ICYMI: John Munger, “A Fearless Advocate, A Courteous Foe”

John Munger, “A Fearless Advocate, A Courteous Foe”

by Jim Kelley
Tucson Citizen
May 14, 2010
I received one third of my previous wish regarding the gubernatorial candidates for Arizona today. I spent two hours talking to John Munger about his plan for Arizona should he win the primary and defeat the Democratic Party nominee and become the governor of our state.

John Munger is a leader of both civic and political organizations on the local, state and national levels.  He has served previously as Chairman of the Arizona Republican Party, Chairman of the Pima County Republican Party and was selected as a delegate to the 1984 Republican National Convention, where he cast all 32 votes for President Ronald Regan.

He is a longtime advocate for quality education and has been a passionate supporter of community-based business initiatives.  He has served as president and member of the Arizona Board of Regents, managing billions of dollars and thousands of employees in the university system, which consists of all three state universities.  He was also Chairman of the Board of the Tucson Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce where he helped to spearhead local business development.

He is a small business owner and an accomplished entrepreneur himself, as a partner in the law firm of Munger Chadwick, P.L.C., where he has been variously listed among the best lawyers in the country, and as co-founder and vice-chairman of Commerce Bank of Arizona.  He holds a B.A. from Stanford University and a J.D. and L.L.M. in international trade and business law from The University of Arizona College of Law, where he served as editor of the law review and graduated with distinction.

He is a military veteran, a horseman; a black belt in Shotokan karate and both speaks and writes in Spanish.  He and his wife, Roseann, have 5 children and 6 grandchildren.  Among his many accolades, he is probably most proud to have been named as Tucson’s “Father of the Year” and as Tucson’s “Man of the Year”.
We began with discussing where Arizona is.

“Our business environment is so overly regulated that any one creating a job is discouraged from moving here or growing what they already have here.  As governor, I would create an ombudsman specifically to usher the companies through the process, a process that presently is long and cumbersome and eats up precious capital while the companies have to wait as each step is approved by the State. I want everything packaged for the regulator to approve or not based on the regulations presently in the codes. The problem is the regulators themselves are not shielded from the political processes and get co-opted into the politics of the regulations instead of just checking off the list, has this been mitigated or not.  We must create more taxpayers not keep raising taxes on those presently propping up the economy.”
We moved into the politics of regulation from there.
“We have to have courage, courage to stand on the moral principles of the free market system.  Our politicians keep compromising those principles to pander to various special interests that are eroding the very foundation of Capitalism. Whether it be pandering to “it’s for the kids” or “go green”.  All of our issues; education, the environment, public safety, transportation; all of the answers are in the free market.  Water can be taken care of with a desalinization plant that is built and can be paid for with usage fees by the largest users of water, and that isn’t domestic household or even industrial use. Combined that is only 25% of our use. Agriculture is our largest water consumers. Putting the burden of solving the problem on households just doesn’t make sense.  We need water to grow more taxpayers.  We could save 20% of the water lost through evaporation on the CAP if we just planted trees and shaded the darn thing.”

“Education needs to be principal based. Decentralizing the districts, making the principal of the school the boss, flipping the classroom dollar from only receiving $2,000 per pupil and the administration receiving the other $5,000 to the classroom receives the $5,000 per pupil spending and the administrations receiving the smaller share.  The only thing districts should be doing is building the school and giving it over to the principal and parents. It will be up to them to spend the money where their needs are.”

“As Governor, I’ll be leading our delegations negotiating with the Governor of Sonora for a port of Arizona in Yuma.  I’ll be leading not by just being a cheerleader but identifying and empowering those people that will get things done. We don’t need more facilitators of PowerPoint presentations; we need people who have created jobs, created wealth, created factories. There are so many organizations in our community and the State that put business in their name but the people running those organizations have never created a job. They know how to write grant proposals to get Federal and State money, but they have never shoveled one spade full of dirt on a jobsite in their life.”

His feeling about the other candidates particularly Governor Brewer is unequivocal.
“The governor has done some good things but mismanaged the messaging. SB1070 should just have been signed like any other bill and move on. She created this Boycott Arizona mess with her need to pander to the right so she can distract us from her career politician mentality with regards to education. Both her and Dean Martin have been in Phoenix a long time and I never saw either of them fight very hard as our states spending went from 6.2 billion in 2002 to almost 9.4 billion just four years later. Spending increased but revenue didn’t. The size of the budget and of the government increased beyond the need and now the nice to have programs won’t go away on their own because the lobbyists are calling them entitlements guaranteed to them.  Proposition 100 does not solve the structural deficit our state is in right now or in 3 years, it is a vain attempt at kicking the can down the road and a huge political mistake for the Governor to hang her hat on it.”

