Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Don's Delusions

Recently, Robert Robb, columnist for the Arizona Republic wrote a piece about the entrance of Don Stapley in the race for Congressional District 5. As Robb points out, Stapley's decision to run for Congress is the epitome of "self delusion," and will likely be the final professional downfall of a man who can't help but to be corrupted by the political system.

Read Robert Robb's column to refresh your memories about who the real Don Stapley was - and still is!

Reposted from

Robb: Don Stapley the Innocent runs for Congress

I was shocked that former County Supervisor Don Stapley announced for the open Congressional District 5 seat. It’s a testimony to the capacity for self-delusion by the political animal.
Stapley claims that he was exonerated in the soap opera that engulfed county government during his tenure.
Now, it is true that Stapley was badly abused by Sheriff Joe Arpaio and former County Attorney Andrew Thomas in their maniacal pursuit of an imagined grand conspiracy between the board of supervisors, senior county staff and certain judges. And Stapley has been compensated by county taxpayers for that abuse.
But he hardly came out of the ordeal smelling like a rose.
During the ruction, it became public that Stapley set up a fund ostensibly to run for office in the National Association of Counties. Contributors to it were people who do business with the county.
However, Stapley instead spent a majority of the funds on personal stuff for him and his family. In other words, he leveraged his elected office for personal enrichment.
Stapley wasn’t charged with a crime. But he was pretty much documented to have been a skunk.
A sensible person would have taken the settlement money for the Arpaio-Thomas abuse and retreated from public life. Instead, Stapley says he’s just the man to represent the East Valley in Congress.
Given the low-esteem in which Congress is held these days, perhaps he’s right.

Andy Biggs: A Proven, Trustworthy Leader for CD 5

The Arizona Senate is moving closer to completion of the latest budget, which means that President Andy Biggs will soon be unleashed full time to campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives.

Andy Biggs will be missed in the Arizona Legislature, where he has served faithfully and honorably for over a decade. Those who know him best will remember him as a person of utmost principle, yet someone who always held his door open for a conversation - even with those who most vehemently disagreed with him.

Andy's temperament and legacy is what has endeared him to his LD 12 constituents, and what ultimately factored in to Congressman Matt Salmon's decision to endorse him for the District 5 race. In a world where so many candidates trip over themselves for the rights of assumed powers and to be counted in the body of 1/435, Andy Biggs wasn't looking to go to Congress. He wasn't looking for an upgraded political position. He wasn't looking for fame or power.

Rather, Andy Biggs was looking to do a good job for his constituents.

Andy Biggs was looking to stand for what he believed in - no matter what the cost.

Andy Biggs was looking out for the interests of the colleagues he served with at the Arizona Legislature.

Andy Biggs was doing a good job with all of the little things he was entrusted with at the Arizona Legislature.

For over a decade, Andy Biggs has a proven record of standing for the free market, jobs, life, religious freedom, smaller government, veterans, strong border security, adherence to laws, and empowerment of the members of Arizona's public safety departments.

Most importantly, though, Andy has also proven that the system has not changed him, but that he has changed the system. That trait is becoming increasingly rare in our elected officials these days - especially those in DC. Relatively good, upstanding men and women with the best intentions of serving "the people" become corrupted in some way once they get off the plane and head to the U.S. Capitol. And still those who had no intentions of serving the people, but only themselves, exploit the angst and the frustrations that people have with Washington, DC, and give Congress its current reputation.

However, District 5 voters know that Andy Biggs is a rare breed. Voters know that Andy is a man who will not change by an upgraded political office and who will bring sorely-needed change to a system that is out-of-control. District 5 voters know that Andy Biggs is a man of his word and a man of integrity - and man who will work hard every day to earn trust and satisfaction of his constituents.

Andy Biggs is a man with a record that people know, and a conscience that people trust. Congressional District 5 voters deserve a man like Andy Biggs to continue the sterling legacy that Matt Salmon is leaving behind. They know that like Matt, Andy Biggs will not make them regret their votes for him at all.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Andy Biggs Leads Fundraising for CD 5

Last week, Andy Biggs posted his Q1 fundraising report, which showed that he had outraised all other declared CD-5 challengers. Biggs' report showed that he had raised $100,325 in the short time that he had been a candidate for Congress and that he had loaned himself another $100,000.

One of Andy Biggs' other opponents Justin Olson reported raising $14,785 and loaning himself $70,000.

The other two declared Republican challengers in CD-5, Bryan Martyn and Don Stapley, filed to run after the quarterly deadline, and thus did not have to file reports. These two individuals will be under enormous pressure to show fundraising strength when the next quarterly report is due.

Christine Jones, an expected challenger in the race, will dump a boatload of money into her campaign should she, in fact, announce.

Immediately after news broke about Biggs' fundraising haul, his opponents attempted to discredit his impressive number by pointing to his $100,000 loan. That figure most certainly will be dwarfed by at least two of the candidates expected to be in the race at the next filing deadline. The difference between Biggs and other candidates is that Biggs commands a substantial share of the grassroots support - vitally imperative to winning the primary.

