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The Conservative's Corner
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2018 Scrum

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 has been said that you can’t choose your family, but you can choose your friends. That’s why so many people say it is unfair to judge someone by what a family member does. On the other hand, it is also why so many people look long and hard at the advisers and staff members that elected officials hire.

When Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema hired an illegal alien who was fortunate enough to be granted deferred action through President Obama’s DACA program, she was making a point. When House Speaker John Boehner hired an advisor who led John McCain’s push for amnesty, it too sent a message.

Perhaps that is why Arizona politicos pay so much attention to the various hires made by the candidates running for Governor, and who is supporting whom at this early stage?

Recently, conservatives got some bad news from Doug Ducey’s campaign in the form of an email touting endorsements from Sal DiCiccio and Trent Franks. Don’t get us wrong, DiCiccio and Franks are great endorsements. Conservatives probably loved hearing about those two. But the email was signed by Ducey’s new Political Director Anson Clarkson. Yes, the same Anson Clarkson who ran the State Senate campaign of Rich Crandall, the State Senate’s leading liberal Republican until he abandoned his office to take a better paying job in Wyoming. The same Anson Clarkson whose career defining moment was working with Arizona’s leading liberal and race-baiter Randy Parraz to take down Republican Senate President Russell Pearce and replace him with the liberal Republican Jerry Lewis.

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By Thomas Sowell

Recently former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice added her voice to those who have long been urging the Republican Party to reach out to black voters. Not only is that long overdue, what is also long overdue is putting some time -- and, above all, some serious thought -- into how to go about doing it.

Too many Republicans seem to think that the way to "reach out" is to offer blacks and other minorities what the Democrats are offering them. Some have even suggested that the channels to use are organizations like the NAACP and black "leaders" like Jesse Jackson -- that is, people tied irrevocably to the Democrats.

 Voters who want what the Democrats offer can get it from the Democrats. Why should they vote for Republicans who act like make-believe Democrats?

Yet there are issues where Republicans have a big advantage over Democrats -- if they will use that advantage. But an advantage that you don't use might as well not exist.

The issue on which Democrats are most vulnerable, and have the least room to maneuver, is school choice. Democrats are heavily in hock to the teachers' unions, who see public schools as places to guarantee jobs for teachers, regardless of what that means for the education of students.

There are some charter schools and private schools that have low-income minority youngsters equaling or exceeding national norms, despite the many ghetto public schools where most students are nowhere close to meeting those norms. Because teachers' unions oppose charter schools, most Democrats oppose them, including black Democrats up to and including President Barack Obama.

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Forget those foolish people who parrot the line that there is no difference between Republicans and Democrats. There is. There is an even greater difference between conservatives and liberals. The challenge for conservatives is that they want to give people liberty, which is often the freedom to go get your own stuff without interference, and liberals want to simply give you stuff. When a majority in a country realizes they can vote themselves “free” (meaning someone else paid for it) stuff, liberals win. When enough people get hooked on free stuff and lose the ability to go get their own stuff, then liberals are really happy.

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By now most of you are familiar with the dust up over John Kavanagh’s use of as few ethnically based jokes to roast Sheriff Joe Arpaio at the Western Conservatives Conference. KAVANAGH

For some reason the Southern Poverty Law Center felt it necessary to send a ‘monitor’ there and secretly record the event, even though the event was live-streamed. Afterwards the SPLC sent out a breathless account of how offensive Kavanagh’s remarks were. The Republic then dutifully parroted the SPLC’s claim and rounded up a left leaning attorney to wag his finger. You can read the report here.

Nowhere in the story was the question posed why was the SPLC spending time and resources on ‘monitoring’ a harmless conservative gathering or why the group was flailing its arms in moral outrage over fairly tame, but pretty funny material.

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By State Senator Al Melvin

Arizona’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) has been law since 1999. SB1062’s sole purpose was to update two sections of it. First, to clarify the definition of “person” to include all types of businesses and legal entities. Arizona laws largely conform to that, but more clarity was best. Second, to address the infamous photographer case in New Mexico where courts ruled that RFRA protections did not apply in a case involving two private parties. We wanted to protect people’s liberties, not just from encroachment by government, but from other private parties as well. al melvin

The bill did not change the protected or unprotected classes in Arizona. Hysterical pronouncements like “mixed-race couples will be kicked out of restaurants” were deliberately inflammatory. That discrimination remains illegal under Arizona and Federal law.

Democrats and liberals argue that businesses should operate only with the consent of government and they should have no say in who they do business with or how. If their doors are open, they must serve everyone and accommodate any request if they are physically able. But that isn’t the law now, nor should it be. A sign company doesn’t have to produce a banner that depicts graphic violence just because their customer wants one. A baker doesn’t have to bake a cake in the shape of a Nazi swastika just because a customer wants one. Still, opponents of SB1062 argue that the State of Arizona should force these companies to make these products or go out of business.

