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The Conservative's Corner
Featured Editorials
2018 Scrum

Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ) released a statement following the passage of H.R. 4031, the Department of Veterans Affairs Management Accountability Act of 2014:

“I am proud to have cosponsored and supported H.R. 4031.  The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) responsibility is to provide care and support for our nation’s heroes. Sadly, the recent reports and investigations indicate the VA has failed our veterans.” said Schweikert. “VA leadership must be held accountable and I believe this bill is a step in the right direction to restoring faith and trust with our nation’s veterans.”

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From The Desk Of Russell Pearce:

You know that bad feeling when November rolls around and you look at your ballot and you realize that while you could never support the Democrat on your ballot, you are going to have to hold your nose to vote for the Republican nominee? Now is the time to do something about that. It is Primary time, when we get to support the best conservative and send a message to our state and our Party that those who champion our beliefs earn our support. That is why I am sending you this email today... To introduce you to State Senator Al Melvin, the proven conservative candidate for Arizona Governor.al melvin

For six years Al has been fighting for conservative values and casting real conservative votes: For Constitutional Carry, for SB1070 to fight illegal immigration, for SB1062 to protect religious liberties, for the largest tax cuts in Arizona history, against the ObamaCare Medicaid Expansion, and more. Al was also the author of the bill to stop Common Core here in Arizona. These weren’t easy positions to take, but Al took them on because it was the right thing to do.

In short, Al is the best conservative in the race for Governor, and he is someone you will get to feel good about supporting.

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Friends,

Since day one of this campaign, I’ve stated that when I am elected Attorney General, one of my top priorities will be to work to protect those in our society who cannot protect themselves.

Whether they are the unborn, children, seniors, or our veterans we have a moral obligation as a society to protect the vulnerable.

I am running against both a Republican incumbent who has sided with pro-choice forces and against a Democrat who is supported and well-funded by groups like Planned Parenthood.

The liberal Democrats know that if they can gain control of the Attorney General’s Office they can selectively enforce laws including deconstructing laws that strengthen or protect the rights of the unborn.

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By Frank Antenori

I was recently invited for coffee by a close friend and fellow Republican to discuss upcoming state legislative races. Well respected in both local grass roots circles as well as the so called "GOP Establishment," he was chosen to reach out to me in hopes of convincing me to not get involved in several key legislative primaries. However, by the time we finished our second cup of coffee, he would not only fail to convince me to stay silent, but he would instead volunteer to help me in my efforts to inform GOP voters of the threat to our state. It took a simple history lesson to change his mind.frank-antenori-002

I take you back to the 46th Legislature. In 2004, a handful of so called "pragmatic" Republicans conspired with Democrats to give then Governor Janet Napolitano a budget that would increase state spending by more than $700million, a 10% increase in spending in a year that saw little inflation (2%).

Worse yet, that budget created a $500 million budget deficit; in violation of Arizona's Constitution which requires a balanced budget. Rightfully, fiscal conservatives were outraged at what was clearly an irresponsible budget. In response, conservatives recruited fiscally responsible primary opponents to challenge these fiscally irresponsible Republicans.

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By Wil Cardon
Candidate for Arizona Secretary of State

Recently, a federal judge issued a ruling saying that Arizona has the right to require proof of citizenship in order to register to vote. This may seem like common sense to most people. After all, why wouldn’t we require proof that you are an American citizen before you exercise one of the most important civic duties - voting. cardon jpeg

However, there are many on the left who do not want there to be any proof of citizenship before registering to vote. This week, the Obama administration announced that they were going to fight that decision. And here in Arizona, my opponent has made quite clear that he does not support requiring proof of citizenship to register to vote.

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Yesterday, the City Council voted to give City Manager Ed Zuercher a $56,000 pay increase. Councilman Gates, Councilman DiCiccio and myself voted against this pay raise, like I voted against former City Manager David Cavazos' pay raise.

At a time when the City is facing a $37.7 million deficit, I felt it was unacceptable to give a pay raise. This is an instance of the City over spending while claiming to be broke. Money should not have been spent last year on golf courses, the Melrose Arch or poetry about recycling. And this year we should not be spending money on pay raises.

