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The Conservative's Corner
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2018 Scrum

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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MSNBC Host Rachel Maddow is really liberal. And annoying. And she’s a partisan. But one can’t say she doesn’t bring it with passion. It’s worthy of respect even while it reminds those not like-minded why we are right.

That’s why a shout out is in order for SeeingRedAZ.com, one of the most influential and longest-running political blogs in Arizona. Its espousals are not moderate. Opinions were and always are conservative.

And even as the house has caved in on SB1062 – and Republicans run for cover – there stands SeeingRedAz, defending the policy. Proudly.

Theirs is a small gun in war that has been lost. But thank goodness they are there, adding to the debate. They make one think, just as Maddow does, but unlike her they are more often right than wrong. Just not on this one.

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*Restaurant and bar impresario Mark Drinkwater is re-entering the business at Scottsdale & Lincoln in a building that used to house a breakfast joint and, after that, a failed Italian concept.

*Arizona Governor Doug Ducey raised money last week through the mail for southern Arizona Congresswoman Martha McSally.  This week he is doing it for Congressman Trent Franks at a reception in Phoenix.  And rural Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar will be in the Northeast Valley this week too, raising dough at an event at Salt River Fields.

*We’re surprised recent polling shows Senate President Andy Biggs as close to former Mesa Mayor Scott Smith in a potential East Valley congressional race match-up.  If the two do run against each other it will be one of the better GOP primary match-ups in recent memory.

*Judging from his latest attempt to skewer Phoenix Councilman Michael Nowakowski over a Phoenix land deal Arizona Republic reporter Dustin Gardiner seems more inclined to be an agent for a rival bidder than an objective, journalistic overlord.  The real issues about the city real estate are real simple.  Who is paying the most for the land?  And do they have the track record and resource to pull it off?  Phoenix City Manager Ed Zuercher made a controversial decision to quash the last bid process for a very important project toward downtown Phoenix’s continuing momentum. It’s hard to believe that Zuercher won’t preside over an impeccable process.  Controversy over the plans to date will be child’s play if the top bidder is again upended by others looking to not be so kind to taxpayers. 

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As Mayor Jim Lane said in his 2012 re-election campaign Scottsdale is the best city in America.  Hyperbole took him one step further in last week’s State of the City when he called his community “the best city in the world.”

But even great cities have changes and challenges.  For “The West’s Most Western Town” it has been to keep some cowboy in the community.  Market forces and even things like estate taxes have displaced or removed such places as Rawhide, Greasewood Flat and Pinnacle Peak Patio.  Yet, Scottsdale’s ultimate symbol of the West – its spectacular Sonoran Desert – has become the McDowell Sonoran Preserve.  Man-made outposts have retreated but its God given one has expanded.    And after years of talk this Scottsdale City Council acted to create the nationally recognized Museum of the West.

To help preserve its cowboy culture Scottsdale wisely designated years ago the “Cactus Corridor” for horse privileges and ranches.  It was smart then.  It’s prescient now.

That’s why we’re confounded by the neighborhood opposition to an impressive new ranch just west of Scottsdale Road along Cactus.  Proposed by renowned developer Francis Najafi and his wife Dionne it is an impressive affirmation of all things equestrian in the corridor.  Rather than see cowboy country emigrate from the city this is a full-throttle immigration of it.

Speaking of immigration, neighbors conspicuously voice opposition to “Najafi Ranch.”  We hope that’s not a Trump-like derogation of a person from Iran who came to this country speaking no English and who is now an American success story. 

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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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Virginia Korte, life-long Valley resident and career-long advocate for a better Scottsdale, announced today that she will seek another term on the Scottsdale City Council.

“I am proud of what we accomplished during my first term on City Council, but there is so much more that must get done for our community” the veteran leader said.

“Over the past four years, Scottsdale has made significant strides in ensuring that our roads are safe and the necessities that allow our city to be great are nurtured and protected,” Korte says. “At the council’s insistence, city staff reduced staffing levels by 13 percent, or 377 employees, eliminated unnecessary services, consolidated work spaces, and sold unneeded buildings.”

Korte said her goals during a second term are to sustain the qualities that make Scottsdale a great place to do business and create jobs, while ensuring that all residents have an opportunity to benefit from those amenities and participate in creating a great city. Korte also knows education is a critical tool for economic development and to enhance Scottsdale’s future. Korte chaired the 2014 successful “Yes to Children” campaign to renew Scottsdale Unified School District’s budget override and remains an advocate for Scottsdale’s schools.

Korte hails from a family that is tightly woven into the fabric of a city that ranks among the best places to live in the world.

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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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