Vote 2014: Congressional and Proposition Debate Highlights

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Watch highlights from debates on Arizona Horizon between those running for Congressional Districts 1, 7 and 9 and debates on the three measures on the November ballot, propositions 122, 303 and 304.

Ted Simons: Good evening, and welcome to this special "Vote 2014" edition of "Arizona Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. Tonight we take you back to our election coverage, where we heard from candidates running in three congressional districts, and also tonight a recap of debates on Arizona's three ballot measures. Our debates are conducted in a conversational format designed to highlight ideas, even as those ideas are questioned and at times challenged by opponents in a live TV setting. Here now are the best of "Arizona Horizon's" congressional and proposition debates.

Ted Simons: We've had tax cuts for years and our job rates are falling down.

Andy Tobin: Washington's got their foot on our throat is what's going on. Look what the EPA is doing to our businesses, look at the coal mines. At the end of the day it's still Washington that steps on --

Ann Kirkpatrick: I'm sorry, you're completely wrong. It's your policies that businesses are looking at. Let me just outline those. You're opposed to immigration reform.

Andy Tobin: That's never true.

Ann Kirkpatrick: You slammed through the House of Representatives a very discriminatory bill, 1062, which almost cost us the Super Bowl. And those gave Arizona a black eye. And then you refused to provide the funding for our most vulnerable children and for education and building good schools. That's what businesses look at if they are going to come to Arizona.

Andy Tobin: For someone that will say yes, we're in trouble, and we have to have a balanced way of doing things, who has never balanced a budget in Washington. I think the White House has gotten one passed. If they wanted immigration reform, they had the House, they had the Senate, they had the White House. They could have passed everything they wanted but they didn't. Our corporate tax rate is so abysmally high we are driving businesses out of our country. Why would you, Ted, come to Page, Arizona, and invest there if you're thinking they are closing down one third of that coal mine? One third. Why would you go to Winslow? Ann Kirkpatrick supports what the EPA does.

Ann Kirkpatrick: I do not, no, no, my record is clear.

Andy Tobin: Just last week --

Ann Kirkpatrick: Yes, let me talk about that last week. That was a bill…That was a bill that was composite of 11 pieces with legislation we had already passed out of the House. There were some I agreed with and some I disagreed with. One of the things I disagreed with is it completely eliminated any kind of environmental regulation. That goes too far. One of the things I did vote for was protecting coal mining jobs. This district has a coal mine. But it's about balancing the competing interests.

Ted Simons: The idea of voting for or against a bill that is full of other things, how far do you go?

Andy Tobin: You drop your own bill, here's my bill to stop the EPA. That's not what's going on.

Ann Kirkpatrick: You missed the point.

Andy Tobin: I didn't miss the point.

Ann Kirkpatrick: We had already voted on those bills.

Andy Tobin: But you never dropped a bill before this one to say stop. Where's that bill? You know, when you can go back to Washington, Mr. EPA, let's say you are going to clean up. Instead of dumping the bill on the Arizona citizen, why don't you go fund that, Ann Kirkpatrick?

Ann Kirkpatrick: That's not my words.

Andy Tobin: You don't have any action.

Ann Kirkpatrick: Of course I do. Of course I do. Let me talk about my record. I have one of the most successful records of a member of Congress. Seven bills my first term that were passed into law. This term I've had three passed into law and I'm in the minority. First was the V.A. core process signed into law. I talked about the bill we worked on together signed into law in May of this year. Most recently we did the most comprehensive reform of the Veterans Administration since 1999. Done all of that work in a bipartisan way, reaching across the aisle and coming to consensus.

Ted Simons: You have described Congresswoman Kirkpatrick's record in Congress as disastrous.

Andy Tobin: I just said that.

Ted Simons: How?

Andy Tobin: She sits on the veterans committee and sits on transportation. Can anybody have believed that the V.A. would collapse like they did under her watch? I can. My point is that fixing problems like they have already happened is like the President's strategy he never had. They are just reacting, they are not leading, they are reacting to somebody.

