STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX -- If you're an angry voter, you have every right to be. Arizonans continue to lose their jobs, their homes and even their hope. Our state's future is in the balance.
More than ever, we need strong, qualified leaders to get Arizona through this crisis. But we won't get those leaders without a thoughtful, race-by-race consideration of candidates up and down the ballot.
The state Republican Party, however, is hoping for your anger vote by default. They look at the same research we do, and they know, just like we do, that when independent-minded voters learn more about both sides of the ballot, these voters favor many of the Democratic candidates.
Because of this, they've tried to capitalize on voter anger by blaming the president and Congress for all of Arizona's problems. You've probably seen their national-themed attacks in TV ads and direct-mail literature. It's become almost absurd. I'm still trying to figure out what the president has to do with Arizona's mine-inspector race.
But there's a gaping hole in their logic: Republicans are the ones in power here in Arizona. We have a Republican governor and a Republican-controlled Legislature. In fact, the state Legislature has been in Republican hands for most of the past 40 years.
Arizona Democrats are outnumbered by Republicans, but our candidates often win because independents and moderates agree we represent the sensible center. Republicans know this, too, so they're trying to paint Arizona Democrats as something we are not.
I'm asking voters to reject Republican attempts to distort statewide races like attorney general or treasurer into referendums on national anger. I'm also asking voters to reject Republican attempts to nationalize our legislative races. These state and local races are about Arizona - about our schools, jobs and public safety. These are the priorities of Arizona Democrats.
Frankly, the Republican slate has done nothing to earn the tidal wave of support that it's predicting. Gov. Jan Brewer is managed by powerful lobbyists, and her "leadership" entails hiding from local media, fearmongering about Arizona, and passing off stimulus jobs as her own creation.
Tom Horne wants to be attorney general, yet he has a lifetime SEC trading ban and hid a past bankruptcy from the Corporation Commission. And Doug Ducey wants to be treasurer, yet he skipped tax payments on his Paradise Valley home, paying them back only after launching his candidacy. This is hardly the kind of leadership Arizona needs, especially during a crisis.
And then there's the Legislature. Having a Republican majority at our state Capitol comes at a price:
- Education: Arizona Democrats repeatedly fought against drastic, unnecessary school cuts that hurt our children's future and Arizona's economic recovery. But the Republicans in power approved more than $1 billion in cuts to our kids' classrooms.
- Jobs: Arizona Democrats want to create good jobs that can't be shipped across the border or to China or India. We demand accountability. If you're a corporation that gets a tax giveaway but you fail to create good Arizona jobs, you lose the tax break, and that money goes to our schools. But the Republicans in power have handed out millions in tax loopholes for big corporations without any accountability to create jobs.
- Public safety: Arizona Democrats oppose giving more control of state prisons to unregulated private corporations. But the Republicans in power continue to protect the private-prison lobbyists and their industry, which put our families at risk, as seen in the Kingman prison tragedy.
It's time for leaders who work for "We the People" - not for special interests. Arizona deserves better than a default vote in one direction.
So, learn a little more about the Democrat and the Republican in each race. And then practice a little anger management: Vote.
by Don Bivens chair of ADP