Andy Biggs is expected to continue with his fundraising prowess - especially once the Arizona Legislature winds down, due to his self-imposed restrictions on fundraising from Capitol lobbyists. Other candidates may attempt to buy this seat, but between the healthy fundraising and hearty support from the grassroots, Andy Biggs has the pole position in the race heading into the summer months.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

VIDEO: 4/20 is no joke

Watch the latest from Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy:
Sally’s son, Andy, committed suicide after becoming addicted to marijuana. In his suicide note, he said “marijuana killed my soul and ruined my brain.”
4/20 is no joke. And neither is recreational marijuana.
Arizonans For Responsible Drug Policy actively opposes any initiative to legalize recreational and commercial marijuana in Arizona.
Visit for more info on what you can do to stop another story like Andy’s from happening in AZ.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Gowan leads Q1 Fundraising in CD 1; Carlyle Begay falters

For all of the narrative that members of the media and his opponents seek to destroy his candidacy with, Arizona House Speaker David Gowan led all Republican challengers in fundraising for the first quarter of 2016. Gowan’s fundraising number for Q1 was extremely impressive because of the fact that he has not been able to fundraise from Capitol lobbyists during the (still-ongoing) Arizona legislative session.
Here were the amounts raised in the first quarter from the major Republican candidates in CD 1:
  1. David Gowan                 $169,390.27
  2. Paul Babeu                     $157,734.35
  3. Wendy Rogers               $144,209.00
  4. Ken Bennett                   $ 80,027.00
  5. Gary Kiehne                   $48,980.47
  6. Carlyle Begay                 $39,906.00
Here are some notes about the first quarter of fundraising in CD 1:
  • A significant amount of Wendy Rogers’ Q1 funds came from out-of-state donors.
  • Paul Babeu’s burn rate is mind blowing, and his out-of-state funds are disproportionate to a candidate who claims to want to represent Arizona and CD 1. Though his scandals have not greatly hurt his fundraising so far, many donors are still waiting to see how long he can survive in the race before another significant story from his checkered past breaks against him.
  • For all the talk about how Carlyle Begay was going to raise upwards of $100,000 for the quarter, his haul was severely underwhelming and raised serious questions about his viability in a Republican primary. Most people have already noted that without the Arizona Republican Party’s exaggerated and drawn-out celebration of his party switch (masterminded by the then-Executive Director of the AZGOP, Chad Heywood-now Begay’s consultant), Begay would have no foothold in this primary. Simply put, Carlyle Begay is merely a product of a conflict of interest by the immediate-past ED of the AZGOP (as previously reported by the Yellow Sheet), and his fundraising numbers are reflecting this dark reality.
  • Ken Bennett raised a respectable amount of money, but not enough to break through into the presumed top-tier of contenders.
  • Gary Kiehne has the potential of challenging for the frontrunner’s position because of the shier amount of dollars that he has already lent himself. If he can run a disciplined campaign to the end of the primary, he has a shot a the Republican nomination.

Sierra Vista Herald: Yes on Prop 123!

No tax increaseSierra Vista Herald

The bottom line? Prop. 123 will not cost taxpayers a dime while it pumps $3.5 billion into education over the next 10 years.

The money is coming from the State Land Trust — property deeded to Arizona by the federal government with the stipulation that when the state sells it, the money is used for education.

Gov. Ducey is proposing to do just that with his support of this legislation to change the State Constitution and accelerate the amount of money that can be allocated from the trust over the next decade. It is the closest thing to a guarantee for public education that it will receive at least 71 percent of the money Arizona schools were entitled to, before the State Legislature chose to ignore Proposition 300.

That “assurance” points to the most infuriating aspect of the debate on whether to check “yes,” or “no” on your ballot for the May 17 statewide referendum.

If state lawmakers had followed the provisions of Prop. 300, which Arizona voters approved in the 2000 election, the upcoming ballot would not be necessary. Instead, legislators in 2008 took money specifically allocated for education and spent it from the general fund to avoid increasing taxes during a national economic recession.

Public schools filed a lawsuit which after eight years since the funds were lost, advanced as far as the State Supreme Court, with the judicial branch in strong agreement that Arizona lawmakers owed as much as $1.3 billion to the education fund.

During that eight year span, public education in Arizona has spiraled to the bottom of national benchmarks. Compensation for teachers is among the lowest in the country, the ratio of teachers to student is among the highest, and today the Legislature allocates less revenue per student, than any other state in our Union. Arizona ranks 50th.

The consequence to education of the Legislature’s financial policies — in just eight years — has been catastrophic. Good teachers have left the profession in droves, student achievement scores are well below national standards and Arizona public schools cannot afford to invest in textbooks or the technology to keep up with the rest of the nation.

Imagine what the next eight years would be like if opponents of Prop. 123 get their way at the ballot box on May 17. If the referendum fails, public schools will go back to court to try and recover the money they are rightly owed, but there is little that will compel the current Legislature to be earnest in finding a solution to its $1.3 billion obligation. As Gov. Ducey said when he proposed this plan, it’s past time that Arizona taxpayers continued paying lawyers to negotiate a settlement between two government entities.

