Watch the “Best of” Arizona Horizon debates between those running for Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, Superintendent of Public Instruction and Corporation Commission.
Ted Simons: Good evening and welcome to this special vote 2014 edition of Arizona Horizon. I'm Ted Simons. Arizona Horizon has a history of presenting you the information you need to make an informed choice when you cast your ballots. Part of that tradition is hosting debates for statewide offices. Our debates are conducted in a conversational format designed to highlight a candidate's 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 clean elections debates among candidates running this year for statewide offices.
Fred DuVal: I want to talk about the ideas on the table, the first is the notion that we could capture hundreds of millions of dollars in reorganization of state Government, I was part of Governor Babbit's staff and we created DES, and it was the effort to do that, to collapse agencies. We lost child protective services in the process. Sometimes the agencies stand in the penalties so that you have accountable. I don't want to see those kind of loss of accountability again. Secondly, the notion that we're not going to fill state positions as they become open is a foolish risk, are we not going to replace DPS officers or replace children and welfare services when people retire? Are we not going to replace corrections officers? That's a dangerous idea.
Doug Ducey: The notion that we wouldn't put children first or public safety first is just a distortion of what I'm talking about. 80 separate agencies representing over a billion dollars in annual spending, and anybody that does not think that the Government can't tighten its belt a bit and, and we can't do better in some of these bloated bureaucracies, so I think that we need to review everything that we're doing and look at the core functions. That's why I talk about, about our education system, kick starting our economy and moving Arizona in the right direction. We can do a whole lot better than today, Ted.
Ted Simons: And the current Governor, a push for a temporary sales tax hike, when she thought it was necessary, and the voters said, ok. That one time. Would you push for a temporary tax hike of any kind if this education funding became a burden?
Doug Ducey: I will not raise taxes, and we will fund K-12 education. And we can do this. I'm looking at this budget, at the next fiscal year, and we have the dollars available, but I'll tell you what we have to do, we have to kick start the economy. We need to get it moving in the right direction. There is only one candidate at the table that's been endorsed by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, and the national federation of independent businesses, these are business and job creators large and small, the way to grow the economy, is to reform our tax code and simplify it, to lighten the regulation and make the burden less on the small business owner.
Ted Simons: Make sense to you?
Fred DuVal: I think that you have got to be honest with voters about the choices, and Doug is proposing we take the income tax to zero. It is 40% of the state budget, and it means cuts to K-12. Medicaid is voter protected. And so, if you want to seek a zero to, income tax, you are going to cut K-12 education.
Doug Ducey: That's not accurate, I said that I would like to improve our tax code. I think that we should have a tax code that looks like somebody wrote it on purpose, and I think that we should simplify it. Flatten it and make it more fair. My opinion is it's the, the viewers' money. They earned it. I want them to keep more of it, we can go in a better direction with our tax code, but it will take a term or two as Governor. It's going to take a growing economy, and it's going to take a more effective Government. Fred, you proposed $4 billion in additional spending. Please tell me how that works.
Fred DuVal: That's a ridiculous notion. What I'm saying is we should enforce the Supreme Court decision, which said the voters had it right and they are clear in their intention. That we pay back these schools for the cuts we took. You want to appeal it. You want to defy the order. You are looking for every opportunity now to --
Doug Ducey: You --
Fred DuVal: The question started with income tax, you opposed it. Those would have been more cuts to our schools.
Doug Ducey: I'm not for tax increases.
Fred DuVal: There would have been more cuts to the schools. Every opportunity you had to make the compliment to education, I've been on the other side.
Doug Ducey: I sat on the board for teach for America and on the state charter school board, at Arizona state University, and I have a commitment to education, and I want to spend the dollars responsibly and get them to the classroom supporting the teacher. Not just blow more money into please bureaucracies.