True liberty is not where you get to make everyone do everything you want them to do. True liberty is where you are free to do what you want to do. You are free to make your choices and so is everyone else.

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by Loyd Eskildson

The Arizona Legislature took away SUSD’s near monopoly on students living within the district when it passed the 1994 law enabling charters. Since then SUSD has lost an ever increasing number of pupils and associated funding. The total number of pupils currently lost is estimated to be as high as 12,000. Using a conservative number of 10,000 pupils funded at $8,500/each suggests that SUSD personnel and pupils are currently losing $85 million/year. That number has steadily grown.

Why did this happen? Instead of making ‘Job One = Customer Satisfaction,’ the district instead focused on simply obtaining more money from residents and the State, rebuilding/renovating facilities, and maintaining an environment of ‘Happy Talk’ at Board meetings. The primary concern of parents withdrawing their children – lack of alternatives to what many saw as inadequate discipline and achievement goals, was largely ignored/dismissed. As for the disappearing students - that was either denied or ‘rationalized’ via highly implausible excuses. Meanwhile, neighboring public school districts raided SUSD, while competing charter schools, parochial schools, and private schools steadily added capacity and filled those seats with the children of dissatisfied SUSD parents. More of these seats will be available next year, and they’re already working to fill them.

SUSD’s losses could soon create a downward spiral. Given the rationale of most parents for removing their children from SUSD, it wont take long for SUSD pupil achievement to also start trending downward, creating more incentive for even more parents to withdraw their children.

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Ever since a 2002 statewide vote Arizona tribes have had a monopoly on gambling. You remember the promises:  grant us this right and we’ll do good by it, help our people and keep gambling on our lands.

Then along came the Tohono O’Odham tribe from Tucson.  Through clever lawyering, political chicanery and sleights of hand that would make any great blackjack dealer jealous, they claimed a right to put a new casino on acquired land near the Phoenix Coyotes’ hockey arena.

Opposition from state leadership over the years has been intense.  After all, the tribes promised in 2002 to keep gambling in certain places.  Until a tribe 200 miles south of Glendale decided to go rogue.

This Sunday the Tohono O’Odham tribe will try to claim some victory as they debut their new Desert Diamond “Casino” at 9341 West Northern .  But if media reports about the new facility are to be believed, claims of victory are pyrrhic, to put it generously.

Consider that it can and should be called the most unrewarding casino in the world. Why? Because it can’t even serve alcohol until at least February according to AZCentral.  Here is a link.

No booze at a casino?  That’s like baseball without peanuts.  Pizza without cheese.  Or a bikini without boobs.

And if you’re expecting to play blackjack or slot machines, think again.  Because casino backers have so alienated lawmakers all they can engage in is Class II gaming. What’s that?  Glorified bingo. 

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It’s up for debate that it is impossible to teach an old dog new tricks because of all the established companies who are mixing things up. Businesses across the nation are finding that they can indeed learn new tricks and even put their own spin on it.

Starbucks is constantly working to keep as up to date as possible with the latest trends, from having themed cups and matching drinks, to having wine in different locations. It seems that Starbucks has also found another new future for itself in art.  Not the art that you can hang on the wall, but the art of who works for their company. The baristas are the heart and soul of their company and are whom the customers interact with everyday.

Take Angus Maxwell in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. A barista at Starbucks who loves to brew artisanal cups of coffee for avid coffee lovers. He continues to brew coffee in different ways to keep up with the boutique roasters nearby.

It is baristas like Maxwell that contribute to Starbucks success, according to Howard Schultz, Starbucks’ chief executive officer. In a flat market year, Starbucks shares saw a 50 percent increase. Why? Innovative baristas like Maxwell keep the company fluid and help it adapt to new things.

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Canals have a rich history in Arizona. Used for transporting water along the desert landscape, canals have been bringing new life to the area for hundreds of years. Now, the Grand Canal has the opportunity to restore this feeling of new life throughout Phoenix and make the canal another reason to enjoy the state’s largest city.

A $10.3 million grant was given to the City of Phoenix from the Department of Transportation to refresh the Grand Canal. This refresh will be an upgrade to the surrounding neighborhoods as well as a potentially powerful tourist attraction for Phoenix. 

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*How poorly was a political campaign run? One can usually tell by how long it takes to get campaign signs down post-election.  One MONTH after four of the six Scottsdale bond proposals failed “YES” signs are still up.  To those who ran the campaign show some respect to those you tried, and failed, to persuade.