The solution for those who oppose Prop. 123 isn’t found by defeating the only assured source of revenue for public education over the next decade.

To change the behavior of the Legislature, it is incumbent on those who support education to change the membership. Electing representatives who are in tune with what public schools need to survive and prosper is the best way to prevent future State Senators and State Representatives from breaking the law and overruling a voter-approved proposition.

We strongly endorse a “Yes” vote on Proposition 123 on the May 17 ballot.

Rep JD Mesnard on Arizona Flex Loans

(Reposted from

My Turn: Providing an alternative to Arizonans on payday loans

Last month, the Arizona House of Representatives passed a consumer finance bill that contained little-noticed provisions inserted by my colleagues that abolish the toxic lingering effects of payday loans once and for all in Arizona.

It was a wise move, as Arizona is the only state where certain loopholes are used due to the lack of other legal lending options available in the state, such as installment loans.
The consumer finance legislation in question, which carries these critical provisions, is the Arizona Flexible Credit Act.

This act will establish a realistic pathway to serve those lacking access to viable, legal and safe credit options for the first time in Arizona, and will further help consumers rebuild their credit scores and profiles.
It permits loans from $500 to $2,500, which must be paid in equal monthly payments over a term of up to 24 months.

Research in other states shows that the overwhelming majority of these types of installment loans are paid off in approximately six months. The maximum monthly interest rate is comparable to existing title loans at 15-17 percent; however, much like existing title lending in Arizona, the heated marketplace between lenders will drive down rates.

For Arizona’s working middle class, there is an unmet need for these types of loans, which are not offered by traditional banks and credit unions.

Furthermore, this proposal carries the most robust set of consumer protections anywhere in the nation. The protections include:
  • A free repayment plan option for at least three months if a customer becomes delinquent in his or her payment schedule
  • A database that will track all lending activity and require authorities to immediately investigate any violations of the statute
  • No hidden or additional fees
  • A 10-year legislative review and 20-year sunset (elimination)
Under the proposal, qualified entities can apply for licenses to offer flexible credit loans if they meet certain criteria of solvency and legitimacy as determined and overseen by the state Department of Financial Institutions , as it should be.

The public policy is sound. My colleagues in the Arizona House did tremendous work, quietly in some cases, inserting major amendments to this legislation last month on the House Floor with little fanfare.

The bill, SB 1316, faces a vote in the Senate in the coming days, and I am hopeful that the governor signs it quickly. Arizonans can win with this long-overdue legislation.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

CD5 Republican Legislative District Chairs Call for Local Representation

For Immediate Release
April 8, 2016
Contact: Mickie Niland, (480)-726-0543,
CD5 Republican Legislative District Chairs Call for Local Representation
To interested parties,
As Republican leaders of Arizona’s Fifth Congressional District, we were saddened by the news of Congressman Matt Salmon’s retirement from Congress. We wish him nothing but the best in his next endeavor, and thank him for all the service he has provided to his constituents and our nation.
As the candidates to replace Congressman Salmon begin to form their campaigns, we wish to make our intentions known that we will not support, or encourage other grassroots leaders to support, any candidate running for the Republican nomination who does not reside within the current boundaries of Arizona’s Fifth Congressional District.
The East Valley has a long tradition of electing public officials who have known and understood our distinct culture and the values of our treasured communities. Many of our public officials and candidates have lived in the East Valley for a number of years; some for generations. East Valley constituents wish to elect candidates who are “one of us”, who truly understand us and can best represent the unique ideals that have helped to make the East Valley region what it is today.
While we respect the right of any individual to run for public office, we strongly discourage candidates who live outside of our district from running in the primary election to replace Congressman Matt Salmon.
We plan to support “one of us” in this election cycle.
Legislative District Chairmen
12, 16, 25 and 26
Mickie Niland, Chairwoman LD12
Denis T. Brimhall, Chairman LD16
Ian Murray, Chairman LD25
Raymond Jones, Chairman LD26

You’re Invited! Campaign Kick-Off for Andy Biggs!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Former AZ Board of Governors member Jack Levine responds to biased article in The Arizona Republic about the bill to end the mandatory bar

The article he is referring to is here.

-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: Your column on HB 2221, State Bar of Arizona, Andrew Thomas and Deputies
Date: Tue, 5 Apr 2016 17:17:15 -0400
From: Jack Levine
To: Ed Montini

Are you kidding me, Montini?. The entire Andrew Thomas affair was nothing but a political hatchet job designed to distract the public from believing that there really is corruption by public officeholders. The disciplinary action taken against Thomas, Aubuchon and Alexander will have a chilling effect in the future whenever one of our public prosecutors gets wind of corruption in high places. After what happened to Thomas and his two deputies, who uncovered enough evidence to investigate correct practices involving the construction of the new Criminal Courts building, no one would ever dare go after the bad guys again.

Jack Levine,
Past Member of the State Bar Board of Governors