Barry Hess: Enough, quit it. What we have got to talk about, is redefining education in Arizona. We're last in the nation, and our nation is down there in the world, like 39th or 41st. We used to be number one. I think a lot of it has been they have gotten us away from the competitive schools. That's the whole way that innovation and imagination comes into play. And I am sure that we're going to talk about common core at some point. When you are talking about funding it, it's really not about the money. It's about restructuring it. I know that when we had lots of money going into the schools because of Jan Brewer, we thought tuitions at colleges; we saw it going up incredibly. How did that translate to the students? I think a more ubiquitous kind of education is smarter, MIT started it, and you cannot argue with them. And its distance learning where they are showing that through distance learning you can get a far better education than the brick and mortar counterparts without the spreading of disease and bad behavior, without the logistics of security and all of the other stuff that comes with these Government schools.
Ted Simons: John, the idea, I know you have got business connections here. You better have a lot of connections to make up for hundreds of millions of dollars year after year.
John Mealer: I do. I have an omnibus plan, which is a plan that I created, and I believe that it will take people with the dream of a business or growing their existing business. And put them into the five-year plan of -- where they can go public if they would like to and retire. Become CEOs pulling a million dollar a year paycheck. My plan is that solid and that good. As far as the industries, the hemp industry. We need to legalize hemp. That is not a smoke-able plant, but it is a product that will replace everything from rubber, fiberglass to create biofuels. That's huge, an industry well into the, the trillions of dollars.
Ted Simons: Terry Goddard mentioned discrimination, and mentioned that is being a problem as far as the election landscape, do you see that as an issue, as a problem?
Michele Reagan: We see, especially let's take for example on the Navajo reservation, when we come up with things on the state level or county level, and some of it is new and interesting stuff, take for example, the early voting list. You need to go and educate people, sometimes, in their own language. And when we go and visit other counties and visit other areas, sometimes they don't know about the new tools that are available and access to the different ways to vote only because it hasn't been spoken to them or educated to them in their language. So, there's barriers that, perhaps, we don't know about because people aren't out visiting these communities.
Ted Simons: You mentioned discrimination. What did you mean?
Terry Goddard: I mean very serious discrimination. Against students who have to vote a Federal ballot, treated as second class citizens in the State of Arizona. I'm talking about independents that, as we agreed, have to petition for, for a ballot every election to vote in the primary as is their right. And I'm talking also about other citizens that, that -- in the Senate Bill 1062, was an effort to discriminate against some of our fellow citizens; the gay and lesbian community. It seems to me that's absolutely wrong, and it is something that cannot be reflected in the Secretary of State's office. We have to make a clear statement that the office is totally fair, and totally -- there is no partisan or other discriminating factor, and that's not the way that it's been played for the last 20 years. It's been unfortunately, the legislature and the Secretary of State, that worked together to set up is a system that is, as I said, a mess.
Ted Simons: You voted for 10262. Why?
Michele Reagan: 1062, bad vote. I voted for -- I've been in the legislature for 12 years, Ted. And by my rough calculations, I have cast over probably 10,000 votes. So, I think it's kind of a little, probably, I would say inappropriate and, perhaps, a little unfair to go through and cherry pick, you know, in a little half an hour program, to cherry pick a couple of votes and, and, you know, and --
Ted Simons: If people think it's a discriminatory bill and a Chief elections officer, it wouldn't be fair if they voted for discriminatory bills, do you think that would not be a valid argument?
Michele Reagan: 1062 would be discriminatory against people voting how? I guess I would, I would ask you draw the nexus of 1062 discriminating people voting?
Ted Simons: I don't think it's the voting aspect is discriminating and -- I'm talking about your critics here, I'm not debating you here, I'm talking about what others are saying, including the gentleman. Why don't you go ahead and say it because I don't want to take part in the debate.
Terry Goddard: I think that we know from experience in the deep south, in the civil rights era, that, that access to a lunch counter, access to an equal seat on a bus and voting rights are all tied up in the same package. So, you can't say, somebody doesn't get a full set of equal rights in one area and then say, by the way, it's ok for voting because it is not.
