Supt. Tom Horne – Conservative Leadership, More Than Just Talk

Superintendent Tom HorneThe mark of the intelligent person is that he or she never stops learning. Ronald Reagan, Phil Gramm, John Connally, Bob Stump, Jeff Sessions, Bill Bennett, and Jean Kirkpatrick were all Democrats, but were wise enough to become Republicans later in life.Why did they make this switch? Because like me, anyone who has had his eyes and ears open during the latter half of the 20th century has learned that markets work much better than governments. Additionally, a serious student of history realizes that no nation can succeed without strong families, strong law enforcement, an atmosphere of patriotism, strong national defense, a strong work ethic, and respect for high standards and high achievement. These have been the conservative principles that have guided me in public office.

Conservative leadership has been more than just talk for me. I have actually implemented conservative principles in Arizona:

  1. Established tough disciplinary standards and required character education for students;
  2. Brought back traditional American history in schools and exposed “ethnic studies” as liberal propaganda;
  3. Promoted excellence in education and held schools, teachers and students accountable for results;
  4. Voted to reduce taxes, promote law enforcement and limit abortion (I voted to ban partial birth abortion and require parental consent with a rape exception); and
  5. Permanently banned bi-lingual education

Starting from my days as a school board member and now as Superintendent of Public Education, I have worked tirelessly to improve the quality of education in Arizona. As a school board president, I established some of the toughest disciplinary standards in the state and believe that this played a major role in our district’s academic success, as discipline begets academic achievement. Excessively disruptive students who interfered with the academic progress of others were no longer tolerated in the classroom and were removed. Facing less distraction, student test scores improved. As state superintendent, I promote these principles statewide.

I also established the first character education program in the state. As important as it is to graduate students who are academically capable, it is equally important to graduate students of high character who will improve the community.

As a candidate for Superintendent, I promised to bring back the traditional teaching of American history in schools. That is a promise kept. The chief historian of The History Channel recognized Arizona’s accomplishments and stated at a press conference that Arizona’s new history standards are “head and shoulders” above the other 49 states.

In my efforts to ensure equal opportunity education for all students, I exposed ‘ethnic studies’ in Tucson, in which students were divided by race, and Latino students were taught a Marxist agenda, including that they live in occupied Mexico, and are ‘oppressed.’ These classes proved detrimental to the students’ academic development and hindered their progress in school. My bill to ban these classes passed the Senate Judiciary committee on a party line vote, and we hope it will pass the legislature next year.

I have emphasized academic rigor in our classrooms because academic excellence fosters strong intellectual development. Test scores have soared while wasteful spending in school budgets has been reduced. Bureaucracy has been cut and has allowed more money to reach our students.

I supported using the AIMS test as a barometer of students’ academic potential and preparedness to maintain the value and integrity of an Arizona high school diploma and ensure that students graduating from Arizona public schools deserve their diplomas. A high school diploma must carry some meaning. It should not be just a piece of paper.

I also have the distinction of being the only statewide elected official to stand up to the ultra liberal Center for Law in the Public Interest and win for the taxpayers of Arizona. In the case of Horne v. Flores, the U.S. Supreme Court sided with our office and held that it is we the people, through our elected representatives, who decide how much we spend, not an aristocracy of federal judges. Governor Napolitano, Attorney General Goddard and much of the liberal establishment opposed this move, but we won, saved Arizonans $21 million in fines, and established our state’s right to make education decisions.

As a member of the legislature, I took a strong stance against excessive taxation and voted to cut personal income taxes, corporate income taxes, vehicle license taxes, and property taxes. I supported law enforcement, which is essential to maintaining order in any civilized society.

I have also voted to ban partial birth abortion and to require parental consent for teenage abortions with a rape exception. As attorney general, I would be 100% committed to enforce any pro life bill that is or becomes law.

When I ran for Superintendent, I dared to tell the truth-bilingual education doesn’t work and only hurts those it is intended to help. I said I would end it, and that is exactly what we did. As a result, learning among Hispanic students has gone up, exactly as we predicted.

You need to have an Attorney General who will win the cases he should win. You need that so that taxpayers will be protected so that we are safe in our homes, so that we minimize the impact of federal malpractice on our borders. It requires the ability to bring professional development and technology to the Attorney General’s office, so that trial attorneys there will be winners. Winning cases for the taxpayers requires an Attorney General who is respected by the judiciary, which makes the decisions. To receive respect, you must give respect.

Arizona has been plagued with liberal political lawyers who had no substantial private practice or courtroom experience before becoming Attorney General. As an attorney with 30 years of trial experience and a history of winning important cases, I would bring a high level of experience winning important cases to the position. But most importantly, I would bring experience not just talking about conservative principles, but actually implementing them.

