Primary Election Debate – Democratic Candidates for U.S. Senate

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Meet the Democratic Candidates for U.S. Senate and find out where they stand on the issues. Invited to attend: John Dougherty, Cathy Eden, Rodney Glassman, and Randy Parraz.

Ted Simons: Good evening, and welcome to this special "Vote 2010" edition of "Horizon," I'm Ted Simons. Tonight we host a debate among the Democratic candidates running for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by John McCain. The candidates are, in alphabetical order: John Dougherty, an investigative reporter. Cathy Eden, a former state lawmaker. Rodney Glassman, former vice-mayor of Tucson. And Randy Parraz, a union and community organizer. Each candidate will have one minute for opening and closing statements. Earlier we drew numbers to see who goes first. The honor goes to Rodney Glassman.

Rodney Glassman : I'm the former vice-mayor for the City of Tuscon. I was also a legislative aid to Congressman Grijavla, I was also a lieutenant in the JAG Air Corps and I hold a PHD in arid land resource sciences. And I'm asking for your vote August 24th to become the Democrat to run against John McCain for the United States Senate. We've had John McCain as our United States senator for almost 24 years and what does our state have to show for it? We have one of the worst classroom student teacher ratio in the country. We have serious issues when it comes to infrastructures. We're 500,000 military families in our state have a senator that does not support veterans' benefits and we can do better. I want to make Arizona the greatest state to live, work and raise a family.

Ted Simons: All right. Thank you very much. And John Dougherty has one minute for an opening statement.

John Dougherty: Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, my name's John Dougherty. The only question you have to ask yourself about this primary race is which person among us can beat John McCain. The answer has nothing to do with how much money you've thrown into the campaign, how many college degrees you have, the endorsements you've racked up over the season. The question is who's delivered a blow to John McCain and who has the potential to take him out. In 1989, it was my story that landed John McCain in a Senate ethics committee and nearly ended his career. For the next twenty five years I have worked for you as a journalist without fear and or favor exposing corruption at the highest levels of the state. I'm the person with the best shot, the best potential, and the knowledge and understanding to take John McCain out this November. John McCain does not want to see me standing across from him when we have debates later this November.

Ted Simons: Now we have Cathy Eden, one minute for an opening statement.

Cathy Eden: Arizona, this is our state and we're in trouble. You have my heart, my soul and my roots. People are suffering from job loss, foreclosures. We're getting politicians taking pot shots at each other and spending millions doing it. We need new leadership. I have seen Arizona work. I know what it is like when it works. I have run two large state agencies. I've been a county manager, a legislator. I have worked for four governors, both Republican and Democrat. I know what government looks like when it works. It is not working now. John McCain just walked away from us. John McCain needs to be replaced, replaced with leadership, someone who understands that concept. I have fixed government in the past and I will fix government again. John McCain needs to go and I am the one that needs to be replacing him.

Ted Simons: Thank you very much. Finally, Randy Parraz has one minute for an opening statement.

Randy Parraz: Good evening, my name is Randy Parraz and I'm here to ask for your vote to send me to Washington to advocate for all Arizona families. I am the son of working family class parents. My father was a deputy sheriff, my mother was a clerk at J.C. Penney's. We may have been short with money but I was raised with family values. These values inspired me to enter this race. I will fight to bring the troops back home from Iran and Iraq, and as a lifelong Democrat I will fight for immigration reform, marriage equality, and overturn SB 1070. I asked Rodney, as a Republican donor, would he do the same? This is a time for small ideas and limited action, let's come together and sell the a new vision and new course for Arizona.

Ted Simons: Thank you very much. Let's get the discussion started here. I heard a lot of John McCain in those opening statements. I want to ask each one of you what differentiates you from the other people sitting at this table. Rodney?

Rodney Glassman: Thank you, Ted. That is a good question. Believe it or not, in the past 20 years Arizonans have not had a choice other than John McCain. Have not had a choice of a candidate who has both served as an elected official and been endorsed by significant numbers of other elected officials. Additionally, I'm the first candidate to be taking on John McCain, that has any prior military experience. In a state like ours with over 500,000 military families, a U.S. senator with one of the worst voting records on veteran benefits in the Senate, we need somebody that's going to be focused on the future-- on job creation, education and sustainability and working with one another in the senate. That's not John McCain, which is why we need somebody new, and that's why there's so much support building for our campaign.

