Matt Salmon’s Union Connections

By Jean Valjean

Reposted from Western Free Press.

Matt Salmon seems to be playing both sides of the political fence. Salmon apparently is a Phoenix union supporter but a self-described “conservative” in Arizona’s East Valley.

Matt Salmon’s website home page welcomes you with this quote:

“Your financial support will help ensure my message of smaller government, fiscal responsibility and less taxes reaches every voter.” – Matt Salmon

Furthermore, Salmon markets himself as a “conservative.”

If this is true, why is Salmon, a supposed stalwart of conservatism, endorsing liberal union activist Claude Mattox for Mayor of Phoenix?

Matt Salmon’s firm, Upstream Consulting, represents government unions, specifically public employee unions in Arizona. These unions endorse Claude Mattox for Mayor of Phoenix. Salmon then endorses Claude Mattox. In turn, Salmon receives money from the unions. In addition, Salmon gets more ammunition against his primary opponents, specifically Kirk Adams.

Why? One reason is the unions hate Kirk Adams for spearheading pension reform in Arizona. Adams’ pension reform was the most ambitious in the country, targeting the public safety unions that Salmon represents. In fact, Arizona is on the union’s target list of states to “fight back” against.

This provides a unique solution for the unions and Matt Salmon. Salmon gets to capitalize on privately raising money from the unions, coordinating attacks on Salmon’s more anti-union primary opponents, while claiming he has nothing to do with the unions. The unions also get a more “friendly” candidate by eliminating old enemies.

While Kirk Adams was trying to pass pension reform and getting government sector spending in control with universities and unions, Matt Salmon was lobbying against these things. During Salmon’s lobbying tenure, he picked battles with the Goldwater Institute over corporate welfare, protected government public safety unions, and fought to protect ASU’s government gravy train.

Matt Salmon is receiving money from other union players. The list includes ex-union boss Billy Shields and union spokesman David Leibowitz.

Once again, why is Salmon endorsing union candidates and receiving union money? Why is Salmon suggesting he is a symbol of “smaller government” when there is no bigger symbol of “Big Government” than public-employee unions and their political candidates? Does Salmon really believe in these union backed candidates and issues or is it just “politics?” Do we want to reward politicians who take on political risks or those who take advantage of them?

This is a big issue that deserves more transparency and answers.

Skip Rimsza: Union Control of Phoenix City Hall at Stake in Phoenix Mayoral Race

We missed this one from a few days ago…

CONTACT: Skip Rimsza

Phoenix voters will decide whether labor unions should continue to control City Hall when they vote for a new mayor next month, according to a letter written by former Mayor Skip Rimsza.

Rimsza, who served as Mayor from 1994 through 2004, called the upcoming mayoral contest a “watershed election where voters will decide who City Hall will serve.”

He said three of the candidates in the race, Greg Stanton, Claude Mattox and Wes Gullett all have ties to labor unions with a lot to gain from a Mayor sympathetic to their cause. But he said the interests of union bosses are not always the same as those of the city’s taxpayers.

He pointed to recent controversial actions as proof that union labor bosses are calling the shots within Phoenix city government, including the Council’s approval of pay raises amidst budget cuts and last year’s passage of an emergency food tax. Both decisions benefitted city labor unions.

“Mr. Mattox is supported by the largest public employee union in the city and stood with them by voting to support the food tax increase and the pay raises,” Rimsza noted.

“Mr. Gullett was a lobbyist for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which is the largest public employee union in the country. Nationally, they pushed for the boycott of Arizona. Locally, Mr. Gullett tried to get Maricopa County government to bargain with his union supporters,” he said.

“And Mr. Stanton was an ardent opponent of SB 1070 and is supported by several labor and union groups such as the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Union and the AFL-CIO affiliate Maricopa Area Labor Federation, who together have stood against Arizona and supported boycotting the state,” Rimsza added.

Rimsza said the City has some of the best employees in the nation, who work hard to keep residents safe and to improve the quality of services despite budget constraints. “However, the Union Bosses, who feed off their union dues have become out of control because they are out to serve their best interest – not the taxpayers of Phoenix,” he warned.

