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The Conservative's Corner
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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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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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*A scandal is brewing for one elected official in the Northeast Valley

*Downtown Scottsdale businessman and activist Bill Crawford has formed an exploratory committee to run for Scottsdale Mayor

*Good news.  Scottsdale City Manager Fritz Behring has been on medical leave for months but has been visiting City Hall and events about town much more lately.  A date for his full-time return is still uncertain.

*Superman vs. Batman.  Godzilla vs. King Kong.  Nurses vs. Doctors.  The latter battle is as epic in its own way and playing out now at the Arizona State Capitol.

*Love bites.  APS may be sinking its fangs into likely Arizona Corporation Commission candidate and current State Representative Rick Gray

*Early voting starts in less than a month for Arizona’ presidential primary March 22nd

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Once upon a time a group of neighbors in McDowell Mountain Ranch and a terribly odd no-growth activist teamed up to oppose the Ice Den on Bell Road near WestWorld.  Proposed by the then Phoenix Coyotes 20 years ago it was meant to serve as a training facility for the franchise, and an incredible new amenity for kids and families.  After a pitched battle that went all the way to the Arizona Supreme Court the project was allowed to proceed.  Today, it stands as a Scottsdale point of pride and the best ice skating site in Arizona. Time has proved neighbor warnings of “gangs,” “traffic,” and “decreased property values” fallacious.

The episode reminds of a more contemporary debate about siting a flagship BASIS School campus at 128th and Shea.

The BASIS schools are the top ranked schools in Arizona and in some cases, the nation.  The school’s history in the community is long and distinguished.  Having schools of such renown is not unimportant to economic development efforts.  They are the best in class, something Scottsdale has always aspired to whether it’s golf tournaments, car auctions, preservation, the arts, flood control projects or its quality of life. 

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Sean Noble’s recent take on the solar industry as outlined in his blog Noble Thinking in an entry entitled "Failure to Launch" represents a failure to learn on the part of the author.

First a little background.  Nevada recently pulled the plug on “net metering” which requires utilities to pay the retail rate for the excess electricity rooftop solar customers send to the grid.

Hundreds of solar related jobs are being lost in Nevada as a result. That’s something the pro-utility crowd seems to forget as they do a victory lap.

Noble and the pro-utility crowd falsely label this a subsidy.

Net metering is commerce, it’s not a subsidy. Net metering enables rooftop solar customers to generate extra power to offset their electricity bills. These people pay the retail rate for their electricity, why shouldn’t they receive the retail rate for the power they send back to the grid.

And while we are on the topic of subsidies, the fossil fuel industry is one of the most subsidized industries in the United States.  That’s a talking point often ignored by the utilities and their camp followers.

Another misconception is that net metering burdens non solar customers because it can reduce utility profits. The same could be said for double pain windows, attic insulation, or a good shade tree.

In reality, solar benefits utilities (and the paying public) in the long run by reducing the need for additional power plants.

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By Michael Crow

Dear friends of ASU,

As we enter an exciting new year of excellence at Arizona State University, I want to call your attention to just how momentous 2015 was in the evolution of our New American University. We set milestones in research, accessibility and achievement throughout our learning enterprise, and for service to our local and global communities.

Most visibly, ASU was ranked #1 among the Most Innovative Schools in the nation for 2016 by U.S. News & World Report - a ranking conferred by our peers, the leaders of other universities. The world is talking about ASU, and it will greatly benefit our efforts to support the success of our students when you talk about us as well.

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Not to channel Hillary Clinton but it does seem women often endure a double standard in the political arena.  Donald Trump’s campaign theatrics make him a “leader,” “entertaining,” and “commanding.”  Imagine if a woman acted so.  “Bitch” would be the most frequently used term.  Like it was when Christine Jones ran for Governor in 2014.  Others have avoided such labels with disarming traits:  Brenda Burns (principle).  Janet Napolitano (smarts).  Kyrsten Sinema (humor).

And that leads us to the tony town of Paradise Valley and one Maria Syms.  She burst onto the scene in 2012 and a combustible race against the person who defeated her for Mayor, Scott Lemarr.

The electorate did not doubt her spirit but let’s just say the marketplace felt a little Christine Jones about her post-election.

What a difference a few years makes.

She was elected to the Paradise Valley Town Council.  She was tapped by Attorney General Mark Brnovich to be a top advisor.  She matriculated through the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and is a graduate of a U.S. Attorney’s Office.   She’s a mom, wife, and articulate defender of community character and the resonance of resorts.

The right and recalibrated combination of sass, class and charisma has positioned Syms towards a broad political horizon.  Who knows where she goes from here, but it’s pretty impressive where she’s already been, and is.

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The success of recent Scottsdale efforts to fund city improvements with new general obligation bonds isn’t great.  Indeed, a merry band of opponents defeated all of the bond requests several years back and only two passed during the latest effort in 2015.

The campaigns in suppIMG_0638ort of the requests were wayward, but something more fundamental was at play too.  Opponents prosecuted what amounted to a transparency and trust argument.  You can’t trust City Hall and the tricksters there that are trying to hide secret funding items the rhapsody goes.

The trust thrust was and is misguided.  After all, to question the integrity of people like Jim Lane, Virginia Korte, David Smith et al is akin to questioning the very definition of conscientious service.  And the public knows it as demonstrated by their regard for the job the City of Scottsdale is doing.

But when it comes to the transparency of the bond proposals opponents had a point.  In lumping specific projects into broader categories such as Parks, Public Safety or Transportation the city didn’t do anything that other cities don’t. But most other cities don’t have as discerning or attentive electorate as Scottsdale.  Bond opponents argued each spending request – a fire station in the north, a road project on Hayden, etc.  – should be allowed an up or down vote.  That’s not unlike how judges appear on ballots in Arizona.  We don’t vote for judges en masse or as a block.  We do so individually.

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Scottsdale is on a roll. While no community can expect a sunny headlines all the time, let’s just say these past few weeks have been very, very good to Scottsdale.

The Phoenix Business Journal put out an article that says Scottsdale is one of the best places in the United States for a startup business.Scottsdale-Sign-547x198

Reporter Haley Ringle wrote, “This is no surprise to the Phoenix Business Journal since our reporters often drive out to Scottsdale to talk to thriving businesses and startups.”

You can read the complete story here.

The other sunny shoe dropped in the Arizona Republic which reported Scottsdale is taking in record amounts of sales tax revenue thanks to sporting events and a tourist trade that keeps expanding. It was a very good year with local tax revenues hitting $258.9 million.

Here is a link to the rest of the story.

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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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