Written by state Rep. Andrew Sherwood (D-LD26/Tempe)
As the 2014 election draws closer, it’s important to remember that an election is a job review for elected officials. Let’s review.
The 51st legislature did almost nothing to achieve a healthy, educated, prosperous Arizona. Instead, we got phony proposals, starved agencies, and bad legislation – all as a result the extremism of the Republican majority.
Some are zealots and some were too frightened to object.
So how did the GOP spend its time in the legislature? Some was spent on a bill to have government patrol the bathrooms of our state. Every Republican voted for it. Some was spent trying to control women’s health care. Republicans also want the state to meddle with our medicine. So much for getting government out of our lives.
Education -- after 30 years of Republican control, no state spends less on students and we remain at the bottom of national education rankings. While Democrats pushed to restore K-12 education funding, Republicans argued to put guns in schools.
What about jobs? Each year, Republicans lower taxes and the result is “sub-par” economic growth. Tourism is at risk. Construction is stagnant. Housing is dormant again. Transportation is scraping by. Economist Elliot Pollack called Arizona’s recovery “anemic.”
What about democracy? Republicans oppose it. They passed HB2305, the “voter suppression bill”, which added more hurdles for seniors, rural residents, and minorities to register and vote. Don’t forget that Democrats helped the 2013 effort to collect signatures for a “citizen veto”.
Then there is the so-called Republican leadership. A national embarrassment. The School Superintendent was recently ousted for insulting Latinos and the poor as an anonymous blogger. His hidden life had been going on for years.
Tom Horne’s unethical behavior got him banned-for-life from securities trading, but that hasn’t taught him any lessons. Horne has been under investigation nearly his entire term and we hear constantly about FBI and state investigations detailing his violations of campaign finance laws and the mismanagement of the AG’s office.
12 News anchor Brahm Resnik asked the Republican nominee for governor if he would have supported the Medicaid restoration. That’s a reasonable question, right? He repeatedly refused to answer. What kind of governor would Doug Ducey be if he refuses to answer tough questions?
The Republican-controlled Legislature passed SB1062 to legalize discrimination. It caused a national firestorm of ridicule and scorn. Lasting damage was done to Arizona’s reputation. Not a single Democrat voted for it.
Individual Republican members have been accused of child abuse (Senator Murphy), of writing laws to pad their own pockets (Senator Yarbrough) and of living in a different district than the people they represent (Representative Mitchell).
These people don’t deserve their offices.
But not all legislation since the last election was unethical or underwhelming. Remember the expansion of health care where we get our own taxes back from the feds? Thank the Democrats for passing that bill.
Republicans would rather have given away your tax dollars to other states than accept the political reality that providing health care is morally and fiscally responsible.
Glenn Hamer, CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, got grilled while testifying in support of the expansion. Why? Opposition to the expansion consistently boils down to the same source: ideology.
Meanwhile, supporters of Medicaid always cited the same reasons: the math. I know because I serve on the Appropriations Committee where Glenn testified. Math vs. ideology; which is best for Arizona? Math- best of all, it’s working.
Let’s get rid of the extremism in politics. Make sure to vote early or on November 4th.
A version of this post appeared in the October 18 edition of a community section in the Arizona Republic.