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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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He Chuckled Like Jabba The Hut Before He Killed Citizen Rights

Avid Star Wars fans will remember Jabba The Hutt’s laughter at the beginning of Return of the Jedi.

That’s the way many probably feel after reading former Scottsdale City Councilman, defeated State Legislative candidate and current Scottsdale Mayoral candidate Bob Littlefield’s recent tome.

After resembling Grumpy during the early days of his quixotic quest to join his wife on the Scottsdale City Council, Littlefield proffers a sunnier disposition outlining some of the things that are good about Scottsdale before assigning responsibility alone to residents – not businesses – who helped make them happen. Jabba_the_Hutt

President Obama is in Cuba this week.  Littlefield’s reasoning reminds us a bit of Che Guevara. Or Bernie Sanders, who was in Phoenix this week.  People good.  Business bad.  It sounds more like Sweden than Scottsdale. 

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As soon as Willard “Mitt” Romney was elected Governor of Massachusetts he began running for President.  After losing the GOP nomination in 2008 he immediately started running again.  After being the nominee in 2012 he lost a winnable general election.  Then he started calling upon his inner Adlai Stevenson (a 3-time loser for the Democratic nomination for President) and quietly embarked on plans for a third Oval Office run. mitt-romney-35df95759d8b8e46

But then the early Jeb Bush juggernaut – to be confused with the later “low energy” WASP -- scared him out.

But that hasn’t stopped the wily Willard, always on the look out for himself.  After enthusiastically embracing Donald Trump in 2012 Wily Willy now sees opposition to him as a bank shot to the banks of the Potomac. These efforts continue on the eve of Arizona's presidential primary as well as one in Utah.  

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By Scottsdale City Councilwoman Suzanne Klapp

There is little about City Council meetings that I cannot tolerate. I support freedom of speech and welcome people to come to the City Kiva and express their opinions about many subjects. My patience is very well established. klapp

Fault me if you want, but enough is enough when a Satanist group, not even based in Scottsdale, wants to disrupt our meetings by giving an invocation to the entire Council meeting audience. And it is certain this will be a disruption.

The group applied to come to the meeting in April, then backed off when the city administration approved the request. It was obvious the group was just testing our response. We had a slight reprieve, until they came back with another request recently and were given July 6 as the date to be at the Council meeting.

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By Former Scottsdale City Councilwoman Betty Drake

Scottsdale, the “West’s Most Western Town,” is a place with a long tradition of welcoming and supporting the horse community. From its earliest days, there were horse ranches, horse shows, polo, rodeo, horse communities and horse trainers, many right in the middle of residential areas. Horses are part of Scottsdale’s image and culture.

Today, people lament erosion of the horse community in Scottsdale, as horse ranches leave and equestrian properties are subdivided. Areas of the city where traditionally horse ownership was high and local trails maintained are being eroded, with people moving in who block off the trails, do not own horses and often object to those who do.
The neighborhood where the Najafi Ranch is proposed has been a treasure for horse-lovers. Many people keep horses on their properties. There’s a community horse arena at Mescal Park and remnants of the internal trail system. Throughout the neighborhood, though, horse properties are being replaced with homes you could find anywhere in town. The area is in danger of losing its unique history and identity.

There have been many horse ranch and training facilities located within residential areas of Scottsdale. I have kept horses at some of these and have taken lessons at others over my 45+ years in the Valley, 30 of those years spent in Scottsdale. Look at Flying Fox Farm, Heitel Ranch, Jeffrey Wilms Training, and Camelot Farms. Looking along the Cactus Corridor.

Sandspur, at Cactus and 93rd Street, is a large facility that has been there many years, with arenas right next to single-family non-horsey homes. I boarded there and it was wonderful to be able to drive less than 10 minutes to ride. At one point it was rezoned as a subdivision but a horse-loving individual bought the property so the equine uses could remain. Other properties along Cactus have not been so lucky.

Pretty Penny Ranch was a large boarding and training ranch located in a residential area. When Pretty Penny announced that it was closing so the land could be turned into a subdivision, the horse community was up in arms.

Piece by piece. Property by property. The horses are being squeezed out of Scottsdale.

I’m a life-long horse person who just plain hates to see this happen. I can’t understand why the horse people aren’t storming the public hearings demanding that the Najafi Ranch be approved. Sure, 52 horses sounds like a lot on paper, but go look at a training barn with that many horses. It’s a reasonable number. It’s two barns.

I’ve known Francis Najafi for over 20 years. He’s a guy who does things right. There will be state-of-the-art dust control, fly control, construction and maintenance. As is typical of training ranches, a capable, professional manager will live on-property to assure that the highest standards are maintained. Najafi Ranch will be a magnificent, showcase facility, a considerable investment in our horse community and a statement that the City is committed to preserving Scottsdale’s signature horse culture.