If I run, and am elected, I would be a different kind of Attorney General, one who would not only talk the talk, but walk the walk. No fake conservative rhetoric-instead it would be the real deal. If you have any doubt, look at what I have done over the last seven years as Superintendent of Schools. It’s not talk – it’s action, and hundreds of thousands of Arizona students and their families are better off for it.


  1. North Valley Republican says

    Oh, please!

    Just look at the wasteful spending in your office. You don’t have to look any further than the SAIS system. It’s a wreck of your own doing that just won’t stop crashing on the taxpayers of Arizona.

    Look at how you have dumbed-down the AIMS test. A test of rigor and success in learning. Not hardly. More a lesson in how to keep lowering the bar until most people who simply show-up for class can pass it.

    You can not repaint yourself as a conservative when you support abortion, higher taxes, poor management decisions, etc. etc. We need a true conservative for AG.

    I’m thinking more along the lines of Andy Thomas.

    And, if this piece of political garbage isn’t an announcement by you for the office, I can’t read.

  2. For the record, SAIS was developed long before Horne got into office and it’s a legislative mandate.

    It was also the legislature that watered down AIMS with augmentation, which was done over Horne’s objections.

  3. North Valley Republican says

    Augmentation had nothing to do with lowering the rigor of the test.

    And, no one has spent more money and other resources on a losing system like SAIS than Tom Horne.

    There are two measurements he can’t escape.

  4. The SAIS system has been used for along time. Just like any technology system after years of use the system needs to be updated. With the funding issues it was very prudent of him to not send money on a major project during these economic time. He has extremely financially conservative in hard times.

    Take a step back and look at the whole picture and the changes that he has made during the last 6 years. Changes have been made to support the needs of teachers and the community such as providing additional certification personal,character counts training, and he is a great support of teachers.

    It seems that you have an agenda, and your agenda is to support the next AG. Take your plug for the AG someplace else.

    P.S. Sorry, your not even supporting a viable candidate.

  5. Give Me A Break says

    North Valley Republican – Get the facts before you post comments like yours. The other comments are correct – SAIS was conceived, designed and put into production long before Tom Horne came on board. Mr Horne has been the most effective Superintendent of Public Instruction we have had in years! Do you know anything about the Flores case? Do you know what kind of data SAIS collects? Do you have any idea of the federal reporting reqs SAIS answers? Do you know anything about the national drive to standardize data collection for education? I thought not! Stay dumb and keep your negative comments to yourself – Thank you!

  6. Mr. Horne does a fine job of pitching his accomplishments. I wonder if anybody can tell how much better or worse an Attorney General he would have been if he had been elected instead of Terry Goddard?

  7. James Davidson says

    Let’s come to the point: Does Horne support Roe v. Wade or does he oppose it?

  8. Hawk for Horne says

    James – but your R.W. Schambach Evangelist “No Middle Ground” on the abortion issue from our side, is partly what helped Obama to be elected by a disturbing majority of unenlightened and anger filled “Modern Democrats”. This dogmatic approach just fuels them. It is one of the things they pick up on, and use to hate conservatives, and for that matter all things God. A candidate can be conservative without picketing abortion clinics and ruining all chances to govern. Your over-simplification of a single court case such as Roe vs. Wade into a Yes or No question makes you partly like those we are both sickened by. No matter though, Horne has done a good job thus far – and his accomplishments in the last five years are impressive.

  9. Capitol Observer says

    Horne’s accomplishments are partly due to moe than $800,000,000 added to education costs during the period of 2006 and 2007.

    It was money he spent and we couldn’t really afford it. More money in teachers’ pockets is not the answer and most conservatives know it.

    Now, we are in a deep financial hole and those who want to continue unsustainable spending on education will hurt us all. He is not a conservative and trying to belittle those who refuse to support those who support abortion simply allows more babies to be killed.

  10. Hawk for Horne says

    I am frequently a Fox News Sean Hannity zealot too. However, “Unsustainable” is one of those words that lately gets repeated over and again. It simplifies a conservative into an idiot by the other side. When I hear it, I know you are repeating it. Of course abortion is unbelievably wrong, and that is the truth that we all know in our hearts. The point I am trying to make with this (and not belittle those saving babies from murderers), is that this single issue was being used to discredit a man who has actually done a good job overall. Also, there are a variety of reasons as to why a person would not support Roe Vs. Wade. Maybe you are ultimately correct though – and that we should have zero compromise like Rush says. However, this then makes us just like the true totalitarians on the other side. Maybe I am just not conservative enough then! I remember this guy I used to work with, and he was so extreme right, that he really should have just joined the Democrats because he was doing just as much damage by being so dogmatic!