Rimsza has endorsed Peggy Neely for Mayor and said in his letter that she is the only candidate “with a track record of asking hard questions, supporting fiscal responsibility and bringing people together, which has always been the culture of Phoenix leadership.”

Click here to read Rimsza’s Editorial.



Neely Makes Desperate Attack on Wes Gullett

CONTACT: Tony Bradley

Phoenix, AZ – Peggy Neely, whose campaign for Mayor is stalling amidst allegations of bloated office spending, criticism for championing the plan to build a $40 million “road to nowhere,” voting to double the city’s water rate during the 10 years she was on the City Council, giving away millions of dollars in failed subsidies for CityNorth, and for leading the effort to build a day labor center in her district with taxpayer money, which contributed to Phoenix being labeled as a sanctuary city, has now attacked Wes Gullett for “Union” ties.

“Through a surrogate (who was supported by public employee unions), Mrs. Neely is trying to negatively link me to labor unions. This is a ridiculous charge and only illustrates the desperation of her campaign,” Gullett said. “My company did work for the Service Employee International Union in 2005 in a specific case of trying to provide employees in Pima County, who were already unionized, the ability to choose competitively who would represent them. That holds true with my consistent position of being an advocate for competition, whether in the business market place or in a union hall. Since that time, Mrs. Neely has taken thousands of dollars of union contributions that she is now using in her current campaign for Mayor. It is utter hypocrisy for Peggy Neely to pretend she has a history of being anti-union or even promoting competition in the free marketplace. Her history has been about picking winners and losers and we can’t afford to have those policies in the Mayor’s office,” stated Gullett.

“To accuse me of being sympathetic to Union bosses is a joke. As Mayor, I will be a firm and forceful negotiator with the City’s public employee unions. I will promote policies that are in the best interest of the taxpayer, focus on creating jobs by implementing my Seven Point Jobs Plan, reform government by cutting the cost through finding efficiencies and labor cost savings. I have consistently called for the elimination of the food tax, fought against the water rate increase and proposed lowering permitting costs for new, expanding small businesses and opposed providing merit and longevity pay increases to 90% of city employees,” said Gullett.

“For Mrs. Neely to now attack unions, after she lined her campaign coffers with their contributions, shows that she will go to any length to win this election. It is the epitome of hypocrisy and desperation for a candidate who has actively pursued public employee union support for more than a decade to now say that any connection to unions is somehow negative. Mrs. Neely should wipe off the mud she has splashed on herself and talk about the issues. The reason for her attempted smear of my campaign comes directly from the fact that Phoenix’s largest business organization, the Phoenix Realtor’s Association, has endorsed my campaign which is embarrassing to Mrs. Neely, who is a realtor,” concluded Gullett.

Gullett’s company, FirstStrategic, has worked for hundreds of clients during the past nine years. Mr. Gullett’s principal job at the firm has been as a strategic planner. He has advocated for Phoenix Children’s Hospital, the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), Northern Arizona University and the Salt River Project.



Peggy Neely: Look for the Union Label

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, July 6, 2011
CONTACT: Paul Bentz

Union ties to Stanton, Mattox, and Gullett put special interests before taxpayers.

PHOENIX – Tax increases. Pay raises. Boycotts. The taxpayers of Phoenix are under fire from organized labor union bosses. From the food tax increase to the boycott of the Major League Baseball All-star Game, union leaders have been hurting Phoenix while looking out for their own self interests. In this watershed race for Phoenix Mayor, voters have a choice between a candidate who will serve the taxpayers and those who will serve the special interests.

The Neely for Mayor Campaign launched a new video today titled, “Look for the Union Label.”

“We are at a crossroads. Voters can choose between someone who will represent their interests and someone who will serve the system,” said Peggy Neely, “Phoenix has a long track record of hiring skilled staff and offering quality services to the taxpayers. We have come to expect great things from the City of Phoenix and earned a respectable reputation. However, when the taxpayers start seeing actions such as cutting services while granting pay raises, it is clear that the system is serving itself. We need to make sure that union interests are not being put ahead of public services.”