 

 

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Are all developer requests for rezonings good?  Of course not.  But nor are they all bad as Scottsdale’s current and former councilmembers Kathy Littlefield, Bob Littlefield and Guy Phillips often wax ineloquent.

Take this article in today’s Scottsdale Republic.  The revitalization of McDowell Road has perplexed city planners and authorities for years.  But progress is finally at hIMG_0604and.  From SkySong to Fate Brewing Company to this new effort at 64th Street and McDowell to transform shuttered car dealerships into a mixed-use project.  What an exciting time for the corridor.

The developer behind the Entrada plan and property is one of Arizona’s wealthiest individuals.  He’s realizing as others have understood that this parcel, this area, is both blessed and underappreciated.

A quick shot west on McDowell takes you to the Loop 202.  A bit further east is the 101.  Across the street is Papago Park.  And the Desert Botanical Garden.  And the Phoenix Zoo.  And the Papago Golf Course.  Just further south is the old Phoenix Municipal Stadium and the new home of ASU baseball.  Mill Avenue is a short drive away as is the energy of downtown Scottsdale.  Be in the middle of it all isn’t a marketing slogan, it’s reality. 

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*The property currently housing The Saguaro Hotel in downtown Scottsdale may be on the market

*His new Mission?  Chef extraordinaire Matt Carter is said to be joining forces with Scottsdale restaurant and bar Hall of Famer Mark Drinkwater for a new venture at Scottsdale & Lincoln

*Want to live at the new Ritz-Carlton Paradise Valley?  The project’s first advertisements debuted locally last week

*With State Representative Justin Olson’s decision  to challenge Senate President Andy Bigg’s run to replace retiring U.S.Congressman Matt Salmon it means Governor Doug Ducey will have all-new legislative leadership to deal with next year as Olson was the presumptive Speaker to be. 

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By nearly all accounts Arizona State Senator Debbie Lesko is an impressive public servant.  She takes on tough issues like pension reform.  And she gets results.  That’s why her peers are rightfully considering her along with Steve Yarbrough and John Kavanagh to succeed Andy Biggs as the next State Senate President.

She’s conservative without being crazy.  All this being said her philosophical inconsistency on one matter is loco, though impressively supple.

Amidst the current legislative session we are glad to see her sponsoring legislation preventing cities from curtailing Airbnb rentals.  After all, she argues, people should have the right to choose where they stay and homeowner’s likewise should be able to enjoy sharing economy property rights.  Her mooring on the subject is surely related to her affinity for school and health care choice.

Yet, Lesko’s impressive fidelity to conservatively rooted choice breaks down when it comes to energy matters.  There she untethers herself from consistency.  On this subject she strangely travels to the likes of TEP and Arizona Public Service who have somehow convinced her to pay no attention to the ideological droids she would mostly look for when it comes to solar choice.

How does one argue for all the matters above yet sponsor a strangulation of Arizona solar via new legislation SB1417 as one of her measures does, at the same time she touts Airbnb or a statewide voucher plan? 

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Every day we go to work to make money or make a difference.  Those who work in our national parks, monuments and forests likely fall into the latter category.  They are there to be the custodians of God’s creativity and grace.  Getting to work at Grand Canyon National Park or the adjoining Kaibab National Forrest is the pinnacle, for many, of such dedication. provencio

There, everyone from rangers to superintendents is reminded of what President Theodore Roosevelt once said about the area:

“In the Grand Canyon, Arizona has a natural wonder which is in kind absolutely unparalleled throughout the rest of the world. I want to ask you to keep this great wonder of nature as it now is. I hope you will not have a building of any kind, not a summer cottage, a hotel or anything else, to mar the wonderful grandeur, the sublimity, the great loneliness and beauty of the canyon. Leave it as it is. You cannot improve on it. The ages have been at work on it, and man can only mar it.” 

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He was so influential and impactful while head of the Scottsdale Cultural Council he was referred to as the “8th councilman.”

And judging by this recent article in the Phoenix New Times, Scottsdale needs someone like Frank Jacobson now.  Big time.

We’re not as dour as the New Times.  After all, Scottsdale’s public art program remains second to no Valley city.  And emerging events like Canal Convergence – or this weekend’s Scottsdale Arts Festival -- remind us of Scottsdale’s artistic soul, and how it can be enriched further.

There’s no doubt Scottsdale remains a great arts city.  But there’s also no doubt that online sales, recent economic challenges and even accusations that special events hurt galleries are challenging the city’s private and public cultural scene too.  

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As Mitt Romney laid early plans for a 2008 presidential run he was spending a lot of time in Arizona.  To raise money.  And to pin rival John McCain down in his home state more than he would have liked.

Romney sought a key endorsement:  Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.  He got it.  Arizona.  Iowa.  Whatever the Romney campaign needed “America’s Toughest Sheriff” was there.  While Arpaio and McCain have hardly been close over the years going against your state’s U.S. Senator isn’t a political move without consequence.

Romney lost the primary to McCain in 2008, then became buddies with him. Nothing wrong with that.  But there was a few years later when Romney treated Arpaio during his 2012 efforts like a leper, so as not to upset McCain. 

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Scottsdale is the “West’s Most Western Town” but some neighbors (hardly all) want to stop that notion west of Scottsdale Road, along Cactus.

As we have written about before there is the place a renowned businessman and his wife hope to build an equestrian paradise on six acres called Rancho Paraiso.

It seems a natural fit for a community that has lost a few Stetsons in recent years.  But some neighbors are actually opposing the first-class facility because 50 horses there sand spurwould create too much “poop.”  That’s not a joke. In an area dominated by horse properties that collectively stable hundreds of horses they are actually complaining about steaming nuggets.

That’s a little like someone living in the desert complaining about coyotes.  Whoops, we already have one of those neighbors poignantly picked apart by this recent opinion piece in the Arizona Republic. Here is a link.  Perhaps Seth Gortler and Todd Eden will oppose the McDowell Sonoran Preserve next.

More equestrian properties in Scottsdale are a good thing. Indeed, a massive horse property on Cactus east of the 101 called Sandspur Ranch is the anchor of that area.  It has a whopping 205  horse stalls as opposed to the 52 proposed at “Najafi Ranch.”  It’s been there for decades.  And guess what?  When it sought to expand in 1987 how many complaints were there?  Zero.  How many complaints are there about the property now?  Zero.

How many complaints will there be about a premier equestrian facility like Rancho Paraiso after it opens?  Zero.  But that’s not what will happen to property values.  They will rise. And Scottsdale’s western heritage will be enriched.  Just as it has been with Sandspur Ranch.

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Many times we side with neighbors fighting the good and necessary fight against developer overreach.

But as we have opined already the bizarre activism by some neighbors against an enrichment of the Cactus Corridor defies common sense.  But we do appreciate their reminding us of pop culture.

For across the street of one of the nicest equestrian ranches ever proposed in Scottsdale along Cactus just west of Scottsdale Road is this interesting abode.  It best resembles the set of Sanford & Son.   fockers

See it for yourself.  That any neighborhood wouldn’t want the promise and pending platitudes of  Rancho Paraiso (we won’t refer to it as neighbors do as “Najafi Ranch” which is a not so subtle slur of the proponent’s Iranian heritage) to if nothing else distract from this community
zit is stunning.

And by all appearances the westerly way of Scottsdale’s Cactus Corridor needs reinvestment as Rancho Paraiso promises.  The area has become a rude stepchild to the adults of the eastern Cactus Corridor.  There horse country is beautiful and obvious.  There one property four times the size of Rancho Paraiso anchors the area.  Sandspur Ranch is their Wrigley Manson.

But a few irascible neighbors want to run it away.  Bizarre, because within their midst – only one block from tfockers2he site – is the Liberty Wildlife Rehabilitation Center.

It’s there that indigenous birds, raptors and wildlife are repaired and sent back to their worlds.  The operation’s noble work is why they are supporting the rehabilitation and recreation proposed at Rancho Paraiso.  For horses.  It’s odd that a neighborhood of horse properties would discriminate against equine, yet apparently have no problem with Liberty Wildlife.

Then again, perhaps they are more comfortable with shrieks and sounds emanating from wildlife refuge.  Because that’s what they will get in the form of hundreds of kids at a new charter school on the six acres in question, if the refined ranch called is turned away April 5th.

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By David Gowan

When I was first elected to Arizona House of Representatives, it didn’t take long for my principles to collide head on with the broken political status quo.

You see, this was back in 2009. Governor Napolitano had just left office, and my class of newly-elected conservative colleagues and I were eager to get to work on scaling back the state’s bloated budget and bureaucracy.

Those plans were quickly dashed though, when the liberal Republican leadership dropped its own pork-laden budget bill on our desks and demanded our votes.

We were told, in essence, to stand down. To set aside our principles and campaign promises, and go along with their plan. We were even threatened with retaliation if we refused.

But refuse we did, because it was the right thing to do for the people of Arizona. We held out and in the end we prevailed, achieving deeper spending cuts.

That’s how Arizona’s Liberty Caucus was born… and seven years later, I am tremendously proud to serve as one of its leaders and as the Speaker of the Arizona House.

Over time we grew our ranks to put an END to that broken political status quo in Arizona. And we’ve gotten tremendous things done in recent years, from balancing the state budget and cutting burdensome regulations to getting greater control over illegal immigration to protecting the Second Amendment and the rights of the unborn.

Now I am running for Congress to bring that same effective conservative leadership to Washington, D.C.

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By Marco Rubio

On Saturday night at the debate, I dropped the ball. I want you to know that will never happen again.

We are heading to South Carolina, Nevada and beyond. Make no mistake: We are going to win this nomination.

Throughout my life, I've known tough times. In New Hampshire last night, I told the story of how when I was young, at one point, my father lost his job as an apartment manager and my family had to move out of our Miami apartment, all in the same week. He had to move clear across the country to Las Vegas to look for work, and the job he finally found, after 20 years as a bartender who'd finally moved his way up a bit, had him starting from scratch again as a busboy.

I know how to come from behind. We're going to show America what leadership and a vision for a New American Century look like.

If you heard what Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton said last night, you know the stakes: If one of them wins this fall, they will keep up President Obama's efforts to change our country beyond recognition.

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Phoenix, AZ – After hearing of Senator Driggs’ decision to not pursue a fourth term in the Arizona Senate, Kate Brophy McGee announced her intention to run for the newly vacated seat with the following statement:
BROPHY_MCGEE
“Senator Driggs and his family have had a long and distinguished career in public service for our great state. Senator Driggs has served his constituents in LD28 loyally and tirelessly. He has always served in the Legislature with integrity, nobility, and dignity. I’m proud of Senator Driggs’ accomplishments. In that legacy of strong, principled leadership, I am announcing my candidacy for the LD28 Senate. I am deeply grateful for Senator Driggs’ endorsement to kick off my campaign.

This is an important race for Arizona. I am ready, enthusiastic and prepared, and fully committed to winning this campaign and continuing my dedicated service to this state and my district. The campaign will focus on the issues that matter to Arizonans, and seek to build on the recent progress we have made in the economy, education, and providing for our most vulnerable citizens. We need a Senator who is able to work with the Republican majority and the Governor to advance sound public policy.”

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Polling shows that Trump and Clinton hold national-primary leads in a volatile and upset electorate.

By John McLaughlin & Jim McLaughlin - January 21, 2016

The latest results from our national survey of 1,007 likely voters conducted between Thursday, January 14, and Monday, January 18, shows that the voters are very upset and quite unhappy, and they want change. At the top of their respective primaries remain Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

The poll included 457 voters - 383 Democrats and 74 Independents - who would vote in the Democratic primary. It also included 421 voters - 322 Republicans and 98 Independents - who would vote in the Republican primary.

Among Republican primary voters, Trump led with 36 percent followed by Cruz 17 percent, Rubio 11 percent, Carson 9 percent, Bush 6 percent, Paul 5 percent, Christie 4 percent, Kasich 3 percent, Fiorina 2 percent, Huckabee 2 percent, Santorum 1 percent, and 6 percent undecided.

However, virtually all these primary voters had a second choice. Among the total, their second choice was Cruz 22 percent, Rubio 14 percent, Bush 11 percent, Trump 10 percent, Carson 10 percent, Fiorina 6 percent, Christie 6 percent, Huckabee 6 percent, Paul 5 percent, Kasich 2 percent, and Santorum 1 percent. It was clear that Ted Cruz has the most upside potential, followed by Marco Rubio, while only one in ten who currently aren't voting for Trump see him as a second choice.

The great caveat will be that there is no national primary day. Instead as each state votes, the results could influence the next state primary and the national vote, as candidates gain or lose momentum.

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By Democrats For Education Reform

It’s no secret that Arizona’s public schools are hurting for state support. Over the past eight years, our schools have suffered some of the deepest cuts of any school systems in the nation. It is with this in mind that Democrats for Education Reform supports Proposition 123, which will be on the May special election ballot.

While we are fully supporting Proposition 123, Democrats for Education Reform wants to be very clear about one thing: Proposition 123 is not the solution to Arizona’s school funding woes, it is only the beginning. We agree with the Senate and House Democrats, as well as educational advocates across the state, in that Arizona needs to have a much larger conversation about both adequately funding and improving our public schools.

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by State Senator Katie Hobbs

Last Monday, as the legislative session began, the Arizona Legislative Democrats unveiled our priorities for the state. We have a clear vision for improving our state by making strategic investments to strengthen our economy, create jobs, and improve our schools.

First and foremost, we know that restoring the voter-mandated inflation funding with the lawsuit settlement in Prop 123 (to be voted on in a special election in May) is just the start when it comes to re-investing in K12 education. We have to keep good teachers from leaving Arizona, and we propose mentoring and retention incentives for our best teachers. We also need to restore building renewal funds and bring our classrooms up to date with materials and technology.

We must also re-invest in our higher education system for Arizona to remain competitive in the 21st century. We have the ability to restore at least half of the $99 million in cuts to the state universities that were made in year’s budget.

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