Ted Simons: How do you separate yourself from the other candidates at the table?

John Dougherty: I'm the only candidate who has spent 25 years covering the state from one end to the other. I am aligned with no special interests. I am here to serve you with neither fear nor favor. I will find the facts and report them back to you, and together we will come up with solutions for our state. I cannot be bought or sold and I'm aligned with no one other than the men and women of the state of Arizona.

Ted Simons: We've got four Democrats sitting here, all wanting a Senate seat. Why are you any different than the others?

Cathy Eden: Novices need not apply. We need somebody who knows what they are doing, who's been there, written legislation and made legislation work. Some of the members asked me to come down to Tuscon and talk about a federal water project. They said, our guy -- Rodney's been on the City Council less than 18 months, and he walked away from us. I believe we need to have somebody who really does have experience and has made things work.

Ted Simons: How do you differentiate yourself?

Randy Parraz: John McCain is out of touch. He's been there for a quarter of a century. I'm the only candidate who's organized in different communities, who's worked with immigrant communities. Over 15 years of experience holding politicians and organizations accountable for their behavior. That's my body of work and that reflects the values I bring to the table. I'm not a millionaire or a career politician. I know how to engage people; I can bring people together to make things happen. That makes me different than anyone else at the table.

Rodney Glassman: I also am proud of the fact that I'm the first candidate in over 20 years that's been endorsed by the "Arizona Republic," by the National Education Association which represents over 33,000 teachers right here in Arizona. I'm a candidate that has a track record of being an advocate for women's reproductive justice. Which is why Planned the Parenthood Federation of America has endorsed my campaign. As a member of the Tuscon City Council I was endorsed by the AFL-CIO and their members. One of the things we haven't had is a candidate to run against John McCain that could get Arizonans engaged and excited about an alternative.

John Dougherty: I'd like to interject on these endorsements. They are not being distributed fairly at all. They are being assigned without even discussing issues with other people. How can Planned Parenthood make a decision without even talking to us? They are overblown and don't even cut to the chase. Do you have the integrity and ability to fight for the women of Arizona come heck or high water?

Randy Parraz: I think some of these endorsements have been bought. Only one candidate here has money in the campaign to keep people out of the race, attract more endorsements and more money. I'm concerned about working people who have lost their homes, they are suffering out there, those are the endorsements I'm looking for, real people, not from organizations and institutions. Who is out there connecting with people and who cares about their concerns?

Ted Simons: Cathy, do endorsements matter?

Cathy Eden: Many times they do. So many of them did endorsements and they got really nervous. Many people said, wait a minute, we made a mistake and we need to get other candidates in here. Early endorsements -- one of the things I do give a lot of credit, once they are given they often ride it out until the general. I don't see them as too much of a problem. That's why there are more candidates.

Randy Parraz: They are just robo-calls for another candidate later on. There was one candidate out there getting the attention because it was a different time. Times have changed in Arizona in the last 60 days. We need a different type of candidate with a different type of leadership.

Rodney Glassman: We need to bring this discussion to the issues impacting Arizona. We've all got a chance to see J.D. Hayworth and John McCain slinging mud at each other. I think we all agree that Arizona needs a new U.S. senator and we need to have a discussion about job creation, education and the future of our state.

Ted Simons: We do, and I hope to get to those in a second. But John, Howard Dean on more than one occasion has said that Democrats aren't tough enough. The idea that the Democrats just don't have it within themselves to fight to the bitter end and do the kinds of things -- we've seen some of the debates, and they have been pretty nasty -- are Democrats just unwilling or unable to get down and dirty like that?

John Dougherty: I can't answer for the whole party, but I can tell you one thing, I am. I know how to get a job done, I know how to dig up, fight and I'm battle tested. I know what needs to be done. One of the key things we need to do is bring people together outside of special interest groups, develop solutions and fact-based solutions, and push those through the legislative process.

