House candidates grilled by voters
CLARKDALE -The four candidates seeking the two seats from district-one in the Arizona House faced a couple dozen voters at the Yavapai College Thursday. The forum was sponsored by the League of Women Voters. The League asked several questions of candidates and then the audience had the opportunity to submit written questions. Some of the answers are transcribed here.
Question: Since Immigration is a Federal responsibility, what do you see as the state's role in immigration reform, other than securing the border?
Andy Tobin: I was disappointed to hear this question from the League. Securing the border is a priority, it is the political lynch point that allows us to go into some reform on immigration. If its not done it is not going to happen. And by the way, Governor Napolitano signed on and Congresswoman Kirkpatrick signed on when we created a jobs bill, the E-Verify system. Those issues were very important two years ago. But now the federal government is suing us and it will be in the Supreme court in November. I would like to take some of these legal dollars and find a way to protect these borders. We have 'coyotes' bringing people in. We have neighbors down on the border being evacuated from their homes and shot at. You cannot go there without sealing the border. You cannot go there without being strong on the border. That is how you start this ball rolling. We have secured borders before. Some have been in Iraq. It is a political decision and we should begin soon. Instead of the Attorney General's Office suing Arizona over SB1070, they should be out there going after these people that are black panthers standing in front of voting booths and scaring voters away. One-thousand illegal immigrants, other than Mexican Nationals, were arrested crossing our border last year.
Lindsay Bell: We need to insist that the federal government strengthening border security, beef up manpower and surveillance, provide for guest worker programs, and an opportunity for a path to citizenship similar to the Reagan Administration's immigration reform program of the 1980s. In terms of the state's role, we need to cooperate with the federal enforcement of the Immigration Laws. We need to work together cooperatively instead of getting in one another's way. Absolutely, we need to crack down at the state on criminal cartels and human trafficking and drug smuggling. The best way to do that is to follow the money and cut off to the flow of profits to the drugs and criminal cartels. Terry Goddard did that recently with a $94 million dollar settlement he won from Western Union for their role in moving money for the drug cartels. $50 million of that settlement is going to the border alliance to improve border security. The rest is going toward a special enforcement unit within the Attorney General's Office which will continue to work on stopping the flow of guns and money across the border. While I support 2nd Amendment Rights, Arizona has loosened gun laws so that anyone, law abiding or criminal, has access to weapons and has the potential to, not only increase profits to the criminal cartels and also to escalate the violence associate with their criminal activity.
Noel Campbell: I disagree. I think border security is a state issue. The federal government has failed to act. The house is on fire down here. We have to put the fire out. If the federal government won't do it. It has to be done. We can talk about the insurance papers and who gets paid later. But, let's put the fire out. The President of the United States, Barack Obama is derelict in his duty to protect us and that is a fact. The State of Arizona has stepped up to the plate. I worked on that border for 27 years. We can close the border. It is a matter of willpower and manpower and we can do that if we have the will to do it. i am absolutely opposed to granting citizenship to anyone who came to this country illegally. I would possibly consider letting them stay and work with green cards if they have a good work record, family and no criminal record. But, citizenship, absolutely not! They go back to the end of the line. Citizenship is the most precious thing we have in this country. and its not for those people who snuck into this country through the back door. Period!
Karen Fann: I support SB1070 and the reason is, I believe our federal government has failed us. Under our Constitution, it says the federal government's job is to protect the states. They have failed to do that and it is very sad that the State of Arizona has had to take this upon themselves and take the brunt of it. We have had to step out in front, and say, 'if you don't do it, we will.' I am very proud of Arizona, I am proud of the fact that we did step up and I am proud of the other states that are supporting us and by doing that, its like the kids screaming and yelling and throwing a tantrum. They are starting to pay attention. So, at the very least, maybe the federal government will step up and say, 'maybe we should do our job.' The question stated: Immigration reform is a federal responsibility. It is supposed to be a federal deal, but unfortunately, they are not doing it. I don't know, I think we will get sued again. the best thing we can do is follow the federal laws which is stopping them and if they are here illegally, turning them over to ICE and send them back to where they came from whether it is North, South, East or West. I think that securing the border is the very first avenue that we need to approach. We can't fix the problem on anything if can't stop the flow of the illegal immigrants coming in, particularly the drug traffickers, the smugglers and other illegal immigrants coming from other countries that caused 911, such as Iran and Iraq.
Question: Do you have a plan to restore Arizona's economic vitality. Please explain.
Andy Tobin: My plan is to put Arizona back to work. We have lost 300,000 jobs. Generally speaking, you are looking at about $350,000,000 in state revenue if the average wage is $40,000 and that is probably low. The way I look at it, and to keep our foreclosures from going up, there have people who can afford a mortgage. If they are working, they can buy that car. They are not going to be on our ACCCHS roles. There were a million people in Arizona last year on our ACCCHS roles. Sadly, many of those people may no longer be able to have those services even though they may have been paying for it.
