fox was in the hen house all along.

A quick history lesson on Common Core in Arizona. In 2010, the Arizona State Board of Education adopted Common Core standards for all public schools throughout Arizona. As these standards were being implemented, parents and practitioners alike started to have difficulty learning and teaching them.

This classroom battle came to a head in 2013 inciting a Republican primary challenge to then-Superintendent John Huppenthal who was fully engaged in implementing these standards that had to be rebranded to “college and career ready” due to public outcry.

Like so many top-down government mandates, implementing Common Core became a gravy train for special interests who only care about their profits, not about the outcome of our children’s future. These same corporate entities joined local business chambers to ensure they helped elect pro-Common Core candidates for local and statewide offices.

Meanwhile, grade school children who loved math started to hate math. Other children who loved writing, started to hate writing. Parents knew something was wrong.  In some instances, parents with higher degrees in engineering and math could no longer help their children with basic arithmetic homework.

As with the other 49 states, Arizona retains the authority to approve and modify its academic standards. More importantly, there is no federal law requiring the adoption of specific standards. Yet, 46 states originally adopted common core.

To address this, Governor Doug Ducey directed the State Board of Education (SBE) on March 2015. His direction was for the State Board of Education to “make right the situation…with full transparency.” Direction was given for “teachers and parents to bring [standards] forward together.”

In response, the Arizona SBE created a review process that included 17 members representing different sectors of communities across Arizona. Six of these members were parents from various parts of Arizona. This group was called the Arizona Standards Development Committee (ASDC), consisting of educational experts and parents. Its task was to recommend updated standards to the SBE per the Governor’s request.

However, for the past year and a half the standards were only being reviewed by “technical professionals” and lobbyists in closed-door meetings. These individuals were largely pro-common core individuals. Multiple requests were submitted to the Arizona Department of Education to include parents or people with opposing viewpoints, but these were turned down each time.

On December 14th, the ASDC was scheduled only 3 hours to review and possibly approve hundreds of standards. Up to this point, the ASDC had no substantive discussion on the standards and very little time to study the latest version of the standards.

After two and a half hours of presentations and public comments, the ASDC had 30 minutes to discuss and feel comfortable recommending hundreds of pages of standards. They were concerned that many issues with common core remained. Further, there was no evidence that hundreds of public comments were received or one standard changed by public comments. Many of the ASDC were concerned.

Thus, the parents requested additional time to discuss the standards and voted 8-7 vote to delay approving any current recommendation of these newly revised standards to the SBE until at least January 2017.

It should be noted that the clear expectation from ADE and the SBE staff was for the ASDC to rubber stamp the draft and not ask too many questions. At the same time, the Executive Director and President of the State Board of Education posted an agenda item on the SBE’s December 19th  agenda for the SBE also to rubber stamp the standards. Most of them had never read these “new” standards in any substantive detail.

On December 19th, the SBE shocked the public and the ASDC by rubber stamping the recommended standards. The request of the Governor to have standards brought forth by teachers and parents were largely ignored. Not one person in opposition appeared to speak in public because they trusted that the SBE would respect the direction of the Governor and the ASDC to do their job and recommend standards to the SBE.

In a shocking irony, the very person—Diane Douglas–who promised to “stop common core”, recommended the ‘revised’ standards; standards virtually identical to the common core state standards foolishly adopted by the SBE in 2010.

It is no wonder why President-elect Donald J. Trump is in line to become our next President. No one trusts the government. If a process is in place it should be adhered and there shouldn’t have a go-around if the vote doesn’t fall in your favor. Our Republic doesn’t exist to be overrun by bureaucratic tyrants.

As members of this subcommittee we waited patiently for the review and public commenting period to end. We welcomed proponents of these standards to our public meetings and only gave them the deepest respect at our meetings even though they didn’t always model the best public decorum they would want their children or students to convey.

We call upon Governor Doug Ducey to request that the SBE reconsider the vote; respect the public; and follow the process established.

We also call upon Governor Ducey to seat people on the SBE that truly respect the parents of our State who are deeply concerned with the direction of public education in our State.

Respectfully Submitted By

Scott Leska; Public School District Elected Board Member
Grant Peterson; Middle School Parent
Dr. Richard Rutkowski; Business Community Member
Olga Tarro; Elementary School Parent
Maureen Tozzi; Business Community Member
Shawnna Bolick; High School Parent

Arizona Political Leaders React to Trump Picks

President-Elect Trump has begun to name his government advisers and cabinets and Arizona politicians are weighing in on the future Trump Administration.