Ann Kirkpatrick: Mr. Tobin, you slammed through the legislature a very discriminatory bill 1062 that almost cost us the Super Bowl. Thank heavens the Governor vetoed it.

Andy Tobin: Ann Kirkpatrick, you didn't say a word about that bill a year before, when she agreed with it because the budget hadn't passed.

Jose Penalosa: Mr. Gallego has been around for four years supporting President Obama since he's been in the Arizona Legislature. During that time period he hasn't said anything about the two million deportations that President Obama has accomplished.

Ted Simons: Let's hear him say something now.

Ruben Gallego: You know that's false. I've been on radio shows where I've said that's bad policy. I've asked for a stop of the deportations, both in the Huffington Post and other places.

Jose Penalosa: Did you not do that before? I'm helping people in the jails and I'm helping --

Ruben Gallego: While I was actually in the statehouse, we were outside

Ted Simons: We can't have you talking over.

Ruben Gallego: You and I were outside. ICE together --

Jose Penalosa: You only showed for the photo op.

Ruben Gallego: I was there, demanding that the deportation be stopped. I did it before there was a congressional race and I'm going to continue doing it. Fact is, I've asked for the President to stop these deportations and give immediate relief for these families and I'll continue doing that.

Ted Simons: Please, please.

Joe Cobb: It's not a crime to come into the United States in an airport with a tourist or a student visa, and to stay longer than the term of that visa. It's not even a misdemeanor. Only the people that actually walks across the border and don't enter at a legal border station, only those people committed a small infraction, and they are only subject to deportation. It's not a crime.

Ted Simons: Again, critics will say any kind of path to citizenship equals amnesty.

Joe Cobb: The whole concept was invented back in 2004. Let's call them illegals, don't call them undocumented, which is not true, call them illegals. We shouldn't use it.

Ted Simons: The idea that any kind of path to citizenship equals amnesty to those who are here unauthorized.

Jose Penalosa: It equals opportunity for business to be successful, for children to be successful and have security here. Opportunity for business. For the individual it entails this, coming forth and taking biometrics, applying, passing civics tests and paying back taxes if that is necessary.

Ted Simons: I have to stop you. You initially said Republicans would control the House and that should have been their opportunity to put amendments --

Jose Penalosa: That is correct.

Ted Simons: You realize most of the people you would be dealing with consider any path to citizenship equaling amnesty.

Jose Penalosa: If you don't have that discussion, in my proceedings I'm used to going to court and talking to a judge. You will listen to me and Mr. Gallego, you have due process. Where you don't do that in the House, and have a vote that reflects the interests of this country, some folks don't want to allow that process to take place while the bill is held up.

Ted Simons: What is the best way to reform immigration?

Kyrsten Sinema: Well, I don't think it's actually rocket science, Ted. We know the answer to the immigration reform crisis. Unfortunately, we haven't seen courage from Congress to enact the reform. There are three basic elements that have to happen for any immigration reform to be lasting and effective. First, we have to have a secure border. We have to know who's coming in and out of the country. The government should be able to choose who gets to come in and who doesn't. Number two, we've got reform our visa system to have it more market based. Right now it's a system where the demand and the supply don't match up. We're facing some of the struggles with facing economically because of that. We need a reform system so enough of the workers can come 10 do the work that can't be done by native born Americans but no more. Somewhere between 10 and 12 million are here, some who came with legal status and overstayed and some who never had legal status. It's for the security of our own country.

Ted Simons: Republicans in the House say what you're talking about is amnesty, no deal.

Kyrsten Sinema: It's not amnesty at all and I will tell you why. You want to have a tough but achievable path to citizenship for people. For instance Dreamers, the young people who came to this country as children through no choice of their own, have finished high school, some are in college. Many want to serve in the military, they are Americans in all but on paper. Let's give them a path to achieve citizenship. Pay back taxes, learn English, pay a fine, and get in line. I think the Senate Bill, while not perfect, turned out a path that is achievable.

