Terry Goddard

More from this show

Terry Goddard talks about his career as attorney general and his concerns about the future of Arizona.

Jose Cardenas: He's played a significant role in public policy and politics in Arizona, Terry Goddard couldn't overcome the boost that Arizona's immigration law, SB 1070, gave Jan Brewer in the governor's race. He left the attorney general's office after eight years in that position. Goddard previously served as mayor of Phoenix from 1984-1990. With me to talk about his career as attorney general, Arizona's future and more, is Terry Goddard. Terry, it's good to have you on the show. You know, that introductory piece mentions SB 1070. But do you -

Terry Goddard: as it must in terms of this past election.

Jose Cardenas: Yes. But was there more to it than that? There was -- there did seem to be this anti-democrat, anti-Obama fervour sweeping the nation. Do you think that had an impact?
Terry Goddard: I that I was about half of what we had to overcome if we were going to win, and 1070 was the other half, just very rough, unscientific analysis. But here was a bad bill, it was incredibly popular. And we had lots of reasons, I can describe as to why it was a bad bill, but I think people sort of an intuitive or gut sense that this was -- that -- it addressed their fears, their economic fears, their other fears, and it seemed like it was fighting back against the right people, against the federal government and the Obama administration. And that was just incredibly popular and allowed Jan Brewer to go into hiding. One of the frustrations about the election was I felt like I was on a wild goose chase trying to find the governor, the acting governor to actually debate some of the issues that are now coming to fruition. The terrible budget crisis that Arizona is facing, the lack of jobs, and the destruction of our economy. Things that really needed to be talked about.

Jose Cardenas: But wasn't she doing what any incumbent would do, and that is minimizing the number of debates --

Terry Goddard: Minimizing? She eliminated them. We had one debate, and that's because it was legally required that. That was a disaster for her, and the 16 seconds that was heard around the world, 16 seconds of silence. I guess it meant she would never again appear on a stage with me.

Jose Cardenas: And it didn't seem to have much impact on the polls it.

Terry Goddard: Actually it probably picked up some points. Because people felt sorry for her. But the sad thing about the election is now we're seeing the other half of the untold story. The repercussions of a state that's been allowed to have its budget go so seriously out of whack for so long in order to manage to get past November the 2nd. That's had so many economic setbacks, and now a reputation not only around the country, but around the world, of a place that folks don't want to invest in, that they want to stay away from, whether it's their conventions or with their investment dollars. That's going to take Arizona a long time to overcome that negative image.

Jose Cardenas: Now, if you had won, would you have been sitting in her position right now inheriting all of these difficulties. What would you be doing different?

Terry Goddard: Uh- I would I do a lot of things different. One thing, I wouldn't have waited. She had two years before that to try to put an economic development plan in place. And now January of 2011, we're finally seeing it. Two years into her time as governor. This is a crisis we're facing. And it should have been dealt with right at day one. The budget, obviously your last segment talked about what a disaster it is. Now they're trying to balance the budget on college students with $170 million of cuts to universities. And on the backs of people receiving AHCCCS benefits. Almost 300,000 people being thrown off AHCCCS if this waiver goes forward, and 46,000 private sector jobs will be lost in the state of Arizona. I would not have done that. I would not have applied for the waiver. I also would have immediately gone to work, rolled up my sleeves and tried to get tax reform in our state. Our tax code is a disaster. Jan Brewer's admitted that, but she's not doing a thing in this budget to deal with it. And would I have gone to Mexico the day after the election or shortly afterward, a week after perhaps, to try to restore the legitimate trade relations between Arizona and Mexico, which are in shambles right now. And we risk permanent loss of a -- our most portraying partner. And I think that's -- that ought to have sort of front and center attention from the state.

Jose Cardenas: You would be dealing, though, with a Republican majority that's bigger than it has been in any time in recent years. Do you there would have been any chance for Goddard proposal on tax reform?

Terry Goddard: I'm optimistic enough to think there would have been. Crisis breeds not only strange bedfellows, I just read an opinion piece by the goldwater institute and agreed with all of it. We're coming together, the left and the right. There also is the opportunity of a really serious crisis. It's something that you cannot ignore. And here's a chance for tax reform, for prison and legal reform, for other -- for education reform. And in order to save money, and to come out with a good result, with a benefit that in the long run will serve our state well. None of that discussion is happening right now in the state of Arizona. And that's tragic, because we're just trying once again to paper over the problem, trying to get a Medicaid waiver, when that's rejected, and it will be rejected, anybody is going to understand that this administration can't provide a waiver to Arizona, because it means everybody else would get the same waiver. And that would be catastrophically expensive for the federal government. So what's the second line? Probably K-12 education or the state shared revenues with cities and towns. When the waiver is turned down, then the other hammer is going to fall.

Jose Cardenas: What about specifically, is the provider tax the remedy?