*The number of photo radar cameras in Paradise Valley is getting out of control.

*It appears to be a 2-person race in Glendale for Mayor. Incumbent Jerry Weiers has raised about $90,000.  Upstart Mark Burdick a respectable $26,000.

*State Representative Jeff Weninger is the prohibitive favorite to succeed current Chandler Mayor Jay Tibshraeny

*As is the case with their emerging battle nationally, Arizona campaigns for Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are setting the pace in Arizona with an impressive number of endorsements

*Former Scottsdale City Councilman Bob Littlefield, most recently defeated in a Republican primary for the Arizona House of Representatives, has filed to run for Mayor against Jim Lane.  Littlfield had considered running for the Arizona Corporation Commission and as an independent for another run at the Arizona House.  Lane has already raised over $150,000 for his final and term limited bid for office. 

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The good news is that after heavy revisions to a flawed Ritz-Carlton resort and residences plan introduced earlier this year it’s now in a positive place, and nearing approval.  Anecdotal and polling information all demonstrates overwhelming support for the project.  And there appears to be a solid majority of supporters on the Paradise Valley Town Council two weeks before a scheduled December 17th vote.

The bad news is that Vice Mayor Paul Dembow, who purportedly has higher political aspirations, is showing leadership qualities far short of such ambition.

When he first ran for the Paradise Valley Town Council Dembow ran on a platform vehemently opposed to approval of the Montelucia Resort at Tatum & Lincoln.  He even ran newspaper ads with the universal “no” sign slashed over the hotel’s name.  He lost.  Two years later he won, running on a pro-resort platform.

Subsequently he rightfully voted for a plan to revitalize the old Mountain Shadows Resort property.  The plan is dense, the densest one ever approved in Paradise Valley, and far more intense than that now being proposed for the Ritz.

Yet, despite the public support – including the support of the largest HOA closest to the site -- and substantial tax revenue the project would mean -- Dembow still appears to be uncommitted.  Indeed, the Ritz revenue could offset and mean reductions in tax increases Dembow approved while on council.

Why this convolution?

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By Shikah Dalmia
Senior Analyst at the Reason Foundation

With Congress stuck among the contradictory demands of labor, business and talk-radio restrictionists, neither George W. Bush nor Barack Obama has been able to move the needle on immigration reform. Meanwhile, as the economy gathers steam, states face a tight labor market at all skill levels.

There might be a way forward, if Congress enacts legislation to give states standing waivers or permission to craft their own guest-worker programs. It sounds radical, but several states, red and blue, have already been trying to do this.

California, New Mexico and Kansas have passed resolutions or drafted legislation to issue guest-worker visas to undocumented aliens. Three pending bills in Texas would let state employers hire foreign workers from abroad on temporary work visas. Utah’s conservative legislature overwhelmingly approved legislation in 2011 to let undocumented workers obtain a two-year visa. But Utah’s program has been postponed, because immigration is a federal function and states would need federal waivers. President Obama has stonewalled Utah’s waiver request.

One way to release states from the partisan whims of administrations would be for Congress to erect a statutory architecture under which states could implement their own guest-worker programs. Canada has done this through its highly successful Provincial Nominee Program.

Read entire article here.

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An early morning jog on a neighborhood canal is one of the oldest and most common forms of exercise in Arizona. Imagine if that jog could span from Scottsdale to Tempe to Phoenix. Starting in early 2016, using the canals to get around the city will be a reality.

The Canal Multiuse Path Improvement project, predominately in Scottsdale, is reaching its final stage, a 2-mile portion between Chaparral Road and the Indian Bend Wash. Once this portion is finished, it will complete a 17-mile loop connecting communities around this great state.  This means that those early morning jogs can turn into all day walks to explore the next city over.

The path improvement project began as a means to help travelers with wheels, such as mothers with strollers, use the canal with the new concrete path. A second function for this concrete path is to reduce the dust that is kicked up from those using the canal.

The new path will span 10-feet wide and will have an unpaved portion next to it that will allow runners and horseback riders to still use the canal. The concrete portion will only be on the west side, leaving the east side of the canal unchanged for recreational purposes. This means the best of both worlds for those who consider the canal system an exercise or recreational must.

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The Sanctuary Resort in Paradise Valley is a beautiful property run by respected industry veterans.  Indeed, it’s one of the finest small hotels in Arizona, if not the best.

The one amusing exception seems to be its disregard for Sun Devil fans.  Curiously, bar management shuns ASU football on its televisions for games in Gainesville and the like.  Higher-ups may want to have a chat with staff as come summer time the locals not the Floridians keep the place in business. But we digress . .