Thanks so much,

Jim Waring
Phoenix Vice Mayor - District 2

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It’s not often the former stomping grounds of drug lord Pablo Escobar are invoked for municipal inspiration.  Then again, Bogota, Colombia is not infamous like it was two decades ago.

Today, a renaissance is occurring.  There can be found remarkable ideas Scottsdale and other Valley cities should adopt.

It’s a Sunday tradition in Bogota to close many city streets from 7a-2p to enable people to bike them.  All at once a sense of community and adventure is created.

Whether it’s many, several or one think how interesting it would be to bike the middle of 68th Street, Via de Ventura, Sweetwater or even the beautiful, meandering Thompson Peak as it flows through some of the city’s best neighborhoods and touches the majesty of the McDowell Mountains.  It’s an idea that need not be Scottsdale’s alone.

Would it be inconvenient for some?  Of course.  But it would also be a romantic ride available to all.  Streets are shut or redirected frequently for parades, road races, major sporting events and arts fairs.  So why not for the people as well as the special interests?

Scottsdale could use a bold idea to maintain its status as the Valley’s planning ingénue, even one imported from a place whose exports used to be more destructive than delightful.

 

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*Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu starts his congressional race in a commanding position on the GOP side but his campaign has been a comedy of errors since announcing.

*No truth to the rumor that Jeb Bush is looking at Brock Landers, otherwise known as former Congressman Ben Quayle for Vice President.  Keep those Bush-Quayle signs in the closet.

*Few elected officials have learned to serve with a smile better than Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Chucri

*Mrs. Arpaio needs and deserves prayers

*The campaign to inject new funds without a tax increase into Arizona’s K-12 education has hired people from both sides of the aisle.  Smart.  The statewide vote on Proposition 123 is May 17th.

*Will Arizona feel the Bern?  Quite a bit of GOP polling on the field for Arizona’s presidential primary March 22nd.  Someone could make some news polling the donkeys. 

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The Scottsdale Center for the Arts is a fine facility.  But for years it served as a dungeon for the Mayors of Scottsdale State of the City.  Few attended the dimly lit serenade.

Leave it to a reformer like current Mayor Jim Lane to change the approach.  His upcoming address on February 25th is timely to remind all, how he is a mayor for all. lane portrait

Scottsdale is a city synonymous with luxury. Yet it like every city has those who struggle to make ends meet, need food or just need a hand to get through the day.  That’s where critical city programs and facilities like those at Vista del Camino come in.  But it can’t do everything.

This is why Operation Fix It was spawned by the city years ago.  It extends an embrace to those having a hard time helping themselves.  A senior no longer able to keep up with home repair or landscaping.  A tired neighbor(hood) that needs a little sprucing up.  When things fall through the cracks, when people can no longer go around or through walls, a small safety net is there. 

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Once upon a time Jay Lawrence was the 1-900 voice of Arizona freedom, rocking KTAR late nights for liberty lovers.  Now, he’s a member of the State House of Representatives.

Once upon a time Jill Norgaard was doing something else.  Now, she’s a rising Republican star in the same House of Representatives.

One of the first things lawmakers learn is how challenging it can be to stay true to one’s philosophical moorings.  Some 1,000 bills per year come at the honorables.  And most aren’t black and white issues on abortion, guns, civil rights, energy, taxes or other issues that are typically found on campaign web sites and direct mail pieces.

There are issues like last year’s reinvention of payday lenders into something more innocuously called “flex loans.” The pushers are cockroaches of commerce.  Yet, in that case, Lawrence and Norgaard rightfully didn’t focus on the who, they focused on the what.  That is, if people want or need such monied instruments then such financial choice is the citizen’s to make.   The two lawmaker’s support was principled.  To mangle Sir Thomas Moore a bit they may not agree with the business at issue but they defended their right to do it.   It’s easy to prop a sexy, popular company like Uber when the freedom fire needs to burn a bit brighter .  It’s much more difficult when it’s people predators making the argument.