  11. I think that Horne has done a good job as SPI in many areas.

    He takes credit for the Flores case decision of the Supremes, because it happened on his watch. I’m willing to give him that.

    We should all applaud his efforts in the struggle against the La Raza programs in TUSD and other districts.

    He has been resolute in pushing for making sure our students are taught the history of this country with a curriculum that extols the virtues of our guiding principles.

    On the other hand, he tries to walk away from areas of abject failure – after seven years on the job.

    If SAIS is a failure – and it is – and he has beem the SPI for seven years, he owns it.

    If the AIMS test has been a failure and dumbed down on an annual basis just so he will not have an uprising of rotten parents and he has been the SPI for seven years, he owns it.

    If he has allowed the school districts to continue funneling money into the administration offices, failed to prevent supplanting of monies in violation of the law passed by the voters, and failed to place safeguards against illegal spending by districts, he owns those items also.

    More importantly, when talking about his aspirations to become the AG, his basic legal philosophy is anathema to me. Horne stated at a recent event where he was the keynote speaker that precedence and “settled law” trumps the Constitution. That revelation on how he views the application of justice is paramount in evaluating his qualifications.

    I want the Constitution as the foundation of our judicial system, not the 5-4 wrong headed decisions of robed rogues who believe their job is to enact legislation out of thin air. I want the AG to pursue remedies to those improperly decided cases in order to protect and defend the Constitution, as the oath of office requires.

    Horne has stated clearly that he will not meet that basic criteria. Nuff said.

  12. James Davidson says


    I actually am open-minded towards Horne, merely asked a question, and did not state a position on it one way or the other. Does Horne support Roe v. Wade or not? The vehemence of your response suggests some sensitivity there.

    There are three answers to the question I posed that one often hears: I do support it, I do not support it, or (the common political response) I oppose it but there’s nothing I can do about it. We are entitled to know where Horne stands.

    If he supports Roe, he should say so. That will tell us whether he is a true conservative. A true conservative can support laws made by the Legislature or by the people at the polls that allow abortion. Governor Reagan did so in California. On this point reasonable conservatives can disagree reasonably. I know where I would come out if I were a member of the Legislature facing this question.

    But no true conservative can support a Supreme Court decision that invents a constitutional right out of whole cloth. The Constitution left questions like abortion to the states. The Supreme Court upset the constitutional balance in Roe. That is why no true conservative ever can defend it.

    Horne has the reputation of having been a brilliant lawyer. If this is true, then he will appreciate the next point I am making. The courts are bound to follow a decision of the Supreme Court whether the decision is right or wrong. It is precedent. But we the people never have to accept it if we think it is wrong. The obvious example is the separate-but-equal disgrace that the Supreme Court invented in the Plessy v. Ferguson case. If you have read anything about Thurgood Marshall, you will know that he and Charles Houston, Marshall’s law school dean, crafted a brilliant strategy to undo Plessy and separate-but-equal in small bits, step by step over time, until the whole execrable structure tumbled down in the Brown case. That is the pattern that can be used to bring down Roe. The Legislature charted the path with the limited restrictions it passed this year. Over time Roe can be discredited and reversed and the matter returned to the states. Leadership at the state Attorney General level can be critical to accomplishing this result.

    You question whether it makes political sense to oppose abortion, and you cite President Obama’s victory as evidence of the political foolishness of opposition to Roe. I don’t see it. Courtesy of Gallup, we now know that a majority in America is pro-life.
    With Bush having tanked as badly as he did almost any Democrat was likely to win, much less one as gifted at public speaking as Obama. Let me add that when the economy cratered on September 18, and Senator McCain announced he was “suspending” his campaign, he looked like he panicked, and he never recovered.

    Let me conclude with a defense of those more active than me in opposing abortion. I do not support violence of any kind but I do support the picketers and those who kneel to pray the rosary in front of abortion clinics who lawfully exercise their First Amendment rights. I am not Catholic but I am old enough to remember when Popes urged Catholics to pray the rosary to bring down the Soviet Union. So maybe there is something to it.

  13. Totally a tangential subject….

    I hear folks claiming their conservative concerns that too many dollars are not put into the classroom and we should pay our teachers more..the GI for example. When in fact, Arizona schools are way below the national average on administrator pay and in the middle on teacher pay.

    Then I read the comment above about “putting money in the pocket of teachers” is the worse thing to do…really? That is true if the AEA is runing the show, but if we reward our best teachers and not give them all a raise for breathing, we would be much better off.

    Also, the $ that went thru the DOE were not asked for and spent by Horne, those were appropriated by the Lege, basically at the request of the Governor.