Ted Simons: There are critics that say the bill is mischaracterized, and basically it is designed to protect religious freedoms and really doesn't have anything to do with the Secretary of State's office.
Terry Goddard: It has everything to do with the Secretary of State's office. If they are not -- if the Secretary of State is not making it clear to all the citizens of Arizona, that they are going to be fair, and in the execution of the voting laws, everybody vote is counted and every individual is equal, the, the message that goes out is going to have what we have today, which is a rapidly decelerating number of people participating.
Michele Reagan: Let me tell what you message is being sent. Not today but right now. The message sent is a hyper partisan message, and a message of, let's take, again, one vote, two, three votes, and you can go through 10,000 votes and find a couple. Let's blow them up and try to make people angry, and let's try to look backwards. Let's try to upset people, and that's the kind of stuff that turns people off from politics, from public policy, from Government. The exact opposite of what a Secretary of State or Secretary of State Candidate should be doing. When we're talking about the office of elections, it should be of all the statewide offices. It should be the least partisan, the least let's go and stir the pot office that there is.
Ted Simons: Attorney general is obliged to protect all of Arizona's laws, all of those laws. Are you prepared to do that even if some of those laws you disagree with, even if some of those laws you may think are unconstitutional?
Mark Brnovich: Absolutely. I think that as the attorney general, the law is what the law is. Former Attorney General Bob Corbin, Arizona's longest serving attorney general, to endorse me. He was very fond of saying, what does the law say? I consistently said this; that I will be there, not only to defend Arizona's laws regardless of what I personally think, but to defend us against the overreach of the Obama administration, and when we see what's happening, I always like to say, if you don't like the law, change the legislature. In Arizona, we have an initiative process, you can change the Governor. As the attorney general you need to enforce the law, period.
Ted Simons: Same with you? Any laws you don't agree with?
Felecia Rotellini: Even laws I don't agree with, I will enforce them.
Ted Simons: If 1062 comes around, are you going to protect that?
Felecia Rotellini: I will defend it, however, I will go on record again that it's not, not -- it is unconstitutional and that it is not in the best interest of the people of Arizona. That is an opportunity for the attorney general to show a leadership position. That's the reason why he is an ideologue. He has the backing of the center for Arizona policy, anti-women, anti-gay, anti-immigration groups that are hopeful that he'll get in there because they need someone like him who will do their bidding, and make sure that these ideological laws that are bad for the state, that Governor Brewer vetoed should not happen. We are talking about why he's wrong for the State of Arizona.
Mark Brnovich: This is really -- it's almost comical, frankly. Frankly, what I said on 1062, when I was asked about it, I said as attorney general I would defend the law, my opponent said it was unconstitutional, and now she's come around to that position. I guess that that's because she's spending a lot of money on polling, and according to her latest finance report. Ted, I think that's the problem Arizona has had with politicians. They try to attack the other person. And they try to use polls and tell people what they want to hear. I do know this, is that when President Barack Obama sued us over 1070, my opponent was silent, and she was running for attorney general in 2010. When her bosses wanted to boycott Arizona, she said nothing, and I think that what Arizonans want --
Felecia Rotellini: That's not true, that's not true.
Ted Simons: Them wanting to boycott Arizona, and what's that about?
Felecia Rotellini: I don't know because I was on record since the very beginning, that I would defend Senate Bill 1070, in the debates here on your show, I said that. And you know what, you have misrepresented me, and to say that I am an Obama ally is ridiculous. You know who is reading the polls? Mr. Brnovich, he ran against Tom Horne because he was the second most unpopular person in the state and now trying to run against Obama because he's running lower than Mr. Horne. So, this is a man who follows the polls, a man who, other than the dark money coming in, would not be here today.