That’s why we’re scratching our heads a bit at the two’s agnosticism to HB2523.  The Goldwater Institute-backed measure extends from one to two or three years the time a contact lens user must endure a costly and state mandated annual visit to an optometrist.  We have written about its merits previously.

We get that the state’s 400 optometrists don’t want to see their special interest subsidy watered down a wee bit, but the state’s 700,000 contact lens wearer’s would probably appreciate the disassociation with such an antiquated law.  After all, if Republicans aren’t eminent endorsers of consumer choice and convenience, what do they stand for?

Norgaard and Lawrence are two of the most interesting legislative voices in Arizona today.  They help all see Republicanism and freedom more clearly.  We can’t think of a more topical bill for them to lead the march again.

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It would be easy to recognize Mayor Jim Lane for such a distinction. Ethics. Reforms. Results. Well-regarded by his peers. An overwhelming favorite to be re-elected for a final term later this year. And there are others that could be duly considered. 3

But the distinction goes to someone whose name identification isn’t as high but respect from all is never low: Scottsdale Convention & Visitor’s Bureau CEO Rachel Sacco.

If personality were a potion Sacco would be an elixir for the city’s hoteliers. They think she walks on water as do all on the Scottsdale City Council. Even those who have despised each other on that dais over the years have an affinity for Sacco in common.

It’s not easy to survive as long as Sacco has in such a prominent position. Recessions come and go. So do big voices on commissions and councils. Yet, through it all Sacco has become the Terry Branstad of local tourism. And rightfully so. P.S. That was a tenure joke for those who may no longer be paying attention to Iowa since its Caucuses are over. Branstad is the longest-serving Governor in American history.

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Driving through north Scottsdale these days can bring a twinge of sadness. The beloved site that once housed the city’s most enduring watering hole, Greasewood Flat, is now being bladed for new homes. The same fate is set for the acres once hosting Pinnacle Peak Patio.
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Sure, businesses come and they go. But the inability of these particular owners to soldier on was a blow to the soul of Scottsdale itself. But the Scottsdale City Council is not to blame. If long-time businesses can’t evolve with changing times and tastes, government should not – and cannot by state law – step into help.

But what the city can do is invest in public facilities that make Scottsdale shine.

Some criticized large new facilities at WestWorld and to be fair there were cost overruns. But since they have come online the number of events at Scottsdale’s Central Park have increased substantially. And its signature events – Barrett-Jackson and the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show – have seen even more growth. That’s not just important because of dollars and cents. These essential events showcase the community around the world for a profoundly positive impact, known and unknown.

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Guy Phillips first ran for the Scottsdale City Council in 2010.  That was the year of the Tea Party.  With little money Phillips, a rock-ribbed Republican, rode the wave to a surprisingly strong finish, albeit unsuccessful.

GuyPhillips_bioBut he didn’t give up.  Two years later he won.  Now, Scottsdale City Councilman Guy Phillips is up for re-election.

During his first term has played an undeniable role restricting spending via opposition to city bond proposals, a position that surely resonates with activist Republican Partiers.  But two positions he’s adopted of late must leave even ardent supporters scratching their heads.

The long-discussed “Desert Discovery Center” has been a political hot potato with influential tourism leaders arguing its necessity while most voters in Scottsdale disagree with either putting such an enterprise within the preserve, or spending more taxpayer dollars on it when so much has been spent up north already.

That’s what made Phillips’ flip-flop on the project last month terribly curious.  While not the final decision Phillips voted with the majority to authorize millions for more design and study.  Some in his political constituency likely view that as apostasy.  But it likely pales in comparison to an issue that is near sacrosanct to Republican primary voters:  charter schools. 

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When Doug Ducey was elected Governor of Arizona he pledged to bring more business acumen to the job.  What voters may not have anticipated was his adeptness for politics.  Surely some of that has to do with the skills of his Chief of Staff Kirk Adams and others nearby like Danny Seiden and Daniel Scarpinato, but even with those ear whisperers it still takes someone at the top to get it.