John has an innate sense of confidence in his own skill set at problem solving.
“It’s my name on the door and my bottom in that chair, I’m responsible.”
What calibrates your moral compass?
“Well, first and foremost I wake up with a sense of duty to serve God; I express my gratitude for his amazing grace in my life. In the toughest times, my darkest hours, it has been his grace that saw me through. The song says more about my need for him than anything I can express here. Secondly, my sense of duty and gratitude to my family, my wife Roseann and my children are the reasons I do what I do. After my duty to God, they come first.”

What sustains you during the day?
He arose from the table, walked to his desk and handed me a simple chrome bar with the inscription, “What would you attempt today if you knew you could not fail.”
What is your definition of failure?
I think if I ever damaged my own sense of principle or integrity. That would be a failure. I believe we all have purpose. I have absolute faith that free people will make the right decisions every time.  People in bondage, people who are afraid don’t make moral decisions. The Free Enterprise system is a moral economic system because it is not based on fear of economic insecurity but because it is based on a desire for more freedom.
My spiritual faith is based on freedom from the bondage of fear. Any decision based on duress and deception will be unprincipled, selfish, and fear based. That leads to failure. And when and if you do fail, and there has been failure in my life, GET UP! Nothing scares your enemy more than after they have given you a beating and you get up. The very act of getting up off the floor tends to make who ever smacked you down think twice about smacking you again. Fight so hard that even if you lose, no one will want to fight you again.
Who does John Munger want to be?
I want to be Governor of Arizona. There is a statue in San Francisco California of a lawyer.  His name was Hall Mcallister and under the statue is an inscription “Hall Mcallister, Learned Able Eloquent, A Fearless Advocate, A Courteous Foe.” At the end of the day I hope people see me as an intellectual warrior.
If  you were a cactus what kind of cactus would you be?
A Saguaro, standing proud.



  1. Great piece Jim! John is the best choice for AZ and is electable. I believe Owen (Buz) would be chewed up by Goddard over his Florida case (defrauded his partner of several million dollars) and Jan and Dean are prototypical politicos. We need a business man who also understands the process!

  2. Occasionally fate sends us someone who is the exact right person at the exact right time. John Munger’s background and political philosophy are exactly what we need right now. Is anyone paying attention? Buz Mills dumps $2 mil into the pot and now John’s message is getting drowned out by a I’m-bored-so-I-think-I’ll-run-for-governor newbie. And what about his fraud conviction? He cheats his partner out of millions and tosses off a “everybody does it” when he’s asked about it. Does anybody think that answer is going to hold up in the general campaign? Goddard will eat him alive!

  3. Timothy James hit the nail on the head. John is the best choice. I have been a grass roots activist in this state for thirty years. This is the first time I have seen the major media ignore anything negative about a “conservative” candidate such as the fraud issue surrounding Buz Mills. I also wonder why no one has notice that Dean Martin crafted and voted for our previous gov’s budgets while in the senate. Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.

    Harold Vangilder
    Casa Grande

  4. This is a great article. I look forward to hearing what the other candidates have to say.

    John Munger sounds like a well rounded intelligent individual. His attitude towards government is much like mine. Get government out of my way and let me make money and create jobs in Arizona. It does sound like he has better ideas other then raising our taxes. I look forward to hearing or reading more about the details of his plans.

    Two other candidates, who are currant government employees, seem to be part of the problem and the forth candidate, Buz, seems to have been found guilty of defrauding his business partner. (At least that’s what I read in the Capitol Times) I don’t need someone who has defrauded his partner doing the same to the State of Arizona. Why would anyone spend millions of his own money to buy a seat as Governor if he did not think he might be able to get it back?

    I will look at the other candidates but right now John Munger seems to be the one for me.

    Ed Parker

  5. Nice to see such great reviews about Munger. Everytime I see him speak I get this same sense that he is really solid. And ya notice how no one ever ‘hates’ John Munger; they may disagree with him but they respect and like him and are willing to work with him. That is quite a contrast to our current gov and “Fraud Boy” Mills.

  6. Anyone who has listened to all of the candidates knows that Munger has the most comprehensive grasp of the issues and the leadership skills necessary to move Arziona forward. With him as our nominee, we can win in November.

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