Greg Stanton

  • Opposes SB1070
  • Endorsed by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union – who helped lead the Arizona boycott
  • Endorsed by Maricopa Area Labor Federation – Affiliated with AFL-CIO which condemned SB1070
  • Would have voted for pay increases (Arizona Republic, June 8, 2011)

Claude Mattox

  • Supported by the largest public employee union in the City of Phoenix
  • Voted for the food tax increase
  • Supported this year’s budget and pay increases (Arizona Republic, June 8, 2011)

Lobbyist Wes Gullett

  • Worked for Service Employees International Union (SEIU) to organize medical workers to unionize at Maricopa County Hospital
  • SEIU helped lead the Arizona Boycott
  • SEIU lead the effort to move Major League Baseball All-Star Game


Arizona Legislature Must Act to Protect Employee Paychecks from Political Abuse

The Arizona Senate is ready for floor debate on a ballot referral critically important to gaining lasting control over our state and local budgets — SCR 1028 on Paycheck Protection.  The below letter was delivered Wednesday to all Republican lawmakers.


Coalition to Protect
Employee Paychecks from Politics

February 23, 2011

The Honorable Russell Pearce
President of the Arizona Senate
1700 West Washington Street
Phoenix, Arizona 85007

The Honorable Kirk Adams
Speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives
1700 West Washington Street
Phoenix, Arizona 85007

RE: SCR 1028 & HCR 2032 on Paycheck Protection

Dear President Pearce and Speaker Adams:

The on-going protests in Madison, Wisconsin should sound the alarm here in Arizona regarding the danger of indulging special interests to the point where they threaten to close down state government and disrupt our political processes.  As representatives of conservative, grassroots and small business organizations, we urge you to take proactive steps to ensure that Arizona never becomes as beholden to these special interests as the Badger State has.

Therefore, we request that you use your considerable influence and institutional powers to give Arizonans the opportunity to vote to enshrine in the Arizona Constitution their fundamental right to protect employee paychecks from politics.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 1028, introduced by Senator Frank Antenori and 43 co-sponsors, and House Concurrent Resolution 2032, introduced by Representative Judy Burges and 44 co-sponsors, state: 

An employee in this state shall be free from any employer deducting or facilitating the deduction of a payment from an employee’s paycheck for political purposes, unless the employee annually provides express written permission to make the deduction.

The language is fair, reasonable and straight-forward—precisely the qualities of a constitutional amendment that the Arizona electorate rewards with their votes.  This referral does not discriminate between political money deducted by labor unions or corporate political action committees.  Both are treated equally.  Moreover, this construction places the focus where it belongs, on the fundamental rights of all workers to control their paychecks.

A 2010 poll of 400 likely Arizona voters found 76 percent favor such an amendment and 20 percent oppose.  The poll also found that 64 percent were “definitely yes” while only 14 percent were “definitely no” voters.

The time is now to seize the initiative and provide voters this opportunity to affirm their rights through a constitutional amendment.  We urge you to schedule a floor vote on a paycheck protection ballot question during the 2011 Regular Session so the conservative, grassroots and small business supporters of paycheck protection can use the full year-and-a-half between now and Election Day 2012 to organize, educate and raise the funds necessary to secure victory.

It is imperative that you help the conservative, grassroots and small business base by giving us enough time to wage an aggressive and well-financed effort.  The 2010 election cycle is illustrative of why we feel passing a referral in 2011 is essential to our ultimate success.  Propositions 106 (Healthcare Freedom), 107 (Civil Rights) and 113 (Save Our Secret Ballot) were all launched by referrals in 2009 and all won by comfortable margins.  Conversely, every constitutional amendment referred in 2010 failed, some by very narrow margins.