Governor Ducey’s exemplary and respectful relationship with lawmakers isn’t just limited to Republican leadership.  Recall his outreach calls to Democrats prior to taking office.  That wasn’t just window dressing. Respect from and rapport with Democrats – and nearly all legislators -- helped lead to a crucial vote to move Arizona K-12 public education forward on May 17th.  A “yes” vote on Proposition 123 will end lawsuits and begin better funding for students statewide. 

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There are few more interesting municipal elected officials in Arizona today than Scottsdale City Councilman David Smith. Having served as the City Treasurer he was the ultimate insider.  Then as a candidate he ran as a quasi-outsider.  Smith is whip smart and no matter one’s view of him he cannot be questioned about his affinity for the community.

Recently, however, the new outsider showed great fidelity to an old insider.  A project called The Outpost, essentially a glorified gas station at Pima and Dynamite was vehemently opposed by north Scottsdale residents. But due to a purported close relationship between Smith and well-known project architect Vern Swaback, Smith abandoned his constituency for a party of one rather than a commitment to all.  Indeed, Smith cast the deciding vote leaving North Scottsdale fuming.

Fast forward to a new case at 128th Street & Shea involving a new BASIS charter school, the #1 ranked public school in the state. Despite clear state law requiring the entitlement, Smith has presided over Design Review Board hearings that seem more a kangaroo court. Two thousands parents of BASIS students are wondering what is happening to Scottsdale. 

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One of the worst city managers in Scottsdale history was Jan Dolan.  She intimidated staff and fought so much with Barrett-Jackson she almost forced them away.  Space, even online, does not permit her laundry list of errors.  But we would like to focus on one, for Scottsdale history may be repeating itself at great consequence to taxpayers.

Following the landmark McDowell Mountain preservation vote a “Gateway” was long contemplated.  There would be the front door to Sonoran majesty.  There today just off Thompson Peak and north of Bell exists a parking lot, terrific trailheads and low-impact structures, as envisioned.

But that wasn’t always the case. The land was once owned by Toll Brothers, a national homebuilder.  It wanted to build what became known as Windgate Ranch but was also agreeable to selling land the city wanted for its gateway at a reasonable price. But Dolan The Dictator didn’t want compromise and rejected the company’s offer to sell the land for $124,000 per acre.  Toll Brothers was left with little choice but to sue and argue for the highest price possible for its land.  The result?  The Municipal Mussolini lost in court, badly.  The city was forced to pay nearly three times what nearly all had considered a reasonable purchase price.  The consequence to city taxpayers was enormous.  And to the preserve.  For the city had tens of millions fewer dollars to purchase preserve lands elsewhere thanks to Dolan’s folly.

Fast forward to today.

We have already written about the merits of a proposed BASIS school at 128th and Shea. BASIS is the highest ranked public school in Arizona and one of the top performing schools in the United States.  Scottsdale likes to be best in class. This is another opportunity.  We have already likened the case to that of the Ice Den in north Scottsdale.  Once opposed due to inane concerns it is now an area point of pride. See our previous post here.

We understand the questions of neighbors. But a school so renowned is also smart enough to know that mitigating them is smart business, and probably a lesson conveyed in their classrooms. 

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Recently we noticed this letter in the Scottsdale Republic.  It reminded us of that irresistible curmudgeonly charm of some southern Scottsdale residents who sometimes seem like male virgins betrothed to Gisele Bundchen.  You just can’t make some people happy.

From the Scottsdale Republic

South Scottsdale Can’t Grow Like This
By Maj. George Stafford, Scottsdale

 

I have lived in South Scottsdale for 48 years. It has been a nice community until now. The City Council seems determined to destroy south Scottsdale by approving any and all requests for construction of apartments and condos.

Between Miller Road and 64th Street on McDowell Road, there are three new areas of housing. The one at 7501 E. McDowell has 572 units! The one at around 6700 E. McDowell and the one at 64th and McDowell will add at least 300-400 more. The one on 6565 E. Thomas Toad has 147 units. The one at 71st Street and Osborn and the one just approved to build at the location of the old Red Lobster will add hundreds more, competing with the one now at Scottsdale Road and Osborn.

These are all within less than two mile from where I live and will add at least 2,500 new residents to a small area. Imagine what it will be if each resident has a vehicle?