Arizona State Treasurer Jeff DeWit and COO to the Trump campaign took to the airwaves to touting the credentials of President-Elect Trump’s cabinet choices including Senator Jeff Sessions, General Michael Flynn and Congressman Mike Pompeo. Here is video of Treasurer DeWit’s appearance on FoxNews. DeWit may also be chosen to serve in the Trump administration.

US Senator Jeff Flake tweeted, “@SenatorSessions is well like and well regarded, even by those who don’t always agree with him. I look forward to supporting his nomination” upon news that Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions will be nominated to President Trump’s Attorney General.

Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-3) joined the orchestrated Democrat opposition to Stephen Bannon by retweeting Rep David Cicilline’s push for a petition rescinding Bannon’s appointment as a senior adviser. Grijalva said, “Steve #Bannon made a career of conspiracy theories and hate speech online. He has no business serving in the White House, period.”

The most aggressive opposition to Trump’s picks have come from Rep Ruben Gallego who represents Arizona’s 7th Congressional District. Since Trump’s win, he has released a barrage of tweets following the typical Democrat talking points on hate, racism and tolerance. Gallego tweeted and retweeted:

“Appointing alt-right leader Steve Bannon undermines @RealDonaldTrump’s promise to ‘bind the wounds of division.’ #NoHateInWhiteHouse.”

“Hate in the form of white nationalism doesn’t belong anywhere near the White House. Steve Bannon’s appointment is appalling & disgraceful.”

“Hate & violence has no place in this country. I stand w/ the #trans community & will work for security&equality for all #TransAwarenessWeek”

Gallego also included a link to his speech on the floor of the US House:

On his Facebook page, Rep Gallego made the following statement regarding his role in playing opposition to Trump, even on common ground issues like infrastructure:

Given everything we know about Donald Trump – and everything we don’t know – I was alarmed by the words of senior leaders from both the progressive and centrist wings of the Democratic party regarding their openness to working with Donald Trump on infrastructure.

Under ordinary circumstances, a bipartisan infrastructure plan would be welcomed. But Donald Trump is not an ordinary politician.

Unfortunately, his infrastructure plan is really a privatization scheme, rife with graft and corruption, whose real purpose is to enrich the Trump family and his supporters. He is not reaching out. He is reaching his hand into America’s pockets, just as he has his whole career. And we must not let him do it.

And continuing his rant on Facebook, Gallego echoed his Twitter post with a link to the Democrat’s opposition letter:

Nobody with ties to White Nationalism should be allowed to work in the White House. Appointing alt-right leader Steve Bannon undermines Donald Trump’s promise to ‘bind the wounds of division.’ Today, I joinedCongressman David Cicilline and many of my House colleagues to demand that Trump rescind this appalling and disgraceful appointment.#NoHateInWhiteHouse

Former Governor Jan Brewer reposted an article on her Facebook page asserting that Trump’s picks for his immigration team, will be very tough:

Donald J. Trump has just appointed the head of his immigration team and it says a lot about how he plans to deal with illegal immigration…

The article, posted on Conservative Tribune, refers to Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach who was the architect of Arizona’s SB1070. Kobach is known as a staunch advocate for border security and stopping illegal immigration. He has been asked to serve on Trumps immigration team.

Like many Arizona political leaders, Senator John McCain, Governor Doug Ducey, and other members of the congressional delegation have shied away from making social media comments on Trump’s administration choices. Many will continue to watch as the transition team puts people in place and an agenda into motion.

President-Elect Donald Trump will take the oath of office on January 20, 2017.

Christine Jones – Conservative Business Leader For Congress

When you want problems in government fixed, you send a businessperson to do the job. This has been the successful solution since the Founding Fathers set our country in motion and it’s still a successful strategy today.

Individuals from the business community know best how to balance budgets, deal with government regulations and most important, how to create jobs and prosperity.

Government does not create prosperity. Government sucks resources out of the economy, creates deadweight losses and does a horrible job of providing services that the private sector can provide much more efficiently. With the exception of certain public goods such as defense, law enforcement, justice, etc., government is a drag on the economy and a burden on the lives of free individuals.

Here in Arizona, we’ve seen an example of great leadership coming out of the private sector business community.

Governor Doug Ducey started his service in executive leadership in 2011 as Arizona State Treasurer. Prior to that, he started out as a successful entrepreneur and CEO who grew a small ice cream shop from the ground up into a nationwide franchise. Since elected as Governor, Doug Ducey has been successful reforming, consolidating and downsizing government and getting it out of the way of small businesses like Uber and Air BnB. Having a successful businessman in leadership is great for the economy, creating jobs and expanding technology.