The Sanctuary’s class is why ownership and management’s conduct at a recent Paradise Valley Town Council meeting about the proposed Ritz-Carlton resort was a real head scratcher.  Sitting in the back of a packed hearing room, predominantly of supporters, they resembled the kind of people movie theaters have to run ads about before the show, so people can best enjoy the featured presentation.

Snickering, whispering, eye-rolling, their competitive jealousy of the Ritz proposal was disappointing to observe. After all, earlier in the night the General Manager of another Paradise Valley hotel, the Camelback Inn, told Ritz backers he was rooting for them and the good it could do the town.  A recent economic impact report submitted to the town said the Ritz and related development could generate a staggering $5.3 million annually for the town. 

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Last Tuesday, Seattle voters approved of an unprecedented measure that will dramatically overhaul how local candidates running for mayor, city council, and city attorney raise campaign funds.

Under Initiative 122, Seattle became the first city in the United States to try taxpayer-funded “democracy vouchers.” These vouchers work in a relatively straightforward manner. Each registered Seattle voter will receive four $25 vouchers to give to a candidate, or candidates, of their choice. The plan is funded by the city’s real estate taxes as voters authorized a 10-year, $30 million property-tax levy to pay for the vouchers.avote

A candidate can decline to accept vouchers, but if they accept them, they agree to follow certain guidelines. First, the candidate accepting vouchers must take part in at least three public debates. Additionally, the candidate will have to accept lower campaign contributions and to limit campaign spending.

Seattle’s plan could be a new way to approach campaign finance in Arizona following frustrations with the state’s “clean elections” system and its matching funds being struck down by the United States Supreme Court.

During every election cycle, we hear stories of large corporations and wealthy individuals increasingly using their financial resources to dominate Arizona’s political process. Many Arizonans have become complacent with elections, arguing that they feel out of touch with their political candidates. Indeed, Arizona’s 2014 election turnout was anemic.

If a democracy voucher-like plan is adopted in Arizona, democracy could return to the hands of people, and not just the powerful. There is no doubt that democracy vouchers will give every registered Arizona voter more influence over the political process and will give more political voice to Arizonans of modest financial means. The influence of big money may be curbed and the political voices of Arizonans of modest financial means could be amplified.

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It is no secret that the US Department of Veteran’s Affairs has been dealing with a scandal or two. Thanks to whistleblowers like Dr. Katherine Mitchell, the internal issues came to light as well as the shocking knowledge that our veterans are not receiving the proper care they deserve. 50 veterans passed away due to lack of care.

Sen. John McCain has worked tirelessly to improve the Phoenix VA, even to the point where he begged President Barack Obama to come and see the scandalous activity for himself. As a veteran, McCain has made it his mission to clean up the VA and ensure that all veterans receive the care they deserve.Clinton1web_2831249b

Hilary Clinton seems to disagree that the issue at hand is at a scandal level and is more at an uh-oh level. She believes that the whole thing was blown way out of proportion and that it wasn’t as bad as it was made out to be. With the election coming up next year, it is good to know that the lives of veterans are not high on her priority level.

The next question to ask is: How many veterans have to die from lack of proper medical care in order for an issue to be worth her time? 100? 500? 1,000? These are men and women who have risked their lives and lost limbs so that she has the right to say that the scandal was overblown. This must be her way of saying thank you.

Clinton is basing her beliefs on a survey completed by veterans who were actually given care in 2013. The problem with these surveys is that they were given to the veterans who had no issue getting appointments and receiving care.

If she based her beliefs on the survey taken in 2014, she would see that the number declined from an 83 percent satisfaction rating to 55 percent. Also she would see that 70 percent of the VAs nationwide falsified information.

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On October 28th the message below was sent out to businesses in downtown Scottsdale.  There’s probably more than a few alarm bells going off.

After all, what problem would shrinking Scottsdale Road from two lanes to one lane through a vibrant downtown solve?  Are city planners just looking for something to do?  Is there one-lane envy of Mill Avenue in Tempe?

At a time when downtown Scottsdale is bustling with activity we can think of few things to screw it up quicker than this idea.  Maybe the outreach will reveal a compelling vision.  After all, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg once shut cars out of Times Square over a great outcry, only to be rewarded with acknowledgement that the idea might have been good after all once implemented. Scottsdale-Sign-547x198

But where the discussion likely heads are those fearing a new attempt to inject light rail into Scottsdale.  For many years a passionate and influential group of downtown business owners has feared the possibility, and let it be known over their dead bodies.  But two of the ringleaders of that opposition – Mike Fernandez of Pottery Paradise and Tom Silverman of the Chapparal Suites hotel – have sold their properties.  And the Scottsdale City Council now includes at least two passionate advocates for such a system.

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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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