Adding all that new traffic to such a small area will ruin the lifestyle for those who have lived here for many years. Why can’t we get some shopping places? We now go to a Tempe mall that is collecting taxes that could be Scottsdale’s. What is this obsession to cover every open piece of land to make living quarters?

If this isn’t enough lunacy, the Council has approved a 400-foot swimming pool for the new Ritz-Carlton Resort that will be the longest pool in North America. Just what we need when we are facing a water shortage.

All this new construction will also require lots of water. I’m glad I’m 92 and won’t have to face the congestion on our southern city streets that will most certainly follow all because of those who can’t see the future any further then end of their noses.
Isn’t it strange none of this construction is gong in north Scottsdale where, incidentally, most of the Council members live? The Council must learn to say no to all developers.

Notwithstanding the mistakes in the letter such as water use at the new Ritz-Carlton which will is to go in Paradise Valley not Scottsdale our favorite part was this:

“Adding all that new traffic to such a small area will ruin the lifestyle for those who have lived here for so many years. Why can’t we get some shopping places?”

Mr. Stafford was speaking about new apartment projects along McDowell Road, near Thomas Road and elsewhere.

Does he not realize that the reason retail started fleeing the area two decades ago beginning at Los Arcos Mall was because the area no longer had the population or wealth to sustain such stores? And retailers in Phoenix, Tempe, at Scottsdale Fashion Square and even the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community began poaching away brands big and small?

To reverse the trend two things are needed: more density as has happened in Phoenix and Tempe, or a migration of new families due to quality schools and good housing stock, as has occurred in north central Phoenix. Minus such dynamics more cool stuff in south Scottsdale will be a hope and a prayer not reality on the ground.

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Arizona  Governor Doug Ducey is rightfully positioning Arizona for a better state of innovation, for the best possible business climate.

As members of all parties consider whether our state is to be one of the past or one of the future more and more legislative issues are being viewed through the innovation prism.  Are you a dinosaur like the decision makers at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport or are you on the side of the consumer with more choices?

One of this year’s biggest legislative brawls, that being doctors and nurses and whether the latter should be able to creep into territory previously the domain of Doctor Welby, is no exception.  But in that debate both sides can make a claim for the cloak.

In the case of another, similar but lesser known bill the freedom and innovation clarity is far more obvious. You see, HB 2523 led by State Representative Heather Carter emancipates some 700,000 Arizona wearers of contact lenses from a state mandated and expensive optometrist visit every year just to get a refill to once every three years.  Mind you, a patient is free to see an optometrist any time for any reason.

Let’s bring this common sense into focus a bit more because the absurdity of the existing state law may blind some with anger. 

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Casa Grande, AZ – Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu announced Thursday he raised $306,000 in his congressional campaign’s first three months.

More than 1,500 people across the country donated to Babeu’s campaign for the 1st Congressional District.Sheriff_Paul_Babeu

"I'm humbled by this strong show of support. Voters want leaders in DC to secure the border, enforce immigration laws, stop overspending, strengthen our military and defeat ISIS,” Babeu said. “My executive leadership experience as an elected Sheriff and retired Army Officer offers voters a proven record of making tough decisions, accountability and competency that is often lacking in government. I will work hard to earn the trust of voters in rural Arizona to be their voice in Congress."

CD1 is one of the most competitive congressional districts in the nation. It is also an open seat that has drawn several candidates on both sides of the aisle.

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Arizona Citizens for the Arts is issuing a press release today to announce that our Board of Directors voted recently to join numerous business, community and education groups in endorsing Proposition 123, a ballot initiative that would inject $3.5 billion into Arizona schools.

These dollars will settle a longstanding lawsuit over cuts the Arizona Legislature made during the recession and provide other sustainable funding for education. Most importantly, it will put money back into Arizona classrooms and support Arizona teachers.

We know all too well, that when schools are under financial stress, teachers and resources for arts education are among the first to be cut. For that reason, AzCA has chosen to support Proposition 123 and to encourage arts supporters to go the polls on May 17 to vote for Proposition 123.  We wanted you – our valued advocates and supporters – to be among the first to know this.

Read the full article here.