Cathy Eden: Ted, you just hit on the most important issue. Democrats know how to fight for -- make an argument, fight for everything they have within them. Then we know how to walk away and still be friends. What has happened in the Arizona government -- and it never was here before -- I was at the legislature and people fought like hell, but then walked away as friends. Now they know how to fight, but they call each other evil and wrong. We need to be able to make an argument, what are the issues that are important, but walk away as friends.

Randy Parraz: The primary clarifies people's positions. I asked Rodney, would he fight for immigration reform and marriage equality and fight to overturn SB 1070. He just ignored it. He was asked, does that mean going back to Mexico? El Salvador? What does back of line mean? Voters need to know where you stand on the issues. Back of the line does not mean going back to a different country. It means us figuring out a progress dealing with immigration that respects family and work and values fairness.

Ted Simons: Comment, please.

Rodney Glassman: SB 1070 is a classic reminder that for 28 years John McCain has failed in his job for Arizona. The Governor and the legislature from Arizona have said that SB 1070 was passed out of frustrations with -- the federal government has failed us. We need a United States senator to go back and champion federal immigration reform. That means hiring and training the appropriate border patrol and ICE agents, that means having a process so people can come to our country legally and pay taxes and work. That also meansI a pathway for 11 to 12 million people already here. It requires them to pay a fine and back taxes and requires them to go through a process just at the beginning like everyone else. I'm proud, Ted, that that position has become supported by over 30 Latino elected officials including Dolores who cofounded United Farm Workers because she knows I'm the candidate that can beat John McCain and go back to Washington D.C.

John Dougherty: SB 1070, for it or against it?

Rodney Glassman: I came out the day it was signed and said it was inappropriate and I believe it's also illegal. But at the end of the day we can repeal SB 1070 and get rid of the boycott. At the end of the day Arizona and the United States need federal immigration reform and we need a U.S. senator to get that done.

Ted Simons: What do you think of SB 1070 and immigration in general?

Cathy Eden: I'm pretty close to Rodney, to tell you the truth. It is born out of frustration. I think there's a high frustration level on immigration reform. It's like the whole world is just aiming for John McCain. It's because he got pretty close to immigration reform and then walked away from it. Wait a minute, it's really important that I get this point. The Arizona state Legislature, the Governor, all said we're going to deal -- do what the federal government didn't do. Can you imagine what it's going to be like to have immigration reform in Montana, Nevada, New Jersey? It's not going to work. What's going to be different on the 29th year? People's frustration is high. We need to do something about immigration reform. Very serious, that's why we do need to send a senator that will hang in there.

John Dougherty: The two people that have been elected to office don't answer the question. SB 1070 is bad. It's wrong and it's going to seriously damage the state of Arizona for a long time. It needs to be repealed now. We need immigration reform and it's got to work on sanctions levels and making sure that the border is more secure. We have to, I believe, look at the entire process of the war on drugs, it needs to be reformed.

Randy Parraz: What type of actions have people taken? Before SB 1070 I was the only candidate out there leading delegations to the governor's office asking the governor to veto this legislation. I took families and children up there. It's not about issuing papers or press releases. I saw your big van out there but I didn't see you marching the streets. I was in support of these people. We have to understand the level of difficulty. This is an historic time for Arizona and we need a leader who can demonstrate leadership and take action.

Ted Simons: Let's have a scenario: The Democratic Party and you as the United States senator, as the Democratic senator, believe in "X." But the state of Arizona pretty clearly likes "Y." Let's say it's a national version of something along the lines of SB 1070. How would you vote on that?

Randy Parraz: Most Democrats are opposed to SB 1070. Most think it's about border security and immigration reform. This law has nothing to do with that. Any time you have a law that triggers this type of outcry across the country, you have to question it. Let's be honest about this. There were times when the majority thought women should not have the right to vote. It's about right and wrong, not just about where the poll's at.

Ted Simons: And that answers my question. The question is, if you find yourself and the party on the opposite side of your constituents, how do you vote?

John Dougherty: You vote what you believe is the right thing to do, it's that simple. You always vote on what you believe is the right thing to do, period.

