New Appointee Braswell is Lone GOP Vote Against School Choice

David Braswell

For children who are trapped in failing schools, there are few choices and very few ways out of their bad schools.  Parents can pack their belongings, sell their home, and move to a new school district, but in today’s economy only the financially fortunate have that option, and they are usually already living in good school districts.  So Republican State Representative Rick Murphy introduced HCR2057, which would give a voucher to parents of kids stuck in failing schools that would allow them to transfer to a better school, even if it is a private or parochial school.

The concept is simple, and one that conservatives have rallied around for years.  There is no excuse for forcing children into failing schools.  It is, quite simply, morally inexcusable.  Defenders of the status quo, or those who put the interests of the education unions and bureaucracy before the needs of the children argue that all school districts need to improve is more time and more money, and that removing the kids hurts the district.  Yet after hundreds of billions of dollars, decades of time, and millions of children graduated from public schools who lacked the fundamental skills needed to read their own diplomas, that excuse is no longer credible.

Yet that argument is what the voters of LD6 are being treated to by newly appointed State Senator David Braswell.  Braswell was appointed to fill the vacancy created when Pamela Gorman resigned to run for Congress.  Gorman would have been a Yes vote on the measure, but Braswell is a longtime school board President who makes his living selling computer software to school districts.  So it came as no surprise that Braswell looked after the bureaucracy rather than the students.

Ironically, the bill’s author Rick Murphy, also sits on a school board, but he apparently considers his responsibility to be looking after the best interests of the students.  Fortunately for the children of Arizona, Murphy was able to overcome the united opposition of Braswell and the committee Democrats, and the bill passed.  While it faces several remaining hurdles before it can reach the ballot, those kids passing the prospect of another long year in a failing school have hope again.  No thanks to liberals like Republican David Braswell.


  1. This is what’s problematic about having people like Braswell in office when they line their pockets on government (taxpayer-funded) contracts. Our party goes the wrong way when we have opportunities to put genuine conservatives into office … and instead people rally around those like Braswell and Vernon Parker who line their pockets on the backs of the taxpayers. Putting them in office is just asking for trouble.

  2. Perhaps Mr. Braswell understands that vouchers to private schools have been struck down as unconstitutional and would never have seen fruition. This legislation is is nothing more than a ploy in an election year, pandering to one group while doing nothing to truly force increased educational opportunity for children. Hey, Mr. Murphy et al, have the guts to force those schools to perform or close them down.

    Everything else is window-dressing so people can say they tried and point the finger in another direction.

  3. Moon Valley GOP says

    I’m amazed that Ann managed to turn it all into an attack on Murphy and the folks trying to make things better. I wonder what school district she works for?

    Ann misses (or neglects) that this was an HCR that would go to the ballot and amend the Constitution. So it is an impossibility that anyone, including Braswell, would have considered it unconstitutional. Nice try though.

  4. The challenges would have been immense and the efforts in vain. Pick the battle that can be won and with a determined outcome.
    How does this bill help rural Arizona children? How does it help the children of families who do not have transportation to other schools? Who is served by such changes?

    I do not oppose vouchers in certain situations but this is not the first step toward what is a very immediate need. This type of legislation prevents progress by stimulating conversations such as this one.

    Separate, label, divide, and nothing gets done.

  5. Moon Valley GOP says

    Progress is never stymied by conversation Ann. And your plethora of reasons not to try do not excuse the vote either. Rural children are just as entitled to choice as urban, and you can be sure that in any marketplace where competition is allowed, alternatives to failing schools will thrive if parents are allowed to choose them. That goes for Sierra Vista or Safford just as well as Glendale or Phoenix.

    But wait, you say, what if some kids don’t have transportation? Shouldn’t we then NOT fix the problem for the rest of the kids until we’ve worked out the transportation problem of the few?

    Nonsense. Who is served by these changes? Kids in schools that suck. That is who is served. Braswell and others (perhaps you too Ann) are content to allow generation after generation to feed through the system, because it preserves their jobs and their income, but its a disgrace nevertheless.

  6. Braswell is a snake oil salesman! Look on the Secretary of State website! He gave MONEY to Rep. Kristen Sinema AND Jackie Thrasher! I wouldn’t even consider him a real Republican, let alone a conservative! Curious he is supported by tea partier Wes Harris and Pamela Gorman…does make a person wonder…

  7. James Davidson says


    Who told you vouchers were unconstitutional? The Supreme Court, led by our own Chief Justice William Rehnquist, upheld them over objections that they helped Catholic schools. They have been in use in rural parts of New England for more than a 100 years. Most opposition comes from the teachers’ union, because they fear the effect vouchers will have on their power over public schools. What’s wrong with that?