Terry Goddard: Provider tax provides $250 million, so, sure, it's a remedy that should never be ignored as it appears to be right now. But it doesn't solve the problem. Tax reform, we need to look at who's not paying, and there are lots of entities in the state right now that are not paying. They have had their lobbyist go down to the legislature, they've carved their chunk out so they're exempted from paying the cost of running our state. And obviously in a bad economic time, we can't afford that. Internet providers, for example, internet sales is a huge chunk. Nobody is talking about it right now, but other states have taken action that have been -- and have been able to take -- to protect their own retailers, which I think is very important, and also to be able to get significant revenues off of purchases that are made on the internet that by law in Arizona should be taxed, but are not.

Jose Cardenas: You made reference to relation with Mexico. That was something you were also very involved in as attorney general. Your successor Tom Horne is that a priority for him?

Terry Goddard: I don't see it. He's mostly interested in prosecuting and investigating and prosecutors the Tuscon unified school district for ethic nix studies. That seems to be an abiding passion for Mr. Horne. Just yesterday he announced he was dismissing a case against the major arms dealer in Arizona who's been selling guns to straw buyers that then are transported to the cartel in Mexico. We took action against that dealer, Excalibur Arms, I'm proud of having done that because I thought that it at least set a standard that you can't sell to somebody who you know is going to be transporting that arm to criminals in another country. The dismissal of the last part of that action by Mr. Horne's office I think is very unfortunate message to law enforcement in Mexico, because it basically says that somebody who we know has sent approximately 1,000 military style weapons, guns to Mexico is going to go back into business. And I think that's a very, very bad message.

Jose Cardenas: Any other initiatives that you had when you were attorney general that you're concerned about in the new administration?

Terry Goddard: Well, yeah. There certainly are in civil rights and in other areas where we're very aggressive and made I think some tremendous, historic steps forward. He initially said he was going to do away with the civil rights division I think he found out there are state laws that make that impossible. But there's still I think a lack of commitment in that area, which is disturbing. And consumer protection, we've taken action very vigilantly when I was A.J. against the mortgage lenders who were I believe defrauding many, many borrowers in Arizona, misrepresenting to them first the nature of the loan they were getting, and that -- and second, when modification was a possibility, they strung them along through this infinite process nonanswers and delays, and very often kept people chasing a modification that they were not going to get for a year or more. I think that's fraud, that's what I said in a lawsuit against the Bank of America. Fraud against literally thousands of Arizona homeowners. I don't know where that stands, and Mr. Horne, he has not committed one way or the other whether he's going to continue that lawsuit. I think he should, because Arizona is second only to Nevada in the number of people that are facing foreclosure per capita, and the certainly the incidents of the hundreds and hundreds of complaints and just terrible gripping stories that I received in the attorney general's office command and demand action.

Jose Cardenas: We're almost out of time. What about Terry Goddard? His future?

Terry Goddard: I've had a great time since leaving the office of attorney general. I've had a little time to start doing the 10 years of deferred projects around the house, I've been able to take my 11-year-old son skiing, which was a joy. I hadn't done that before in his lifetime. And I hope to do it many times in the future. So I'm having a great chance to catch up on sleep, and I think -- think about some other kind of activity that I --

Jose Cardenas: here in Arizona.

Terry Goddard: I hope in Arizona. I care about this state deeply, I'd love to stay in Arizona. But if I can find something that takes me elsewhere, I'm not beyond that challenge.

Jose Cardenas: Do you see another run for political office in your future?

Terry Goddard: I have no idea. It's something where I don't want to say never, but Frankly, if the voters had told me a couple times I better try other work, I think I better hear that message and look for other works, and that's what I'm doing.

Jose Cardenas: Terry we only have about 30 seconds left, your thoughts briefly on the events in Tucson --

Terry Goddard: heart sick about the attack, not just on my friend Gabrielle Giffords, but on our Democratic processes. Anybody who disrupts Congress on the corner with a most grass-roots of grass-roots activities, the one that is done in mutual trust by the citizens and by the elected official, to come together and to hopefully resolve problems person-to-person. That's the noblest tradition of American democracy, and it could be at risk because of this crazy man's actions. And I just hope we pull together.

Jose Cardenas: We're going to have to wrap it up.

Terry Goddard: Don't stop that kind of democracy.

Jose Cardenas: Thanks for joining us on "Horizonte."

Terry Goddard:Former Attorney General;

Illustration of columns of a capitol building with text reading: Arizona PBS AZ Votes 2024

Arizona PBS presents candidate debates

Graphic for the AZPBS kids LEARN! Writing Contest with a child sitting in a chair writing on a table and text reading: The Ultimate Field Trip
May 26

Submit your entry for the 2024 Writing Contest

Rachel Khong
May 29

Join us for PBS Books Readers Club!

Super Why characters

Join a Super Why Reading Camp to play, learn and grow

Subscribe to Arizona PBS Newsletters

STAY in touch
with azpbs.org!

Subscribe to Arizona PBS Newsletters: