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2018 Scrum

Why is the Governor, aka The Artist Formerly Known as a Stalwart Conservative, so fixated on raising taxes? It’s a complete mystery. Governor Jan Brewer’s office and her Department of Revenue both responded yesterday to questions of exactly why they want to slam the state’s solar customers with a higher property tax, and their excuses were breathtakingly unconvincing.

The arguments are so lame that we’re forced to assume that she’s not protecting people from the tax because she doesn’t feel like it. Which is cool, after all she doesn’t have solar, and if her party takes a hit this Fall because Arizona’s retirees and homeowners are fundamentally opposed to tax hikes, so what? She’s outta here…. Anyway, let’s take a look at the blather:

1) Excuse: 2014 Governor Brewer can’t stand 2009 Governor Brewer.
“This equipment is being used to generate electricity for sale,” [Dept of Revenue spokesman Sean Laux] said. And that, he said, means they legally are no different for tax purposes than a power plant, solar or otherwise, owned by a utility. – East Valley Tribune, 6/5/14
First, it’s really weird to say a Glendale home with some solar panels and a trampoline out back is anywhere near the same category as a nuclear power plant. I mean, should the radio in my kitchen be subject to the same regulations as a nightclub? They are, as this Dept of Revenue guy would point out, both used to generate music.
Regardless, in 2009 when Jan Brewer had a hunch that solar was the perfect Arizona industry—and turned out to be right-- she said very clearly that rooftop solar was not like these other things, and that regular folks and the nascent solar industry should not pay industrial-level taxes. Small government, pro-business, all that good stuff.
Now her office says they don’t want to “strong arm” her own Department of Revenue to get them to simply abide by Governor Brewer 2009.
That makes no sense.

2) Excuse: We must tax solar customers because… solar panels work when turned on.

Not to delve too deep in the weeds here, but the Department of Revenue’s argument for why solar should pay a property tax is that utilities pay the tax based on the fact that they sell power. Therefore, because solar leasing companies also sell power, they conclude, they too should be taxed.

Except for one thing: solar leasing companies don’t sell power at all—they lease the equipment, and the solar customers receive whatever benefit may come from using that equipment.

Jan_Brewer 3It may seem convoluted, but it’s also the law, and the Department of Revenue is pushing an interpretation that has no legal basis.

But the Department of Revenue’s Sean Laux does not care about no stinkin’ law, and insists it is not an equipment lease because….err, the solar equipment works:
“And they guarantee it and will actually pay you if it doesn't” provide those results. “So it sounds to us as if you are paying for a certain number of kilowatts.” – East Valley Tribune, 6/5/14

By this logic, if you sell a TV and guarantee that it will work for three years, you’re not selling a TV, you’re selling time itself.
Sounds legit.

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Cave Creek, Arizona – Republican candidate for Governor, Arizona businessman and education consultant, and former U.S. Congressman Frank Riggs today filed more than 10,400 signatures with the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office to qualify for the ballot.riggs

In less than four months, the Riggs campaign collected almost double the 5660 signatures needed to qualify for the ballot. "No other candidate collected as many signatures in such a short period of time," Riggs' campaign manager Darcie Johnston said. "We thank all of our grassroots volunteers and supporters around the state who made this possible."

Riggs said. “There may be a big field in the Republican primary for governor, but I’m the proven, tested and trusted candidate for Governor. I offer a clear choice and new direction for Arizona. I will stop the 'Obamanization of Arizona' by repealing Common Core and rolling back the unsustainable expansion of Medicaid."

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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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After serving on the Scottsdale City Council nearly 3 decades ago when he basically saved the Cactus League from extinction Jim Bruner was elected to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors.

Well regarded and well liked Bruner was the prohibitive favorite for an attractive new congressional district.  Then Jerry Colangelo got to thinking about bringing Major League Baseball to town.  Then Colangelo tapped into a latent state law allowing the Board of Supervisors to authorize a county-wide sales tax to fund a new baseball stadium.

The public erupted in opposition, despite Colangelo’s monumental success with the Phoenix Suns at the time.

Bruner became the deciding vote.  The choice was awful:  fund a stadium and bring a new franchise to town or so alienate Republican primary voters that your congressional hopes would die.  Bruner made the tougher choice.  And the Valley has forever been enriched thanks to his selflessness.

But that wasn’t the end of Bruner’s civic service.  Yes, he finished a distant third in that 1994 GOP primary but people like Bruner and their insatiable appetite for service and advancement are what propel communities forward. 

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Among the many reasons for attending a college or university is problem solving.  They teach it.  And you’re supposed to learn it, directly and indirectly through maturation and matriculation.

Here in the Valley Arizona State University doesn’t just teach it, they lead by example.

When revitalization of the old Los Arcos Mall site at Scottsdale and McDowell Roads became intractable, in stepped ASU for what has become SkySong.

Downtown Phoenix can’t get beyond sports facilities and government buildings?  No problem.  ASU there expanded to create a new urban core vibrancy.

When Arizona’s most celebrated graduate school, Thunderbird, engaged in a high-stakes intramural scrimmage that threatened the existence of the celebrated problems ASU took over to keep the school flying high. 

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*With the retirement of long-time Maricopa County Supervisor Andy Kunasek, Phoenix City Councilman Bill Gates becomes the prohibitive favorite in the race to replace.  It will be interesting to see if anyone of significance steps forward for what may be a fool’s mission.

*Celebrity pollster Frank Luntz will be making a Paradise Valley appearance this week at a fundraiser benefiting U.S. Senator John McCain.

*Weird and conspicuous that Scottsdale City Councilwoman Kathy Littlefield was the only member of the body not participating in Mayor Lane’s State of the City last week.  It would be very bad form if she intentionally skipped it because her husband Bob has embarked on a long-shot challenge to Lane.

*Construction has started for the highly anticipated Postino’s in downtown Scottsdale. It will be located in one of the area’s most distinctive buildings, across from Scottsdale Fashion Square, in a building recently purchased by Valley billionaire Bill Levine.

*Backers of a possible third, first-class arena in the Valley may not appreciate what abandoning one in Glendale could mean to the market.  The Phoenix area is already saturated with two top notch sports cathedrals not to mention an indoor football facility, numerous spring training stadiums, Wells Fargo Arena at ASU and even the old Madhouse on McDowell.  Pricing between Talking Stick and Gila River Arena is already fierce for special events, concerts and the like.  Without an anchor tenant and screaming businesses next door,  Gila River Arena will be giving away the place creating business havoc for all of the area’s venues.

*Few local elected officials exude such class as Gilbert Mayor John Lewis.  He’s a great catch for the East Valley Partnership, the organization he’ll soon be joining.

*The most powerful opinion piece of the week was this one by Arizona Republic columnist Laurie Roberts. Here is a link.  If you’ve never been to the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center way out Northeast Valley way, go.  There cares one of the most benevolent people in the Valley. She, and the property, are a last refuge for some of God’s greatest creations.  Roberts’ article describes a NIMBY who will live in activist infamy.  Fortunately, people like Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Chucri are stepping up to ensure Dr. Evil aka as Dr. Gortler doesn’t get his way. 

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We are fans of what Scottsdale Fashion Square is seeking to redevelop and stay relevant in a rapidly changing retail landscape.  But it is a lot.  While Mayor Lane and others have turned off the subsidy spigots for developers generous heights are another form of the same. shopping 2

That’s why the Scottsdale City Council shouldn’t simply be acquiescent obligers.  They should be part of an innovative approach to the sizable request.

Here’s an idea.  Scottsdale’s Museum of the West has reinforced a general well-being for the largely western art galleries along downtown’s Main Street.  The same can’t be said of the more contemporary ones along Marshall Way or elsewhere in downtown.  Periodic arts events like Canal Convergence are good.  Permanent, successful galleries are better.  Unfortunately there are fewer of them in downtown today beyond Main Street.

This is where Scottsdale Fashion Square comes in.  The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMOCA) is an interesting building but its size and location make it more cute than impressive. 

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Today’s bombshell announcement that popular and principled U.S. Congressman Matt Salmon would not seek re-election is a political earthquake in Arizona Republican circles.  Kudos poured in from diverse voices such as Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Kyrsten Sinema.  All of the kind words are deserved. MattSalmonRepArizona

Now attention will turn to Salmon’s possible replacement.  Whoever wins the GOP primary in August will be the presumptive congressperson as the district is solidly trunk and tusk.

The silver medalist to Salmon the last time around, Kirk Adams, would be a formidable candidate.  A former Speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives and current Chief of Staff to popular Governor Doug Ducey, Adams has the brains, resume and money raising ability to go the distance.  Senate President Andy Biggs will also be a top contender by virtue of his title and immediate backing by Salmon.  He also has his own money by virtue of winning a sweepstakes contest – no joke.  How much he is willing to spend remains to be seen.  Add Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Chucri and House Appropriations Chairman Justin Olson as impressive potentials too. 

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Several weeks ago it seemed the demagogues were about to drive Scottsdale down by driving away the top school in the country and Scottsdale.  Economic developers in other cities were frothing: if the best city in the Valley said bye-bye to BASIS would or should any company say hello?

Then Governor Ducey weighed in . . . and the Wall Street Journal . . . and late today Attorney General Mark Brnovich.  Necessary legal threats were made.  Mayor Jim Lane showed leadership, bringing together neighbors and school backers.  Virginia Korte, once a skeptic, showed the temperament and prudence of a future Mayor. Councilwomen Klapp and Milhaven showed their usual, steely resolve.  Even those acting supremely demagogic previously, Smith and Littlefield came around in the end leaving only the confounding Guy Phillips.  He the supposed Tea Partier.  He the supposed constitutionalist.  As the lone vote against BASIS he ignored the law and in one issue transformed himself from Scalia to Sanders.  Council candidate rival Dan Schweiker will surely make him feel the burn in the upcoming election.

But for tonight there’s reason to celebrate that Scottsdale didn’t ultimately fumble and the adults stepped forward to govern, as they usually do in Arizona’s most dynamic city.

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This weekend Canal Convergence returns to the Scottsdale Waterfront. It’s a wonderful concept and celebration of Scottsdale ingenuity at its best.  Turning a non-descript waterway into a campus for capitalism and, periodically, the arts.  For this we can applaud Scottsdale Public Art.  For this.

But for two other reasons bureaucrats need to be held to account, or heads need to roll.

Why?

Several years ago Scottsdale City Councilwoman Linda Milhaven wisely spearheaded an appropriation to fund a dramatic new entry way to the Marshall Way arts district north of Indian School Road.  It’s an area that has struggled in recent years as salons have replaced galleries and Main Street has exerted its primacy.  

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In baseball a successful team needs good starting pitching and a good closer.  That’s how we view this editorial in today’s Wall Street Journal.  We started opining on the matter weeks ago.  But we can’t think of a better closing editorialist than the Wall Street Journal to lay bare what is now a national embarrassment for the city.  Hopefully, Scottsdale’s governing adults will end the ridicule Tuesday rather than allow our fine city to become a further laughingstock and defendants in a major lawsuit.

Issues with neighbors can be worked out.  Turning your back on the #1 charter school in America, the law, Governor Ducey, rumblings from the Attorney General’s Office, state lawmakers and the overwhelming constituency for a flagship BASIS campus? That’s how closers, and top cities, blow leads and their reputations.

Here is a link to the editorial.

 

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We don’t typically tout more government.  But Scottsdale is of the size and scope that more is needed.  And it would be one of the best reforms the city has ever adopted.  Here’s why.

Last we checked members of the Scottsdale City Council were paid $24,000 per year while the Mayor gets $36,000.  They are supposed to be “part-time” jobs.  Yeah, right. Scottsdale-Sign-547x198

Scottsdale is a big, thriving, complicated city.  It does not have a district system.  That means it’s pretty much up to everybody to work on everything.  Big-time development projects.  Contracts for major events.  Pensions. Law enforcement.  Budgets.  Our heads hurt just writing this.  Imagine if we had to govern it.

We left off an important job description:  constituent service.  Nowhere is this more important than at the local level, the government closest to the people.  Potholes.  Speed bumps.  Barking dogs.  Garbage service.  Code enforcement.  Litter. Landscaping.  Do the requests of and constituent complaints to municipal officials ever end? 

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We’d been hearing good things about new Scottsdale Unified School District Superintendent Denise Birdwell.  Like her moxy and focus on the destination, not the journey.  This stands in marked contrast to the recently departed David Peterson who etiolated the district.  And when this became apparent even to him Peterson bailed on his fellow bureaucrats, actually blaming two women on the School Board desirous of more accountability.  Remember when George H.W. Bush was famously called a wimp?  Peterson took it to a whole new level. And to where did Peterson flee?  A large construction contractor who contracted during his tenure to build millions of dollars worth of schools.

So, in  many ways, Birdwell and the district have nowhere to go but up.  And based on her recent comments in this Scottsdale Independent article about a proposed Basis charter school that has stirred up debate at 128th & Shea, north is exactly the direction Birdwell appears headed.

Birdwell didn’t just forcefully dispel some beliefs  Scottsdale Unified was stoking opposition to a flagship campus for the top ranked charter school in the country, she destroyed them.  Indeed, she basically said “bring it on.” We have always believed Scottsdale’s K-12 public schools offer the “ultimate choice.” Now it finally appears to have a leader to take that message forward.

More importantly, she showed character.  That’s more than we can say in this instance for two of Scottsdale’s typically stout councilmembers:  David Smith and Guy Phillips.

We recall (because they apparently don’t) that when sworn into office they committed to upholding the law.  Not the ones they agree with, all the laws.  We are particularly troubled by Tea Party Constitutionalist Phillips.  He surely supports a strict constitutionalist to replace Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court.  Yet, when it comes to honoring an unambiguous state law allowing this charter school to locate at this location Phillips goes all Ruth Bader Ginsburg. 

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What morons.

In this Age of Trump let’s dispense with editorial etiquette.

We’re talking about the grumblings over Scottsdale Fashion Square’s redevelopment plans.

Excuse us? IMG_6334

The beloved mall is facing an onslaught from online shopping. Barney’s is departing in a couple of months. Drive by 68th and Camelback and the Dillard’s parking lot. It looks like a ghost town. Restaurants are coming and going.

Critics of the retail behemoth act like it’s the age of Ricky Ricardo not Amazon and Apple.

If mall owners need more height and hotels to bolster the future give it to them. Fashion Square isn’t the little engine that could. It’s the locomotive for local sales tax dollars that funds the essence of Scottsdale’s quality of life. And it’s more important than ever. The Chapman Automotive Group is the latest group of car dealerships leaving McDowell Road. That will leave a city sales tax hole of millions annually.

Where will it be made up? By whom? The rosary beads of the nattering nabobs of nimwittedness?

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The momentum in downtowns Tempe and Phoenix is undeniable.  It represents good news for every Valley resident.  But let’s be honest.  What’s taking place in those two city centers is a little like watching Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa awhile back, not Willie Mays.

In Tempe, local taxpayers have forked over huge sums to create Town Lake.  After a slow start they are starting to see a return on investment with stunning new projects on its shores.

In Phoenix, one could lose count of the citizen’s largesse between Chase Field, Talking Stick Arena, the Phoenix Convention Center, light rail and Arizona State University’s downtown campus.   It might be a bit Denmark but a relentless (and generous) commitment to the city core has resulted in a recent tipping point.  One of the best exemplars of that recently was Barron Properties, it of the Greenhaus demolition on Roosevelt Row.  When asked if they would accept millions in city subsidies to alter its behavior it said it didn’t want or need such public assistance.  A developer not accepting a hand out?  “Copper Square” has arrived.

That brings us to Scottsdale.

Sure, some public money has been used to create a “Waterfront.”  But the bones were largely in place thanks to Salt River Project.  Its commitment to arts facilities is significant, but not altogether different than Tempe or Phoenix.

What makes Scottsdale’s success distinct is the stunning, accomplishing vision from the private sector.  It’s led by nightclub impresario turned developer extraordinaire Shawn Yari. 

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In Arizona having noteworthy names has often led to electoral success.  Democrat Paul Newman was elected to the Arizona Corporation Commission, even though he came from a small town in southern Arizona.

Then there was Sandra Kennedy, an African-American and former state legislator who put shamrocks on her campaign signs to suggest she was part of the famous family back east.  She won too.

And don’t forget Bob Stump who purportedly altered his name to that of a revered Arizona congressman.  It worked.  Stump was elected to the legislature and then the Arizona Corporation Commission.

So that brings us to Dan Schweiker, an executive with China Mist Tea Company.  He’s running for the Scottsdale City Council.  And who is the popular U.S. Congressman for the Scottsdale area?  David Schweikert.

 

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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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