  8. Ronald,
    Tea Partier Wes Harris – what a joke! North Phoenix Tea Party or whatever Harris calls himself is window dressing for RINOs friend. Harris is actually carrying a petition for David Braswell. Harris says Shadeegg’s vote for the $700 BILLION TARP is just fine and dandy! Harris’ Tea Party group is as phony as a McCain dollar bill. You can call Harris a lot of things but…Tea Partier isn’t one of them.

  9. Larry Vincent says

    You mean Braswell’s “ill gotten” Senate Seat. As LD6 Chairman this snake-oil salesman went around picking up proxy votes from PCs before ever announcing an election to choose three candidates for County BOS was even scheduled. The slithering Braswell is as self serving as they come.

    I’m voting Lori Klein for LD-6 Senator in 2010.

  10. State Senator David Braswell says

    From the desk of State Senator David Braswell:

    I support school choice. I believe in allowing parents to choose to send their children to charter schools, private schools, home schools, virtual schools and, public schools. I support failing third graders that cannot pass the reading portion of the AIMS. I support allowing students that pass all sections of the AIMS test in their sophomore year to attend community college their junior and senior year full time.

    I will support vouchers for our children as long as the voucher program promotes competition between public and private schools and is fairly applied to all parents including those that pay property taxes and middle and high income wage earners. I do not support gimmick voucher proposals. The Supreme Court has determined that vouchers are constitutional under certain circumstances. These voucher programs primarily benefit only children of lower socio economic backgrounds. This is not fair to parents paying property taxes at all income levels.

    The legislation that I was recently asked to vote on in the senate education committee, concerned me. The proposed legislation required that “qualified students” of “failing public schools” be allowed to attend a private school using a public school voucher. It proposed to transfer a lesser amount of the public school “student formula funding” dollars to a private school, allowing the public school to keep the remaining balance after the child had withdrawn to attend the private school. Furthermore, the legislation did not adequately detail what would happen to the student if and when a public school ever improved and was no longer rated a “failing school”. These issues must be addressed. Consequently, I voted NO on the legislation. It still has a way to go before becoming law and I hope to discuss these issues with the bills sponsor.

    David Braswell, State Senator

    Legislative District Six


  11. Braswell was appointed by the corrupt Maricopa county board of stupidvisors. That alone should tell us something. He also supports the Brewer tax increase. Probably how he got the appointment.

    He has never been elected before. I see no reason to elect him now. Klein gets my support.

  12. Larry Vincent says

    Furthermore, the legislation did not adequately detail what would happen to the student if and when a public school ever improved and was no longer rated a “failing school”.

    Period before close quote mark education expert.

    Nor did it explain “what would happen to the student” if proven the moon is indeed made out of blue cheese. puh–leeeze.

  13. Guys,

    His friggin’ phone number and email address are here. Instead of assuming his motives, why not just pick up the phone and call him?


  14. Bill, I don’t see anybody assuming motives – until now. : ) Braswell makes his living off of public schools and his vote in the Leg. just coincidentally benefits public schools. Total cowinkydink, I’m sure.

  15. James Davidson,
    I think Ann was referring to the state constitution.

  16. Wow, the facts, common sense and logic don’t matter to the irrational haters here.

    They managed to insert their hatred of McCain though completely off topic here and completely dismiss the fact that the temporary object of their hate and jealousy, Braswell, addressed their issue calmly and completely – AND directly explained that he supports vouchers.

    No one can make these people happy. They must be defeated and taken out of the Arizona Republican Party before there is no money in the AZGOP coffers and no reasonable person left in leadership.

  17. To all those out there who are afraid to put their names on what they write, I say if you hide behind anything at all, you are not credible. For those who condem people who are actually tring to make a difference, I say before you cast stones, get in the pool, the waters fine. Anyone can be a ‘Monday Morning Quarterback” but there is only one guy on the field taking the hits. Until you are willing to get out there and take the hits yourself, you better think twice before you complain. As to being a liberal…this is utter balderdash! Anyone who knows me knows where I stand politically…it is only those who cannot find something nice to say about anyone that may possibley disagree with them that they use Sal Salinski’s teachings. How is that for quoting a liberal? So, if you have something to say, keep it polite and civil. Otherwise say nothing. Oh yes, and please think for yourself and do not blindly follow the suggestions (instructions) of the like of Mark Zemel which I suspect is behind all of this about me and Sen. Braswell.