Ted Simons: Rodney, what do you think? Voters put you in there to do a job, and they think you're not doing the job because you're voting for X and they want Y.

Rodney Glassman: Ted, there's a great example that recently happened with John McCain, our U.S. senator. We have crumbling infrastructure for our schools. We need more resources for our educational system. The voters and citizens of Arizona put Proposition 100 with the legislature on the ballot and made it a big issue. John McCain came out when asked about that and said, I do not support giving more resources to our schools. Fortunately, nearly 70% of the electorate in Arizona voted in favor of Proposition 100 to send more resources to our schools. I think everyone at this table did that. John McCain is so out of touch, that's not even an issue he has because he doesn't come to Arizona.

John Dougherty: You gave a great example but that wasn't the question. [talking at once]

Ted Simons: That was the response.

Rodney Glassman: I said, you vote for what's right.

Ted Simons: Hold on for just a second. I want Cathy to respond to this. Again, the party and you believe strongly something should not pass, and Arizona constituents who put you into office, the entire state, say they really like this idea.

Cathy Eden: I hope you're not using the example of immigration. They want immigration reform. They are going to send somebody to Washington to say, stay there until you get immigration reform taken care of. Your question is, would I vote with the party or the state or my conscience. I'd love to use the word maverick, but it's been ruined. So the answer is that you have to keep educating the electorate. I think this is a good example of immigration reform needs to be taken care of, but at the federal level. That's the great thing about the voters. If you don't vote what they want they get you out of there.

Ted Simons: Very quickly.

Randy Parraz: Once again, this is a Democratic primary. It's about putting people on the spot. Rodney has yet to say whether he would deport anyone under his immigration ideas. What about marriage reform? Let's have some of that transparent accountability during the election, not after the election. This is our platform as a party.

Rodney Glassman: I have a track record when it comes to equality, reproductive justice, and one when it comes to advocating fairness and equality. I urge your viewers to go to

Ted Simons: You got that in there.

Randy Parraz: You support gay marriage?

Rodney Glassman: I support equality for everyone. I do not believe that couples should be discriminated against because of their gender. The 1,131 rights we all receive as a married couple are something that should not be discriminated against. I have a track record on that.

Ted Simons: No, no. [talking at once] I want to get to job creation. Job creation is huge right now in this country. It ain't happening and people are upset about it. What would you do?

John Dougherty: Arizona, job creation is going to require diversifying our economy, and the best way is to create Arizona as the leader in green energy production and consumption. McCain does not want to do anything with it. He's pronuclear. He's not going to help us move forward in this issue. We can do this immediately. We must let the Bush tax cuts expire for the wealthy, and use the money that comes from that to stimulate the economy.

Cathy Eden: Three things: Incentives to hire the unemployed in the manufacturing field. Also solar, getting jobs moving. The third one would be on housing. Do you know how there's that $8,000 for first-time home buyers? Take it to 10% for all home-buyers, and the economists tell me we can move a half million homes in this country in the first year. That would give jobs and get us back moving again.

Ted Simons: How best to create jobs?

Randy Parraz: Right now in Arizona the largest employer is Wal-Mart. Some of the wages they pay, particularly, still allow families and children to qualify for free lunches at schools. We need to have a vision of the type of jobs we want in Arizona. Areas of technology, renewable energy, health care, tourism. SB 1070 is hurting one of our competitive advantages to create jobs, tourism.

Ted Simons: Job creation, what do you got?

Rodney Glassman: The state receives $45 per person for federal projects. Arizona receives $15 because John McCain doesn't want to bring our tax dollars home. We need water reclamation facilities, those things will create jobs. We need someone that's going to be a champion for Arizona businesses, someone that wants to attract new jobs and strengthen our educational system, another key to bringing businesses to Arizona. We have a state where over 50% of our homeowners are upside down on their mortgages. We need a senator that cares about working families, and that means the senator is going to be attracting people to Arizona.

Ted Simons: We've got a minute or so left. Everyone has to be brief. Sorry but that's the way it is. I'll start with you. Afghanistan. Stay or go?