Lindsay Bell: I would take a three-pronged approach. One is to diversify the economy. Two is to create a business-friendly environment that will attract new business advancement and three is to create real jobs with living wages. In terms of diversifying the economy, I think there are sectors out there that are viable. Renewable energy is a no-brainer with wind and solar. Arizona ought to be the solar capital of the country.
The Bio-science sector, I think, has some real possibilities and pharmaceuticals, medical devices and agricultural applications. I don't think that we have gotten as much as we could out of entertainment media. People could do filming here. Production studios, typically, are not in the state. Eco-tourism, I think is very important to Arizona. Those are the things i would do to revitalize the economy.
Karen Fann: I am a firm believer in public-private partnership because that is what is going to take. We don't have the money. I am opposed to tax increases. We barely got the 1% sales tax through. The public is not going to stand for anymore. We have got to bring in revenue from individuals. I disagree with Lindsay on wanting to do away with tax credits. The way we are going to get things back in order is that we need tax credits. The bio-science, solar energy, entertainment are going to be looking for some sort of tax credits to bring them here to make it affordable for them, like it or not. That's how we are going to bring the economy back on track. Andy's right. Jobs are number one. Get people back to work. When we get income tax coming in and when we get sales tax coming in then, we are going to have money to do all these other things that we should be doing, like our parks and our schools and everything else.
Noel Campbell: I will try to be specific, because a lot of these suggestions have been generic. First of all, I voted against Prop 100 because that increased the sales tax by 18-percent. When you buy that car or refrigerator, you are going to think about that additional $300 on a car and maybe not buy it. I think Prop-100 should have been defeated. Its hard to say you are against taxes when you voted for a tax increase. You can't have it both ways. Specifically, to address the economic vitality, you have to understand that small businesses create most of the jobs in this state. So, how do you help small businesses? You lower their taxes. You also know that small businesses file their taxes on the 1040 federal return. So when you cut general taxes marginal rates across the board, you are helping small businesses. And then you have to deal with consumer confidence. You have to let them know that the economy is stabilizing and there is a brighter future coming and then they will start spending. But, they won't start spending if you start loading these taxes on them.
Question: Tell us about your experience with water issues and solutions.
Karen Fann: I have dealt with water issues for about 15 years now, in the Verde Valley and in the Prescott area with the AMA. I have served on the Verde River Basin Partnership, the AMA and also chaired the Upper Verde River Protection Coalition for the AMA been working on water issues. In Chino Valley, we have a great plan which is why we were so ready create mitigation plans so we can get the water that we need in the Little Chino aquifer in the AMA and still be able to protect the Verde River. Its something that Mayor Von Gausig and I and others have worked so closely on. There is just a short small piece of a big piece we have to work with. So we have our short reach goals and the then we need to work on Arizona's water as a whole for everybody.
Andy Tobin: The Salt River is a life line down in the Valley. They consider it their water but, at the end of the day, that is why we are all here. We have never had a more productive opportunity and success at the State Capital in water law than this session, which is something we have been missing from the equation right from the beginning. What we have done, along with the Prescott, Prescott Valley, Chino water deal in which we made sure that 8500-acre feet be moved. We also protected the Monongahela Valley water shed and the Little Colorado, some pieces of that agreement you may not have heard of. What we have really been holding onto is the opportunity for rural and urban folks to finally sit down together without suing each other, so that we can really talk about are Arizona's water needs and what is the water grid going to look like over the next 50 years and then lets go get it together.
Lindsay Bell: I was a member of the Prescott City Council in the late '90s when the Arizona Department of Water Resources declared the Prescott AMA to be in a state of water mining. It changed the rules for all of us. One of the things that I helped to craft at that time was the rule that the City of Prescott as a water provider would operate under in terms of alternative water. That policy is still in place today and has been a very good policy to bring forward over the last few years. I think the biggest issue that is amenable to legislative action is the question of domestic wells. They are the third largest water user in the Prescott AMA. We have to figure out how better to monitor their water use and how to factor that into our efforts to reach safe yield by the year 2025. I agree with Andy that the recent legislation was a step forward to settling some of the arguments over Upper Verde water rights.
Noel Campbell: I have been talking since January about protecting the Upper Verde River, that is a really special thing with me. I am a conservationist and I mean that in the best sense of the word. I would use the my power as a legislator to protect the great riparian area up here. We are not going to let the Upper Verde Valley die like the San Juan did down in Tucson. It is not going to happen. We can save the Verde in being very wise in our use of water. I support the agreement between SRP, the City of Prescott and Prescott Valley. It is a great agreement. It has taken 12-years to get there. It basically means that we are going to quit suing each other, we are going to get on the same sheet of music and we are going to do a comprehensive monitoring of the water assets in the Big Chino by the United States Geological Survey and everybody agrees that the cities will mitigate their water use if there is any impact on the Upper Verde. So, that is good news.
ton of water in the Big Chino and water is a precious commodity. We can't be wasting it. You go around Prescott and you see these people watering their yard in the middle of the day. That has got to stop.
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