Christine Jones for CongressNow the voters of Arizona’s Fifth Congressional District have the opportunity to elect a very successful conservative businesswoman to Congress.

Christine Jones has scored success wherever she has served. As the Executive Vice President and General Counsel for Go Daddy, she helped take the company from a small internet company to a giant corporation whose servers now touch one-third of all internet traffic. When she first began at GoDaddy, the company only had a few dozen employees. During her watch, she helped grow the company to over 4,000 employees – that’s over 4,000 private sector jobs contributing to the economy. And that doesn’t include the 10 million entrepreneurs and small businesses that have grown and prospered through GoDaddy’s products and services.

After leaving GoDaddy, Jones next went on to lead another Arizona success story when she accepted the position of Interim CEO of Great Hearts Academies. There, she oversaw the tremendous accomplishments of thousands of students on the road to college and successful careers.  This role also testifies to her strong understanding and commitment to education and how a quality education is inherently linked to jobs and the economy.

Christine Jones is no stranger to success. Unlike her opponents, who have spent their careers being assimilated into government and politics, Christine Jones possesses a healthy resistance to growing government and becoming another career politician.

This election year, the voters should take the opportunity to send another real Arizona success story to Congress. Christine Jones is a conservative business leader who has proven she knows how to grow small business, create thousands of jobs, control the growth of government and get government spending under control.

This August the voters have a real choice between a handful of career politicians or a successful private sector businesswoman in Christine Jones. Let’s hope they choose the latter.

Gov Ducey: Why Vote For Prop 123? Some Teachers Have More Kids Than Books​

Vote Prop 123

By: Governor Doug Ducey

This week, Arizonans will receive early ballots in the mail for one of the most important policy initiatives of this election cycle – the passage of Proposition 123 to increase funding for public schools in Arizona.

As many in our state know, there has been a dark cloud hanging over Arizona’s budget when it comes to funding education.

Our kids have needs today

Voting “yes” on Prop. 123 will settle a years-long lawsuit and put $3.5 billion into our K-12 public schools over the next 10 years without raising taxes. It’s time to stop paying lawyers and start paying teachers.

I’ve visited schools all across our state, and the message is clear. Our kids have needs today, and our educators need more resources to do their jobs.

Prop. 123 is a fiscally responsible, historic first step towards giving our students and teachers the resources they need. It puts money back in the classroom. And it doesn’t raise taxes. I know it sounds almost too good to be true: If this doesn’t raise taxes, how are we paying for it?

How it works

What many don’t know is that Arizona has a something called the State Land Trust – a fund with assets that have been set aside and invested for decades specifically to benefit education. This plan ensures we are managing the trust responsibly while putting the money to use for the purpose it was intended: funding our K-12 public schools.

So how does it work?

When Arizona became a state, the federal government granted our founders nearly 11 million acres of state land. Every time we sell a piece of that land, proceeds go into the Land Trust where the money is invested and earns interest. The trust has been growing rapidly in value – nearly doubling in the past five years. And now it is valued at more than $5 billion.

Currently, only 2.5 percent of the trust is distributed to schools every year. We can do better. A “yes” vote on Prop. 123 will increase the distribution rate to 6.9 percent for the next 10 years. That means we will be able to use more of this money for its intended purpose: funding our schools.

We haven’t ignored future needs

But this plan also takes into account the needs of future generations. An analysis done by the non-partisan Joint Legislative Budget Committee shows that even with the higher distributions if Prop 123 passes, there will be more than $6 billion in the Land Trust in a decade. That’s a billion dollars more in the trust after 10 years, even while we are increasing funding to education.

And let’s not forget: Arizona still has 9.2 million acres of land worth approximately $70 billion that are yet to be sold and fund the trust.

The bottom line is that passing Prop 123 ensures the long-term health of the trust, while injecting an infusion of resources into classrooms that have needs today.

When there are more kids than books

I’ve met with teachers and parents across the state, and they’ve made it clear — while reforms are important, right now they need resources to provide the excellent education all our children deserve.

Too often, I hear stories of teachers and parents spending part of their paychecks to ensure there are supplies in the classroom – even basic necessities like pens, pencils and paper. This is unacceptable.

Just a few weeks ago, I met a fourth-grade teacher named Maddy Sporbert who was volunteering for Prop. 123. She told me that she wants Prop. 123 to pass because right now she has 34 students in her class, but only 25 textbooks.