  18. AllUsBadGuys says

    Arizona just so happens to be home to the two highest-performing schools

    So I’d like to know why the legislators aren’t doing their best to clear the way for these charter school systems to spread and why are their educational tactics aren’t being duplicated in regular public schools.

    @Wesley: I think you meant Saul Alinsky?

  19. Stephen Kohut says


    Actively supporting a RINO like McCain speaks volumes as does the MSM pointing to the only TP group, yours, as supporting McCain and using this as proof that McCain has TP support. Use whatever words you want to spin, your actions speak for you.

    As AllUsBadGuys says, if you are going to make reference to Alinsky at least get his name right.

  20. Public School Supporter says

    I am a PC in LD-6.

    I don’t (I don’t think it will actually help education) support the 18% sales tax increase, even though Senator Braswell does. I also don’t support many of his “liberal” ideas and his ties to most of the more liberal wing of our district. But, I respect his opinions and acknowledge that I am not always right myself.

    However, the man is a gentleman, and he politely discusses issues with his voters. In fact, he actually voted in committee in support of the district’s voters on an issue I contacted him about. I commend him for that.

    Frankly, I’m not sure I support vouchers as they are presently used. I’m not sure that public education is bettered by them. Failing schools need to be fixed, not abandoned. Which of you complaining about education has actually run for a seat on the school board? How many of you always attend (or, usually attend) your local school board meetings? How many of volunteer to serve on distict or school committees? How many of you have visited every school in your district? How many of you help elect conservative Republicans to school boards? I could sure use your help in my school district.

    Senator Braswell listens. Give him a chance to explain. Then, consider his explanation within the context that he frames it rather than stubbornly sticking to attacks on the issue. Verbally destroying our own people through this medium doesn’t help improve things.

    All of us are lobbyists. Wouldn’t it be better to do your lobbying before a vote rather than after it? Contact your state legislators directly and ask for their vote on issues while they can still cast that vote.

    Then, come election time, campaign for the candidate that you believe will be best for your district and Arizona. I know that’s what I am going to do in LD-6.

  21. Now it can be told says

    Braswell endorsed McCain for reelection. Enough said.

  22. James Davidson says


    If Ann were referring to the State Constitution, then let’s see. In recent times, the Legislature did create two voucher programs: one was for disabled children who were getting crummy treatment in the public system, and the other was limited to 500 vouchers per year for children in foster care who might get more help in a private school than in the public system.

    In an act of true cruelty, the teachers’ unions, aided and abetted by the ACLU and People for the American Way, crushed both programs in court. They really should be proud of themselves — what with their success in making life harder for orphans and disabled youngsters. I couldn’t imagine anything more mean-spirited.

    The Arizona Supreme Court said those two voucher programs violated a certain clause of the state constitution called the Aid Clause (not the freedom of religion clause.)

    This clause appears to be a descendant of the notorious Blaine Amendment, an anti-Catholic piece of trash. (As a side note, decent people should call for repeal of the Aid Clause as the product of the anti-Catholic bigotry and prejudice that prevailed in Arizona and other states at the beginning of the 20th century.)

    At any rate, the Supreme Court itself said there may be ways to help these orphans and disabled children that satisfy the state constitution. So, I wouldn’t necessarily view the Arizona Constitution as preventing vouchers. The Legislature merely needs to draft around the Aid Clause, as can be done.

    At any rate, if any of you of the Left want to stand with the teachers’ union and allied groups that put their liberal ideology ahead of orphans and disabled children, and relied on the fruit of the poisonous tree of religious bigotry to get their way, it’s a free country.

  23. Public School Supporter, the point of vouchers is not to fix failing schools. The point is to let parents get their children out of failing schools and put them in good schools. The idea is that failing schools should be allowed to fail and close. The issue is not having a particular school be fixed so it can do a good job educating students. The issue is students getting a good education at a school operated by people qualified and motivated to provide it. Another critical issue is that vouchers let parents individually decide what is best for their children. Keeping public schools makes it necessary for parents to get politically involved in the school district to even have a chance of making a difference.

    If you apply your logic to grocery stores, you would see how foolish it would be to have a public system with decisions made in a collective, political way rather than by individual decisions of grocers and consumers. Grocery stores are as good as they are in this country because of freedom and competition.

    Compare what we have to what was available to Russians under communism at state stores. Unleashing freedom and competition in K-12 education would produce more quality and innovation in education with greater student achievement and parent satisfaction. It is likely that good teachers would benefit as well.

    The main problem with Murphy’s proposal is that it does not extend to all Arizona students regardless of the public school in their area or their income level. The reason, I suspect, is that this is just a first step to get vouchers working in this state and that Murphy thinks it has a better chance of passing in its current form than a more general voucher program would have.