Constitutional Amendment   Constitutional Amendment
Campaigns Begun in 2009   Campaigns Begun in 2010
Prop. 106: Healthcare Freedom Prop. 109: Hunting & Fishing
Yes 892,693 55.28%   Yes 714,144 43.52%
No 722,300 44.72%   No 926,991 56.48%
  1,614,993       1,641,135  
        Prop. 110: State Trust Lands
Prop. 107: Civil Rights   Yes 792,394 49.71%
Yes 952,086 59.51%   No 801,670 50.29%
No 647,713 40.49%     1,594,064  
        Prop. 111: Lt. Governor
        Yes 655,252 40.77%
Prop. 113: Save Our Secret Ballot No 951,820 59.23%
Yes 978,109 60.46%     1,607,072  
No 639,692 39.54%        
  1,617,801     Prop. 112: Initiative Timeline
        Yes 792,697 50.00%
        No 792,825 50.00%


We know legislative leadership has traditionally held that ballot propositions are best referred in the year of the election.  However, as the protests in Madison, Wisconsin illustrate, the likely forces opposed to paycheck protection can and will always bring maximum resources to fight for their big government agenda regardless of notice.  Regrettably, the forces supporting a smaller government and individual responsibility are the ones that need time to organize and mobilize. 

We cannot afford to wait until less than six months before the election to decide to rise to this challenge.  Please give us the best chance to support and pass this crucial constitutional amendment that will serve as a foundation to regaining and maintaining Arizona’s fiscal health.

Please schedule floor votes on SCR 1028 and/or HCR 2032 during this session of the Arizona Legislature.

Thank you for considering our views. We would welcome the opportunity at your earliest convenience to discuss the merits of referring this measure to the ballot this year.


Farrell Quinlan
Arizona State Director
National Federation of Independent Business
3550 North Central Avenue, Suite 1806
Phoenix, Arizona  85012

Tom Jenney
Arizona Director
Americans for Prosperity
One East Camelback Road, Suite 550
Phoenix, Arizona  85012

Roy Miller
Arizona Employee Protection Committee
8912 East Pinnacle Peak Road, Suite F9-235
Scottsdale, Arizona  85255

Sydney Hay
President of AMIGOS
Arizona Mining Industry Gets Our Support
Post Office Box 25187
Phoenix, Arizona  85002-5187

cc:  All Members of the Republican Majority in the Arizona House of Representatives
       All Members of the Republican Majority in the Arizona Senate

LD7 Candidate Heather Carter, the AEA’s favorite “Republican”

This past week, LD7 candidate, Heather Carter, was featured in the Arizona Republic’s “My Turn” section.

“What does the future hold for Arizona? I envision a vibrant economic community, where people are employed, businesses are thriving and children are well-educated. I want a safe Arizona with a secure national border.”

(NOTE: The Republic makes it pretty clear to candidates that they will not be editing or proof-reading any candidate statements. All “My Turn” articles are published as-is and it is up to the candidate to make sure they submit only their best work. Fair enough, since the Republic interns are busy writing the news for the next day…)

“I am running for office to do the job that needs to get done – create a plan for Arizona that enables us to balance the budget, set a course for the future and focus on strong schools, strong economy and a safe community. I think part of the problem at the capital is people lose sight of the core mission…”

Now, I’m not sure what subject Mrs. Carter taught our LD7 children in school, but she must have had at least one dictionary in her classroom… Or maybe not, since she doesn’t know the difference between, “capital: as in, financial capital” and “capitol: as in the buildings making up our state capitol which Mrs. Carter wishes to serve in”. Let’s just hope she’s never taught civics/government/economics or any of the reading/English classes available to our kids.

“…get caught up in special-interest agenda items that take time and energy away from what we should be doing…”

Wait a second. I remember reading something about this… Oh yeah: Heather Carter was endorsed by the liberal AEA Union. This liberal union has been responsible for threatening legislators, protesting on the capitol lawn, holding back the budget process, as well as encouraging teachers to push Prop 100 using our kids. We’d like to know if Heather Carter was following her union boss in the picket lines last Spring. Seems like the only way the AEA union would endorse a Republican is if they knew they had her in their special-interest pocket…

Let’s make sure we support real conservatives, this August and November. Not union lackeys.