    I’m not sure the guy has the chops to be the AG, and I am also not a fan of Thomas for reasons I won’t go in to….so I’m not playing either side here but the schizophrenic attitude toward education is baffling.

  14. I’ll support Mr. Horne for having the cajones for taking on the corrupt Roosevelt school district – an issue which all his predecessors ignored – anyone who has the intestinal fortitude to do that (and do it in public) has my vote

  15. Hawk for Horne says

    Sir James

    Since your response was so good, I have spent a few minutes of time researching past blogs on this subject this morning.

    Horne already responded to this question in the June 9th blog – so we do know his position. I have also reviewed your June 10th blog as well. For him to answer the “Gotcha’s”, correctly – it would probably take a book.

    He has stated he will be committed 100% to enforce any pro life bill that is, or becomes law.

    Based on his record as SPI, he has demonstrated that he is a person who does what he says. These days, a person who does what he says is rare (and is what is deparately needed in government right now).

    On another note, my impression is that Andy simply appears hard to me – and people will see this if he were to actually give up his job early. When I think of him, the first image that comes to mind is that photograph of him standing next to Joe (and following Joe’s lead as a celebrity). I am a Joe supporter just so you know.

    With Tom, he is always out there on the news as his own man, and his message is consistent on every show that he is on.

    He shows a passion for what he is doing, and for this he has my support over Andy.

  16. Hawk,

    Let me repost part of my previous post that lists my major concern with Horne.

    “More importantly, when talking about his aspirations to become the AG, his basic legal philosophy is anathema to me. Horne stated at a recent event where he was the keynote speaker that precedence and “settled law” trumps the Constitution. That revelation on how he views the application of justice is paramount in evaluating his qualifications.

    I want the Constitution as the foundation of our judicial system, not the 5-4 wrong headed decisions of robed rogues who believe their job is to enact legislation out of thin air. I want the AG to pursue remedies to those improperly decided cases in order to protect and defend the Constitution, as the oath of office requires.”

    He clearly stated in the meeting that he considered RvW “settled law”, which is a major concern when applied to his underlying legal belief structure.

    Any response?

  17. James Davidson says


    Help me out. I acn’t remeber back to June 9 and 10. What did Horne say? Does he support Roe or oppose it?

  18. Hawk for Horne says

    AZNooz – I understand your positive assertion that you want the constitution to be the foundation (and the proper interpretation thereof).

    I would think that the priority of remedies to “incorrectly” decided cases that are “settled” would be Horne’s decision when he is AG.

    Since I am a non-lawyer (and a first-time blogger on any site), I am curious as to which cases you would like to see him pursue.

    Also, James – The text of what Horne Said is on this site (I believe he voted 2 out of three to pro-life laws, and had a reson for not voting for the third).

    As for RvW Yes or No question — Just doing a quick search, I see now that this is the rage the last few weeks (pinning both Dems and Reps on their opinion of RvW). I’ll have to review what is/has happened when Roberts, Alito and Sotomayor were asked that question. I have learned alot today too!

  19. Horne seems too concerned about being liked by the judiciary. Andy stood up to the Spanish DUI courts taking on the presiding judge on her pet project. It would have been easier to let it go. The recent 9th Circuit opinion looked only at standing and even said victims have no standing. Mundell never argued that the sentences received in the Spanish DUI were much less harsh than those who appeared in regular DUI court. Andy also took on the judges who refused to hold inmates without bond when the voters passed the bill. It wasn’t until the legislature threatened judicial raises that the Chief Justice ordered the judges to follow the law. It was Andy who pointed out the pretrial chief had her people stopped asking where there were born and the judges were fine with that. I want an AG who will stand up for what is right and not worry so much about kissing the ring of the liberal judiciary. Horne needs top rememeber there are three branches of government.

  20. I would think a qualification to be Attorney General is some respect for the law. This post is a campaign flier by a person holding another office. Resign to run is ignored by a person who wants to be head prosecutor for the State. An actual conservative respects the law not just the laws that are politically expedient.

  21. Let me rephrase my concern. Maybe different words will help.

    I am pro-life, but I oppose RvW on the grounds that it is a states rights issue when you go back to the Constitution. If a state decides to approve abortion, I would work to change the makeup of the legislature or try to influence the governor to appoint justices that would change that opinion.

    However, my concern with Horne does not go directly to the RvW situation. It goes to every case that comes to the court.

    Tom Horne stated publicly that he believes that precedent and “settled law” trumps the Constitution. Anyone who is so enamored with activist judges in black robes as to support 5-4 split decisions – made up out of whole cloth without precedent or constitutional authority – over the principles – like states rights – of our founding fathers will never have my vote for any position that is even remotely dealing with the justice system.

    The principles of states rights and individual rights should be unyielding.

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