Ted Simons: What needs to be done?

Powell Gammill: Immigration was a state prerogative up until about 100 years ago when the federal government took it over. That's why you see it so badly done now. It should be returned to the states to decide who can come into and out of their own government, their own Borders. And it should be up to them to decide what the situations are. Most states either were open, completely open-bordered, or they chose that you had to have a sponsor. You would take responsibility to ensure they had a job, a roof, they weren't going to be vagrants or drags on the private welfare systems that existed at the time. So it would basically take away all immigration from the federal government, that eliminates all the problems right now with the trespassing, the garbage dumps, the dying immigrants in the desert, trespassing on private property. They would be coming through the public roads. Those people are really salt of the earth types. They are coming here to work, you know? And we're basically making it -- we're basically putting their lives at risk when all they want to do is come and work for us.

Ted Simons: If you were representing this district and the Senate Bill, and the immigration bill were presented to you, lands on your desk, how would you vote?

Powell Gammill: I would vote no.

Ted Simons: Why?

Powell Gammill: Because I know whatever's in there won't be anything like an open border position that I take.

Ted Simons: How would you vote if you ever get a chance to vote on it?

Kyrsten Sinema: We have a bill in the House, RH15, very similar to the Senate Bill. We removed the security provisions and put in a bipartisan security proposition sponsored by Senator McCall from Texas a Republican. His security bill passed unanimously through committee, showing both Republicans and Democrats support it. I think it's a smarter answer to the security question. It puts more 59 our ports of entry, customs and border patrol, more money into electronic surveillance. We have a lot of boots on the ground. They always could use more.

Jonathan Paton: It gives the citizens or the legislature and the governor the ability to opt out of spending money or using state resources on certain federal measures that they vote they don't like.

Ted Simons: Why is this necessary?

Jonathan Paton: When you look at most federal laws that are passed, most of them need the states or the county's or the cities' involvement in order to actually enforce them. Some of those things are bad for the State of Arizona. We've had a lot of debates over Obamacare for example in our own state. This gives the citizens a way of saying, this is certainly federal law, it trumps state law but we don't have to spend or resources on it.

Ted Simons: What it does and why you think it's not necessary.

Sandy Bahr: First of all, it is another really bad idea referred by the Arizona Legislature. And they have a history of referring measures to the ballot and passing measures that are unconstitutional. This is another one of those. The state legislature does not have the authority to decide what is and what is not constitutional. And that's really the crux of the problem with this. They already have the authority to decide what is funded and what is not funded. But they can't decide that the endangered species act, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, religious freedom act, any of those important federal laws that are broadly supported by the American people and the people of Arizona, the legislature doesn't get to decide, no, those are unconstitutional and by the way, we are not going to cooperate. It's not just about spending money, it's about cooperating and implementing those important laws.

Ted Simons: Its a nice idea, but the legislature can't do this.

Jonathan Paton: First of all, sandy is fundamentally wrong about it's a legislature that decides whether something is constitutional or not. The Supreme Court decides whether something is constitutional or not. The language is we cannot do something that's unconstitutional. But it certainly doesn't put that as a restriction on us that it has to be constitutional or unconstitutional for us to actually implement prop 122. If it isn't right for Arizona, we don't have to spend the money on it. It's not even a debate about whether something's constitutional.

Sandy Bahr: I disagree with that obviously. That's not what it says. It does give the legislature this authority. Although I would agree that is contrary to the U.S. Constitution and the separation of powers, that is in the U.S. Constitution, the thing about this is that I think a lot of people don't understand, the legislature tries to restrict programs from being implemented all the time. A good example is Pima County. They have the sewn nor ran desert conservation plan to implement the Endangered Species Act provisions. Pima County voters have voted to fund that program and implement it. The legislature under this could say no, we think it's unconstitutional and we say no state funding, no resources, no cooperation relative to the endangered species act. Pima County couldn't implement it.