Mark Brnovich: You know what, I'll tell you what, Ted, no one worked harder in the primary than I did. You have 1, 2% chance of beating someone in your own party, but I took it on because it was the right thing to do. When I was traveling all over the state putting 50,000 miles on my car that was something that we did, not somebody else. And let me say this, when I was the prosecutor, there was an old saying we had: if it walks like a duck, whacks like a duck, it must be a duck, so my opponent can sit there all she wants and say I'm miss representing her record but she first became a democrat when Jimmy Carter was President, you've been a democratic for four decades, and the campaign manager is the executive director, the democratic party, and you, yourself, have given money to people like Al Franken, and --
Felecia Rotellini: Let's go back to the conservative editorial board of the Arizona Republic that called him out for doing this very thing, for being political, for being a typical politician by trying to say that I'm an Obama ally when my, my 20-year record in the trenches is all about working across party lines, and all about doing the right thing for the people of Arizona.
Mark Brnovich: You are unwilling to criticize Obama when he sued Arizona, and you talk about bipartisanship, and you are donating money to liberal Democrats.
Ted Simons: You are against common core, why?
Diane Douglas: I'm against common core for many reasons because number one, it's not going to prepare our children the way it needs to. It's untested and unproven, and it hasn't been shown to be internationally benchmarked, and we were made a lot of promises in the beginning when it was put into place, when it was put into place, it was a sight unseen, and that will not help our children.
Ted Simons: You mentioned the rivals, what's been done in communist China, do you really believe that?
Diane Douglas: I was making the comment about data collection, and when they say common core, is one issue, it's not, it encompasses all of education and has a massive data collection system included with it.
Ted Simons: The idea that common core is a top-down Government control of our education system, do you agree?
David Garcia: The reality is that's what not what they are, the standards are what students need to know and be able to do at the end of each grade level. We have standards in Arizona for over 20 years. And every version has been better and modified from the one before. And what my, what my opponent is advocating is that we go back to, essentially, standards that are Insular, that apply only to Arizona. And as I mentioned the reality is, our students need to be ready to compete outside of Arizona and Arizona businesses need workers that will attract businesses from other states to invest in Arizona.
Ted Simons: Respond, please.
Diane Douglas: To assume we don't know how to teach our children the skills here in Arizona, and that there are some skills that are absolutely, I think, country-wide, nation-wide, universal is just a ridiculous contention. We had Arizona standards. It's a shame that my opponent doesn't know the difference between the Arizona standards that we had and the AIMS test where the breakdown was. But, that we have standards now that we cannot control. We cannot change, and we cannot make sure that they work for Arizona. That's a huge problem for Arizona education.
David Garcia: Ted, even within my, within my opponent's party her position is extreme. The folks are ready to implement the high academic standards in the way best for Arizona. States develop these standards and states can change them, and I will tell you that I am ready to be in a position; it is a national leader to make sure that the academic standards work best for Arizona.
Ted Simons: The idea of common core was snuck through in the dead of night with no public debate and the parents were knocked out of the loop as far as discussing and implementing this. This is President Barack Obama's way of trying to get into Arizona education?
David Garcia: Absolutely not. You can go back and there were public hearings by the state board of education, and even a crosswalk from the Arizona academic standards to the common core standards so the public could understand what was changing. This is a continuation of the academic standards that we have had for a long time, and at this point, if we want to get our students ready for life after high school, and our state in the best position to be competitive and strong, we must benchmark to national standards.
Diane Douglas: We did not have public hearings. I was on a school board and I believe that the first people that would have heard would have been school boards. When it was brought in the race to the top application; we were never told that it would totally dismantle education the way that we know it. And I can't help but wonder when my opponent speaks about national leadership, if he's just looking for this position to be an opportunity to jump to another level where I am committed to the parents and the students of Arizona.
David Garcia: Ted, let me be clear, I have never run for office. My opponent has run twice, and has lost twice. This is my first time. I am not running for an office but for this office because I am best qualified to move our state forward in education.
Ted Simons: Does it matter who is behind common core if Arizona educators want it and students are educated by it?