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As Carly's Iowa state chairman, I can tell you: the momentum on the ground here is growing fast.

Iowa isn't like a lot of other states. Because we're the first state to caucus, what happens in Iowa affects the direction of the Republican primary race in all 50 states. We know it's a big responsibility.
Because of that, we don't listen to the mainstream media or national polls: we listen to the candidates (in person) and then vote for the one with the best message, and the best leadership abilities.
Right now, in Iowa? All the talk on the ground is about Carly Fiorina.
We're building the best ground game in Iowa this election cycle, hands down. But we can't continue to grow our momentum without your help. Will you chip in $13 for Carly in 2016, before the FEC's quarterly fundraising deadline on December 31st?

I've lived in Iowa a very long time. I've seen a lot of presidential campaigns come through here.

Carly's tireless. She just wrapped a trip before Christmas to the southeast corner of Iowa and will start her trip in January in the northwest corner. She's going to small towns like Rock Rapids, and bigger cities like Davenport: winning over Iowans wherever she can.

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By Senator Jeff Flake

2015 has been a busy and challenging year, and the country still faces many more challenges. But as we approach the critical 2016 Election Year, I'm pleased to say I've made progress in Congress on a few issues.

I have worked hard to deliver solutions that are wins for taxpayers, lasting achievements like:

  • The Border Jobs Protection Act -- finding employment for skilled armed forces veterans where we need it in securing America's borders;
  • Ending so-called "Paid Patriotism," where the Defense Department used taxpayers money to pay for ceremonies honoring our armed forces at many professional sports games - especially egregious because many teams, like the Arizona Cardinals, gladly honor the troops for the right reasons, not for payment;

Leading the fight to end frivolous and unnecessary federal government spending -- and exposing the worst offenses with our just-released Wastebook campaign, which you can view on my official website www.jeffflake.com

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(PHOENIX) – Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, Chairman of Marco Rubio’s campaign in Arizona, is proud to announce nine Arizona elected leaders have joined him in endorsing Marco Rubio’s campaign for president.

“This group represents a cross section of Republican state and local leaders who understand Marco Rubio is best qualified to bring bold, innovative, and conservative ideas to Washington.” said Brnovich. “He’s won our confidence and we think he can and will win the nomination, as well as defeat Hillary Clinton.”

In addition to Arizona Attorney General Brnovich, the list of Arizona endorsers includes:

Arizona Corporation Commissioner Tom Forese
Arizona State Senator Steve Yarbrough
Arizona State Senator Debbie Lesko
Arizona State Representative Jeff Weninger
Arizona State Representative J.D. Mesnard
Arizona State Representative Paul Boyer
Arizona State Representative Jill Norgaard
Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Chucri
Paradise Valley Mayor Michael Collins

Brnovich added, “This group represents elected leaders at all levels of government from legislative and statewide officeholders to county and municipal leaders. They understand the next century can be America’s best yet but only if we support innovative leaders with a command of what America needs like Marco Rubio.”

Arizona’s presidential primary election is March 22nd.

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By Burdick for Glendale Mayor

Mark Burdick has spent over 32 years in public service. An Arizona native, Burdick began working for the City of Glendale as a firefighter in 1983. He served as a paramedic, captain and ultimately spent more than 12 years as the fire chief.

During his career, he has had numerous notable accomplishments, with programs that received recognition beyond the city limits. Burdick may be best known for his ability to create sustainable public/private partnerships, from working with a medical university where a two-person station was built on campus, to providing personnel for an air-ambulance operation that significantly reduced response times.

As fire chief, Burdick oversaw the building of a public safety training facility with four Valley partners, creating a true regional training center. Luke Air Force Base personnel worked with Burdick to pilot a first-of-its-kind dual staffed fire engine, operated at the base's fire department that utilized two Glendale firefighters and two Luke Air Force firefighters.

Learn more here.

His outreach and involvement with the community is significant as a member of numerous local boards and committees. Burdick served on two Governor appointed committees: the Central Region Advisory Council and the Arizona State Fire Safety Committee. Additionally, he was the President of the Arizona Fire Chief's Association and remains on the executive board today.

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