She was spending spring break — her vacation — getting out the vote for Prop. 123 to ensure her students have enough textbooks next year. She needs us to vote “yes.”

Good teachers are fleeing our state

Eighth-grade science teacher Paul Strauss told me that in his many years of teaching he’s seen countless dedicated teachers leave the profession because it is so hard to support a family on a teacher’s salary in Arizona.

We know teachers are fleeing our state or leaving the profession because of a continued lack of funding for education. Voting “yes” on Prop 123 will allow us to reverse that trend and start paying teachers what they deserve. In fact, school boards across Arizona have committed that boosting teacher salaries will be their number one priority if Prop. 123 passes.

Many districts even have two budgets: one if Prop. 123 passes, and one if it fails.

If it fails, that means more litigation and less certainty for our teachers and students.

Please join me, Mayor Greg Stanton, a bipartisan coalition of legislators, countless community and business leaders, teachers and parents in voting “yes” for Prop. 123 on May 17.

Governor Doug Ducey: I’m Voting Yes on Prop 123

The committee Let’s Vote Yes For Arizona Schools, In Support of Prop 123 released the following ad today featuring Governor Doug Ducey explaining why he supports Prop 123.

In the ad, Governor Ducey provides reasons how and why Arizonans should support public teachers. Passage of the proposition will provide $3.5 Billion directly into our public schools over the next 10 years without raising any taxes. This money will be used to invest into teachers to reverse the trend of teachers leaving Arizona due to low compensation.

Governor Ducey, the father of three sons, knows firsthand the impact that great teachers have on a child. That’s why he’s supporting Prop 123 on May 17th.

Arizona Republic: Ducey looks to intensify fight against drug cartels with strike force

“When you’re talking about border issues, you’re typically talking about drug trafficking and human trafficking,” [Gov. Doug Ducey] said, after a morning spent meeting with ranchers, authorities and educators. “It’s the cartels and the traffickers that we want to focus on, and that’s what a strike force is going to aim at.”

By Yvonne Wingett Sanchez
November 12, 2015
http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/arizona/politics/2015/11/12/duceys-strikeforce-seeks-expand-battle-against-cartels/75060282/ 

Five cartel lookouts huddled beneath thick desert brush one night last month. Suddenly, they realized they’d been spotted.

The scouts, who are paid to study the movements of authorities and guide drug traffickers through the Arizona desert, dropped their heavy backpacks and bolted across rocky terrain near the quiet neighborhoods and golf courses south of Casa Grande.

Using covert tactics, a border-crimes team stationed at a makeshift headquarters watched as the lookouts made their getaway.

“They have night-vision capabilities and they’re lightning fast,” said Department of Public Safety Capt. Dave Nilson, who fielded constant radio traffic as he led the operation targeting traffickers in Vekol Valley.

“On any given day, we get 911 reports of people stopping, seeing people loading bundles and bundles of large amounts of narcotics, and illegal aliens – right on the side of the highway, and getting into cars and leaving. It literally is the wild West.”

Last month’s operation was the first by a new border-crimes bureau that Gov. Doug Ducey quietly created in September and hopes to expand into the Arizona Department of Public Safety’s third-largest bureau with the goal of removing Arizona from the list of prime trafficking routes into the world’s largest drug market.

The scouts were on the outskirts of metro Phoenix, but authorities from the Arizona Border Strike Force Bureau seized their dusty bags. Packed with solar panels, toilet paper, hot sauce, salt and ramen noodles, they had supplies to hide in the desert for a week.

The Arizona Border Strike Force Bureau of the Department of Public Safety is seeking to partner with local and federal agencies to disrupt the criminal organizations that smuggle drugs and people into the U.S. Their prime target is the Sinaloa Cartel, the source of a vast majority of marijuana, methamphetamine and heroin that flow into the state for sale or distribution to other states.

Ducey, who on the campaign trail promised to close the “wide-open and unprotected border,” said the bureau seeks to make it too risky and too expensive for the criminal organizations to operate here. That would required a sustained effort by the department, Ducey’s administration said, rather than its current sporadic operations.

Ducey is calling for an infusion of tens of millions of dollars in state money and federal grants and equipment to permanently fund the fight against border-related criminal activity. The plan would boost intelligence gathering, and add planes, helicopters, radios and other resources to the department’s arsenal.