Diane Douglas: First we have absolutely nothing to prove that Arizona students are being educated by it to a higher standard than we had before. We are overwhelmingly hearing from Arizona parents that no, they don't want it for their children. They are disappointed, and they are, they are angry that it was snuck in at the dead of night without their input, and there were no public hearings. And now, it's about time that we ask the parents of Arizona what they expect for their children and not academia telling them what they must expect.
Ted Simons: Untested, snuck through, it's not good for Arizona.
David Garcia: Let's be clear again, we've had academic standards now for 20 years, every year it has been better than the one before. I am a parent, two daughters in elementary school, and I want them to be ready to move into a 21st Century economy.
Ted Simons: Utilities credited by the Corporation Commission, should those be regulated by the commission be allowed to use rate payer rates, money funds for ads promoting candidates and promoting issues?
Doug Little: Well, let's be clear about something. And this is the case with all utilities. Rate payer money does not get used for that purpose. That is not something that the companies are allowed to do. But, the companies that are providing these services, in many cases are investor-owned companies. In other words, APS is a holy owned subsidiary of pinnacle west, and they are a company. What pinnacle west decides to do with profits that they might make is up to them.
Ted Simons: It's up to them but is it a good thing for the Arizona rate payers to have them involved with candidates and issues?
Doug Little: First of all, I think what you are alluding to is some of the stuff that talks about the fact that APS, essentially, has bought the election for Tom and I, that's not the case.
Ted Simons: You know that's not the case?
Doug Little: I don't know what APS's involved has been but what I do know as a result of spending a lot of time on the campaign trail, 15 counties we campaigned in, we have the broad support of the business community, the broad support of many consumers. From my perspective, I look at it as our message has broad support across a lot of the constituencies out there. It's not just the utilites.
Sandra Kennedy: The answer to your question is absolutely not. But APS has not been -- they have not come out and said, we are not putting money into that race. They have not said that. So, you know, we talk about what APS -- it's an integrity issue, and what I would like to see as a commission, and I am wondering why the current commission hasn't done this. Why haven't they called APS in, called the CEO in and say hey, tell us what's going on. Are your rate payers going to pay for the money you put out?
Ted Simons: Should APS be compelled?
Jim Holway: Absolutely. I have written several letters saying commission you could order this tomorrow, in fact not just the commission. Individual commissions have subpoena power, we only one need commissioner to say I want to see this information. To some degree we respect the law of the land, and they can make a contribution but if they are making a contribution in attempt to buy the election of their regulators, that needs to be publicly known.
Ted Simons: Should the commission be ordered, order APS not to donate to candidates or issues?
Jim Holway: I don't know that they have that authority. That's a touchy issue. Personally I don't think that they should. In the past they hadn't. And APS, all the utilities had a policy, we will not make contributions. They changed that, clearly. We should go back to that.
Tom Forese: But the idea that it's impossible that we have broad support, is insulting. The idea that we could be bought is insulting. Ok. I'm calling you out on it. No, I'm talking.
Ted Simons: Let him finish.
Tom Forese: It's insulting. I think that we have broad support. I don't have a problem with, with asking them to show who it is. I look forward to that information more than anybody else does. I believe that it's broad support. I believe if we have a message of balance and responsibility, and that resonates with a lot of folks. Not just the business community; The rate payers.
Ted Simons: All right.
Jim Holway: What we need to call out is APS. I'm not saying anything about my opposition candidates but clearly, the money has been put in, the money helped buy the primary election. It has given enormous benfit; is ten times the money that the candidates themselves had. This shouldn't have happened.
Ted Simons: You say it's insulting but should there not be concern amongst rate payers, people regulating that utility might be getting money whether they know it or not from the utility?
Tom Forese: I'm the beneficiary of that spending and I have concerns about it.
Ted Simons: Sandra, what do you think?
Sandra Kennedy: I think my two opponents could call APS out and say, hey, what are you doing. Call them out and say stop it. But they have not done that.
Tom Forese: That's coordination; that's illegal.
Ted Simons: And that is it for now, I'm Ted Simons, and thank you very much for joining us on this special election day edition of Arizona horizon. You have a great evening.
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