Jonathan Paton: My response is the legislature on its own cannot do that, and Sandy knows that. It would have to be the legislature and the governor together or the people. So there is a political process. And by the way, if the legislature want to us do what Sandy's talking about, they could do that tomorrow if they were in session. They don't need prop 122 to do what she's describing.

Ted Simons: What exactly does prop 303 call for, and why do you think it's necessary?

Paulina Morris: Well, Ted, I think it's necessary because terminally ill patients in Arizona need access to drugs that haven't made it through the FDA process. They should have a right to try.

Ted Simons: Do they not already have that right? Is that procedure not already in place on the federal level?

Paulina Morris: They do have procedure bus they are not available to many people. A very few are able to access those drugs when they need them. These things happen overnight like it did to my son.

Ted Simons: And I want to get to your son in a second that, story. Prop 303, why is it not necessary?

Joan Koerber-Walker: To start off with, as we look across the existing process, the FDA process, the extended access process is in place, does work and very rarely do they turn someone down. And that process is designed to both protect patients and to ensure that the ongoing clinical trials continue in a way that makes it clear that those drug consist get to patients if they are safe and effective, as quickly as possible. Every time we do a one-off we potentially slow down the process for many patients.

Ted Simons: The idea as we've heard that, maybe not every Arizonan has access to the federal approval system, and doesn't seem to be like these folks have that option. Is that a valid argument?

Joan Koerber-Walker: Unfortunately, that's not the case. If you look at the process today, a physician -- and always the physician -- the physician is the key with patients -- the figures is working with the patient. The physician identifies an opportunity. The physician goes to the drug company and makes the request for access to the drug or the medical device that might help the patient. At that point today, the physician and the drug company go to the FDA and request an EAP. So that process already exists.

Paulina Morris: Yes, and it'll be even better with prop 303.

Ted Simons: How?

Paulina Morris: It allow patients along with their physician and the drug manufacturer to decide whether that's the right drug for that child or that adult, whomever it is, with an informed decision, to be able to save their life.

Ted Simons: For the critics who would say that it's dangerous to treat can drugs or treatment without enough study getting past the first phase only, there's a reason it takes time to get through FDA approval.

Paulina Morris: Too long, too many years, hundreds of millions of dollars. Those drugs are not available when we need them. Our son was 11 years old when he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. We had to make quick decisions. My husband and I did the research, did the homework, traveled to Mexico City, talked to physicians in Israel and England and Germany and Italy about this drug that was not available for our son in the United States. Something that could potentially save his life.

Ted Simons: For parents like this, what's the harm? If traditional chemotherapy or traditional treatments just aren't working, they have been tried, they haven't worked, what's wrong with trying something that may not have full FDA approval?

Joan Koerber-Walker: The challenge we're looking at is that, in Paulina's case, it was a great outcome, I'm so happy for you.

Paulina Morris: Thank you.

Joan Koerber-Walker: You had the financial wherewithal and the resources.

Paulina Morris: And I'm here for those children who don't have the financial resources. Who need those drugs now in Arizona. I'm not here for politics or polls; I'm not getting paid to be here. I'm here for those children who don't have options, who can't travel. I can't help it, I get emotional about this.

Joan Koerber-Walker: I get emotional about it. When we look at those children, this piece of policy -- and my objection is not to helping patients get the best care.

Paulina Morris: But it is.

Joan Koerber-Walker: No.

Paulina Morris: People need those drugs right away, they can't wait 10 years.

Joan Koerber-Walker: I agree we need to be able to speed up the process. But this law does not provide for who pays for these drugs, who pays for the medical care. So your family had the resources to be able to do what you did.

Paulina Morris: We made those decisions.

Joan Koerber-Walker: And that's great, some people don't have the option to make those decisions.