Under Ducey’s plan, which would require new funding from the state Legislature, the Department of Public Safety’s bureau would eventually grow to about 180 troopers, analysts, pilots and county personnel, who would mostly operate in southern and central Arizona. A small number of National Guard troops would be used to initially bolster the numbers.

State troopers and canine units would conduct more-frequent patrols of highways, and authorities would target drug scouts, traffickers and distributors in key trafficking corridors. Border counties would receive state funds to hire more prosecutors and reimburse the costs of jailing traffickers.

Focusing on cartels and traffickers

Ducey is just beginning to brief state Republican leaders, who have generally supported border enforcement but have been reluctant to spend significant money on new projects since the recession.

The plan could face opposition from some county sheriffs. Some have said DPS should focus on patrolling the highways and running its crime lab.

It’s an issue of protecting Arizonans, Ducey told The Arizona Republic while flying back from Sierra Vista on Nov. 6, where he had presented $1 million of his office’s funds to Cochise County to help finish a regional communications center.

“When you’re talking about border issues, you’re typically talking about drug trafficking and human trafficking,” he said, after a morning spent meeting with ranchers, authorities and educators. “It’s the cartels and the traffickers that we want to focus on, and that’s what a strike force is going to aim at.”

A recent Arizona High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Threat Assessment report found the state “continues to be a major smuggling corridor and distribution hub” for the cartels. Mexican organizations use commercial shuttle vans to transport drugs from the border to stash houses in Phoenix and Tucson, and “backpacker groups continue to be the predominant method of transporting marijuana” into the state.

In fiscal 2014, drug seizures on state highways accounted for about 5 percent of marijuana seized in the state, 26 percent of cocaine, 26 percent of methamphetamine and 13 percent of heroin, the report found.

DPS Director Frank Milstead said the new bureau’s success would be measured by arrests and drug seizures. “The cartels that are making the drugs in these super labs south of the border, they’re rolling around in $100 bills and they’re celebrating the addictions they can have in America, because it funds” them, he said.

But there’s a limit to what Arizona can do to stem the flow of drugs, experts said, given the United States’ insatiable demand for drugs and the cartels’ determination to continue profiting from the trade.

“You’ve got suppliers and you’ve got demand,” said Michael Lytle, a border expert at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. “Maybe they put a small dent in it. There’s no way they’re going to stop it.

“Any determined cartel guy can find a work-around. They’re like ants: If you put something down in front of a trail of ants, they’ll move someplace else.”

That doesn’t mean Arizona shouldn’t try, said James Carafano, a foreign policy and national security expert at the conservative Heritage Foundation. A state can’t secure the border, he said, but it can make it “somebody else’s problem” by disrupting popular smuggling corridors and pushing activity to other states.

“We’ve been spending more money on border security since the 1980s and actually the illegal activity’s gone up,” Carafano said. “Looking at how much money you’re spending is not necessarily the right metric. The simple question is: Does your community feel safe? And if your answer is no, then I think it’s a problem worth dealing with.”

So does Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who has made border security a priority in his new administration.

Abbott and state leaders are embarking on an $800 million effort that speeds up the hiring of state police who patrol the border, along with increases in technology and intelligence operations. The plan has been criticized for its hefty price tag, s past lack of accountability for previous spending, and questions over how effective additional spending will be.

Finding federal and local support

In Arizona, Ducey and his top aides began drafting their border-security plan in the earliest days of the administration, said J.P. Twist, a senior adviser to the governor who is spearheading the initiative.

After working with U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials during the Super Bowl last January, Ducey initiated conversations with Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and authorities from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and others, to see how Arizona could partner to combat border crime.

Federal officials were guarded at first, Twist said, fresh off a contentious relationship with former Gov. Jan Brewer, who railed against federal officials during her tenure over illegal immigration and border security.

Ducey said he began conversations with, “New administration, new governor, fresh start.”

Federal officials began to listen.

Past governors ordered National Guard troops to the border, wrote letters to federal officials seeking reimbursement and, in Brewer’s case, tried to publicly shame them into doing more.

Twist said the new approach is to instead take stock of how they can leverage state, local and federal resources.

Milstead and Twist began meeting with county sheriffs, mayors, leaders of the Tohono O’odham Nation, and federal officials from ICE and Border Patrol.

“We are fostering these relationships — that’s a critical part of making sure a plan like this works,” said Twist.

Paul Beeson, commander for the Joint Task Force West, Arizona, confirmed the Ducey administration’s characterization of the meetings. He said the proposal dovetails with a CBP effort to “disrupt, degrade and dismantle” transnational criminal organizations operating in Arizona and beyond.