Cathy Eden: Be home by 2011. The generals have said 2011. 16 I want that war to end.

Ted Simons: Afghanistan.

Rodney Glassman: When we talk about nation building, let's bring our tax dollars home and bring all those men and women risking their lives here home to Arizona to start working on our economy. We need to do it sensibly, but soon.

Ted Simons: Stay or go? Afghanistan.

Randy Parraz: The type of surge, I want to see a surge of men and women coming home to be reunited with their families.

John Dougherty: It's not popular, but we have to secure the nuclear weapon arsenal in Pakistan. We already see serious problems with the ISI and the Taliban. As soon as we get that done we need to bring them home.

Ted Simons: Fair enough. Now each candidate will give a one-minute closing statement. We start with Randy Parraz.

Randy Parraz: Thank you. Over the next 28 days you're going to have to make a very tough decision. Who's going to be your next senator to represent the Democratic Party in Arizona? For the past 15 years I've been holding politicians and institutions accountable, bringing people together to expose abusive practices of sheriff Arpaio, this body of work demonstrates my values. I'm not a career politician, I'm a leader who gets things done. This is not the time for small ideas or limited action. It's a time for bold new vision that has Arizona first in education, health care and job creation. A vision that resonates with our 17 values in Arizona, dignity, honor and respect. It's incumbent on us as politicians to create a world with more justice for our children we bring into it. We are America, Arizona, and with your support we can chart a new course for Arizona. Thank you.

Ted Simons: Next up with a one-minute closing statement is Cathy Eden.

Cathy Eden: Thank you Ted, Channel 8, and my fellow candidates. I hope you'll consider being on my staff when I'm a United States senator. We are in trouble in this state as all we have is politicians being mean to one another. We need leadership, bipartisan dignity, mutual respect, bringing people together so we will bring rural, urban, the reservation, people of all faiths and people of all ideas. I am the one to bring us together. This is not a time for novices. Take a look at my views on Eden for Arizona, and see if you don't agree with me. I know you'll agree on two things. John McCain has to go, and it is no time for novices. John McCain has to go. With great respect, you, the voters of Arizona, I want you to send me to represent you in the United States Senate. I want to bring back the pride in the state of Arizona we so richly deserve.

Ted Simons: Thank you very much. Next up with a one-minute closing statement, John Dougherty.

John Dougherty: The question comes down to who do you trust? Who do you believe is going to represent you honestly with neither fear nor favor on any issue that comes before you? I will not play the same Washington game of accepting the lobbyist's bill to introduce to Congress, and then picking up fat paycheck at the end of the day to finance my campaign for reelection. I will operate without fear on any subject. I will be fact-based, I will pursue the truth, report back to you honestly. Together, together, we will forge the solutions we need to push this country forward. We don't need to tolerate the politics of fear, the politics of hate, or the politics of what's been the usual game. The solution is not electing former or current politicians. The solution is to bring in new blood. I ask you to rise up and vote for John Dougherty.

Ted Simons: Thank you very much. And giving the final closing statement is Rodney Glassman.

Rodney Glassman: J.D. Hayworth has demonstrated to Arizona that John McCain will do whatever it takes to keep his job. SB 1070 has highlighted the fact that for the past 28 years John McCain hasn't been doing his job for Arizona. My name's Rodney Glassman, I'm the former vice-mayor of the City of Tuscon, 1st lieutenant in the U.S. JAG corp,I hold a Ph.D. in land and research sciences and I worked with Raul Grijavla, being one of his legislative aids. I'm proud to be the candidate that is supported by educators across our state. I am proud to be the candidate supported by the labor community across our state. I'm proud to be the candidate of women's reproductive justice. Education, sustainability, and federal immigration reform, someone that's going to be working for Arizona's future. I urge you to visit and Vote Rodney Glassman, Democrat for U.S. Senate on August 24th.

Ted Simons: Thank you for joining us on this special edition of "Vote 2010" on "Horizon." Check out our "Horizon" website at That's it for now, I'm Ted Simons. Thank you so much for joining us. You have a great evening.

John Dougherty;Cathy Eden;Rodney Glassman;Randy Parraz;

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