Paulina Morris: But they should have the right to try, they should have some hope.

Joan Koerber-Walker: They also have the ability to know that those drugs are safe and effective.

Paulina Morris: And they can.

Joan Koerber-Walker: Because what we are looking at is that we are creating an alternate pathway that is a dead end. Because the drug companies, the hospitals --

Paulina Morris: How can you say dead end? We went to another country for a drug for our son. You're telling me it was dead end?

Joan Koerber-Walker: I'm saying this piece of public policy is creating a pathway where the people that you're being asked to go tor still governed by and responsible under federal law. And by preempting federal law you put them in a position where they are not able to help the patient like they would like to.

Paulina Morris: Patients can make informed decisions with the drug manufacturer.

Ted Simons: That is basically it? It's exactly what it calls for, $11,000 a year?

Joe Kanefield: That's it, Ted. Simple questions, voters are going to be asked to answer, whether they wish to raise the salaries that we pay our state legislators from $24,000 a year to $30,000 a year.

Ted Simons: Are per diem amounts changed at all?

Brian Kaufman: They are not going to change at all.

Ted Simons: Let's get into this thing. Why do lawmakers need an $11,000 a year raise?

Joe Kanefield: First let's talk about how hard our legislature works. This is not old days when they met every other session for 100 days or less and went back to their jobs. They are in session for several months. It's basically a full-time job. When they are not in session they are with constituents, at events in the community. They need to carry on full-time employment outside of the legislature. Not that we should pay them an exorbitant salary, it's a reasonable amount of money to compensate them for expenses that occur while they are serving constituents.
Ted Simons: Why not give lawmakers a raise?

Brian Kaufman: It's whether they are going get any value in return for the expense. If you multiply out the legislators plus the pensions, you get about $1.2 million. I think it's a lot better spent on access, public safety what, have you.

Ted Simons: No raise since 1998 for state lawmakers. Is that a good thing?

Brian Kaufman: I'm not here to say whether that's a good thing or a bad thing. People have consistently voted it down so I don't think we've given them the opportunity to vote it for.

Ted Simons: The idea that this is not necessarily all that popular with the populace that is taken into consideration?

Joe Kanefield: Well, I'm glad you brought that up because I think it's important to point out that this is -- I don't think raise is the appropriate term to describe what is being asked for. What the voters are being asked to vote on. The last time salary was increased was $24,000 a year. We're at less than $35,000 a year, we've been decreasing their salary. I think the more appropriate term is a restoration, I suppose, of what we should be paying them or what the voters agreed to pay them in 1998.

Ted Simons: But is this the best time, considering the economy and what critics say or folks that haven't had a raise in a long time, maybe even longer, is it the best time to be asking for this?

Joe Kanefield: Absolutely. The average single wage earner in Arizona makes $41,000. We're not paying them even at that rate. The last time this question was on the ballot was four years ago, at the time the economy was doing very badly and it was understandable the voters wouldn't vote for that. We have weathered the storm and full recovery is on the horizon. This is absolutely the time to consider giving our legislators a raise.

Ted Simons: If you don't adjust for inflation since 1998, you're basically giving a pay cut every year.

Brian Kaufman: Well, you know, it's been up to the voters and they vote no consistently. If they wanted to build in an inflationary adjustment they could have done that in the statute.

Ted Simons: The idea that you get what you pay for, some folks are saying, you're not paying very much here. You are saying you don't think it's quite worth it. Might it be worth it if you start paying more?

Brian Kaufman: I don't really buy that argument. I think most of the problem people have with legislators that is they are policy positions. I don't see any particular person f we raise salaries, they are going start agreeing more with the legislators. I don't think you're going get suddenly more ethical people or what have you. We have fine legislators right now other than people disagreeing with their policy.

Ted Simons: And that is it for now. I'm Ted Simons. Thank you so much for joining us on this special "Vote 2014" decision to of "Arizona Horizon."

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