Beeson said CBP has talked frequently with DPS about the proposal. “What I have seen is a sincere effort on the part of the state to work with federal officials and address these issues that are of concern to all of us,” Beeson said.

Santa Cruz County Sheriff Tony Estrada said he didn’t have enough details about Ducey’s proposal to say whether he supports it, but said he’d like to see more state troopers patrolling highways.

“This is a major corridor … you’ve got drugs, stolen vehicles, you’ve got money,” Estrada said. “You’ve got so many things happening on the highway and there’s nobody here after 2 o’clock (in the morning).”

Pima County Sheriff Chris Nanos questioned DPS’ ability to take on more responsibility and said it should focus on patrolling highways and running the state crime lab.

He also said Ducey’s administration has done a poor job communicating their plans. “Don’t dictate what help you want to provide without knowing that your help isn’t much help,” Nanos said.

Twist said Nanos has not been open to learning about the proposal.

Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels told Ducey he needed money for a radio system. Communication is challenging in the area, with poor reception and dead zones. That prompted Ducey to help fund completion of the communications center, which was years in the making.

To Dannels and other county officials and ranchers, the money signaled that Ducey took their needs seriously.

Dannels told The Republic he would support Ducey’s plan if it complements county law-enforcement operations. “Big government” won’t resolve border-crime issues but “true partnerships” could, he said.

Yuma County Sheriff Leon Wilmot did not return calls to discuss Ducey’s plan.

The Ducey administration’s conversations with Tohono O’odham Nation leaders, whose land is a prime trafficking corridor, have stalled.

Tohono O’odham Nation Chairman Edward Manuel said in a statement: “We have engaged with the Governor and his staff on this important issue, and have long worked closely with the U.S. Border Patrol. However, just like other border communities, the Tohono O’odham Nation needs to better understand the potential impacts of the Governor’s plan.”

Activity along the border

Ducey’s proposal comes as apprehensions of illegal immigrants have generally declined between fiscal 2005 and 2014, and as Border Patrol staffing has risen.

At the same time, marijuana seizures by the Border Patrol in Arizona have just about doubled to more than 1 million pounds in fiscal year 2014.

Not reflected in the reports are the tons of drugs that make it past authorities, points out Maj. Jack Johnson, who heads the DPS bureau.

“It’s pretty crazy to think drug traffickers just walking through, coming on up through communities, it’s pretty unbelievable,” said Johnson, as he sped past the lit-up football field at a Casa Grande school on the night of the October operation.

The strike force in September and October snared 3,260 pounds of marijuana, 73 pounds of meth, nearly 2 pounds of cocaine, 19 pounds of heroin and five firearms, according to DPS records. It made 180 arrests, including 14 documented gang members and 65 illegal immigrants who were turned over to Border Patrol.

Johnson contends the bureau could prevent drug-related deaths, addictions, home invasions and other crimes that can be traced to contraband smuggled through the border.

“If the border strike force saves a life, that’s huge,” he said. “That matters.”

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

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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:
 

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!

Arizona small business owners applaud Governor Ducey’s balanced budget plan

NFIBforweb

Farrell Quinlan, Arizona state director for the National Federation of Independent Business, issued the following statement this afternoon on the release of Gov. Doug Ducey’s proposed state budget.

“Arizona small-business owners appreciate the courage and care Gov. Doug Ducey has shown in crafting his bold balanced budget plan. It’s refreshing that we have a governor willing to make the tough decisions that reflect the priorities of regular Arizonans rather than special interests.

“Governor Ducey’s plan eliminates the current budget deficit and re-establishes a structurally-balanced budget by Fiscal Year 2016-2017. And he accomplishes this seemingly impossible goal with no tax increases while also sustaining classroom spending. Amazing.

“Governor Ducey has rejected bogus budgeting that looks balanced in the hazy florescence of bureaucratic custom only to be revealed in the sunlight as being written in red ink. He has made the kind of tough choices that most small-business owners had to make during the Great Recession in order to survive, including a hiring freeze, reducing administrative expenses and consolidating operations.

“Coupled with his bold regulatory reform agenda announced in his State of the State address, Governor Ducey’s balance budget plan further demonstrates to small-business owners and entrepreneurs that they can trust that the state of Arizona is clearly on the side of economic growth and job creation rather than entrenched bureaucracies and special interests.”

With 350,000 dues-paying members nationwide, including more than 6,000 in Arizona, the National Federation of Independent Business is America’s largest and leading small-business association.