    I understand some of Braswell’s concerns, but he should have voted for the measure and worked with the sponsor to clean up some of the language he considers to be problematic. I think the language should state that once a child is authorized to leave a failing school, he will have access to vouchers the rest of his K-12 school career regardless of the status of his public school or family income level. If Braswell agrees with that, then I commend him for his concern, but I disagree with his approach. Still, I wish him good luck getting the language changed.

  24. Double Decaf Latte says

    Maybe Gorman should have stayed in the Senate and voted YES!

  25. Stephen Kohut says

    @State Senator David Braswell #10,

    If it’s a failed public school stick a fork in it and call it done. A failed public school is no different from a failed business. Done is done. No one should be forced to partronize either. No parent should be forced to send their child using the tax dollars they paid to a failed institution just because it is public. All the money should follow the child to the school of the parent’s choice. If the “failed” school manages to turn itself around then they can try to market that and get students to return. The name of the game has to be competition and free markets.

    @Public School Supporter #20,

    For someone that indicates that they are running for school board and needs help you won’t get it hinding behind a fake name. You want help? Then who are you?

    For someone that is castigating others for not working on the education mess and not being involved, what have you done? I am running for the local school board, have been working to recruit others to run in Pinal County and get them into both campaigning and school board workshops. What are you doing?

  26. Public School Supporter says

    Oh. OK.

    I have served on 15 different district committees in the last nine years, including strategic planning, budget, bonds, overrides, magnet schools, boundaries, employee negotiations, etc. etc. I have worked on the election of eight different school board positions over the same period – losing only one of them. I have served on so many school committees, I have lost count, but include campus improvement teams at two schools, the PTA, administrator hiring team, etc. etc. Our district is one of the largest in the state.

    I am proud that my entire school board are Republicans, three of them conservatives and two true moderates. No liberals. I am proud they are fiscally conservative and our operations, while not perfect, are improving every year. We have no failing schools, no schools below standard, none at standard – all performing plus or excelling.

    I am not running for the governing board because my job prevents me from doing so and only because of that. I think we owe public education a debt and try to repay that by my personal participation. I know we owe an improved public education to our children.

    By the way, the superintendent and much of her staff hate my guts, because I question their actions and challenge their attempt to take authority from our governing board. I constantly question salaries, administrative staffing, low performing teachers, and the relentless pursuit of more money over substance. The community recognizes me as a strong contributor to our schools and as such, I can effectively influence school revenue(either pass or fail) and school board elections – much to the chagrin of the superintendent.

    But, enough of the self-congratulations.

    I envy your opportunity to seek election to your board and wish you the best of luck. In such a position, you can prevent failing schools from happening in your district.

  27. Stephen Kohut says

    @ Public School Supporter,

    And you walk on water as well as you type. Without a name all your post is worth zip and is that not verifiable. If you want anyone to believe you provide a name, otherwise it’s nothing but key strokes.

  28. Public School Supporter says

    You asked for the garbage of what I’ve done, I didn’t volunteer it. It’s not more than any of us can do and the sarcasm you use doesn’t really diminish its benefits to the students and taxpayers in my district.

    The people in my school district know who I am, and, frankly, that’s enough for me. Since I am not running for office and since many of us have valid reasons for remaining anonymous on this blog, I fail to see your problem with my posts.

    I was not directly critical of anyone and have not framed my statements in an argumentative way. I did ask which of the commenters were working to help improve public education and applauded you for being one of those who is trying to do so. The way I see it, we are on the same side.

    Again, good luck in your election.

  29. nightcrawler says

    Nevermind Stephen PSS,

    He fancies himself as all that and hasn’t been elected to even a State Committeeman slot. His neighbors won’t even vote for him so the all chest pounding and self righteous name calling mean nothing.

  30. Wes,

    You suggested in your blog post to keep things polite and civil. Then you made the condescending statement of – oh yes, think for yourself and do not blindly follow the suggestion (instruction) of the likes of Mark Zemel. You should follow your own advice and be civil. There was no need for that remark.

  31. I always wonder what he will be willing to do for Jay Heiler (with Redflex) and president of the Arizona Charter School Association. What are there, 500 charter schoolsi n Arizona?

  32. Lou in LD6 says

    “I support failing third graders that cannot pass the reading portion of the AIMS. I support allowing students that pass all…”

    WHO instead of “that.”
    Braswell earns an F-

    Braswell is not qualified to teach in the classroom let alone serve in the legislature.


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