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2018 Scrum

A recent article discussed fear within the Christian community that Christians were losing the culture war and would soon be losing their rights as well. The writer interviewed Jim Phillips, the senior pastor of North Greenwood Baptist Church, to find out why events are moving against Christians with such speed.

“Sadly, Christians have often wimped out and grown silent instead of being bolder for the Gospel,” he said. “Christians get subdued into thinking they’re not supposed to rise up.”

It was easy to be reminded of that quote as we watched virtually the entire Republican field for Governor run for the hills in the debate over SB1062, the religious liberties bill that was advocated for by the Center for Arizona Policy and was supported by 50 out of 53 Republicans in the legislature. Conservative Republicans supported the bill, but so did moderate Republicans like Frank Pratt, TJ Shope, John McComish, Steve Pierce, Bob Robson and Adam Driggs.

Upon passage however, Democratic lawmakers and their allies in the homosexual lobby kicked their public relations machines into high gear and the media happily engaged in a feeding frenzy to declare SB1062 the next SB1070. And why not? SB1070 was great for ratings!

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Arizona State Senator Michele Reagan is one of the most likable people in all of state politics. She has her own style and compelling nature that is refreshingly authentic in an age of political clones. Reagan has been a dynamic and effective representative for her district that covers much of Scottsdale.

And for years it has been known she has wanted to be Arizona’s next Secretary of State. And she would likely do a fine job. Screen-Shot-2013-10-30-at-10_34_40-AM2-78220_641x340

But sometimes in politics things just break against you. And when they do it’s OK to re-evaluate. And it should be the responsibility of a consultant to shoot straight rather than walk a candidate into a wall.

Let’s take stock.

Yesterday, Reagan reported having about $100,000 in cash on hand for her Republican primary run. That’s a new definition of pissing in the wind with the well-funded Wil Cardon facing her for the GOP nomination and Terry Goddard ready after that as one of the more formidable Democrats to ever pursue the post. And this amount very likely defers a good amount of campaign expenses relegating her real total to less than spun.

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So the Arizona Republican Party censured John McCain this past weekend. If they were hoping this would dissuade the senior senator from re-electing it may have had the opposite effect. After all, a man who withstood the Vietcong probably chuckles at the potbellies of rightward lunacy. They remind us that just because one can do something, doesn’t mean it is wise to do so. One Ted Cruz is just enough.McCain, John-012309-18421- 0004

Still, the Censurists do speak to the long-time detachment and disregard many Republicans have for John McCain. He is at once so damn impressive yet also such a petulant ass. The kind of guy that is both a great American symbol for resilience yet also one that would yell at the construction worker he hired for not building a monument to himself fast enough.

Evidence can be found in the numbers. Despite spending some $26 million in the 2010 Republican primary against J.D. Hayworth who raised a fraction of that amount McCain only won the Republican primary by a little more than 20 points. Fast forward to 2012 when Jeff Flake and Wil Cardon spent a relatively similar amount in that U.S. Senate primary but Flake won by 50 plus points.

And this gets us to a key point. The 2012 U.S. Senate race occurred at all because Jon Kyl decided three terms was enough; that others could carry on his good work, in their own way. And Arizona would be just fine. He left at the top of the Republican Senate world, like Bobby Jones atop the golf world some 80 plus years ago. He knew when it was time to leave. He knew there was more to life than title and ego.

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Billy Crystal watching Meg Ryan faking it was one of the most memorable movie scenes in recent memory.

It’s fair to say that’s how engaged Republican primary voters are feeling as they evaluate whether upstart Christine Jones is faking her espoused conservative bona fides or whether she really has the financial resources to become a player in the 2014 Arizona Governor’s race.  jones-governor

Fife Symington clearly had the personal dough to be competitive. He actually became an Arizona Governor. He wasn’t faking it. Buz Mills appeared to have the jack too, before pulling out of the 2010 Governor’s race because of the unique circumstances of SB1070.

Wil Cardon was soundly defeated for the U.S. Senate in 2012 but he too showed a real bank account. If Christine Jones doesn’t have the same depth she is an immediate also ran.

Judging from her very aggressive fundraising efforts we question how much there is really there. The 2013 financial reports due Friday should shed some light. But so too does a refresher course on Buz Mills’ effort.

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Tough on crime and tough on illegal immigration. That’s Andrew Thomas in a nutshell. What’s not to like? As a candidate for Governor, Thomas hopes to appeal to the most conservative voters in a split field and capture the GOP nomination. From there, he would look to ride the Republican voter registration advantage to a brand new office on the 9th Floor, from where he would wage war on corruption in the government and the judiciary. Light your torches!

But each news cycle’s coverage of settlements of lawsuits against Maricopa County related to Thomas’ conduct as County Attorney erodes confidence that Thomas is capable of winning a fight against corruption, not to mention an election.thomas_20100818180053_320_240

Thomas claims to have been hard on the trail of massive corruption within Maricopa County and for the sake of this post we are going to assume that he was sincere and correct. He indicted a lot of people for a lot of things. We can’t say they were guilty of anything though because they were not convicted. Seriously. Ever. Not any of them as near as we can tell. And we’ve really searched the news clippings hard. Was it because Thomas quit as County Attorney in the middle of these prosecutions to run for Attorney General? Or was it because the indictments and investigations were a really bad idea? Or were they simply really badly executed?

Based just on the number and size of the checks Maricopa County is writing to settle lawsuits filed by the “victims” of these acts, we’re going to concede it might be any or all of the above.

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We all remember the sound of Charlie Brown’s teacher, that muffled, mumbling sound no one could much listen to for longer.

That’s the way just about every Republican candidate sounds these days. Ronald Reagan was great. I am a conservative not a moderate. I can recite my poll tested talking points with the best of them, hopefully with more money.

Is this what modern candidates and political consultancy has come to?kemp

As Arizona holds its State GOP Convention this Saturday in Tempe we should ask ourselves is it time for a change?

For nearly thirty years Republicans have been wedded to this model. It’s boring and increasingly ineffectual.

Interestingly, there have been detours. And they have been successful.

George W. Bush developed his own “compassionate conservative” vernacular and won an election he was not expected to in 2000.

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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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It’s not often the former stomping grounds of drug lord Pablo Escobar are invoked for municipal inspiration.  Then again, Bogota, Colombia is not infamous like it was two decades ago.

Today, a renaissance is occurring.  There can be found remarkable ideas Scottsdale and other Valley cities should adopt.

It’s a Sunday tradition in Bogota to close many city streets from 7a-2p to enable people to bike them.  All at once a sense of community and adventure is created.

Whether it’s many, several or one think how interesting it would be to bike the middle of 68th Street, Via de Ventura, Sweetwater or even the beautiful, meandering Thompson Peak as it flows through some of the city’s best neighborhoods and touches the majesty of the McDowell Mountains.  It’s an idea that need not be Scottsdale’s alone.

Would it be inconvenient for some?  Of course.  But it would also be a romantic ride available to all.  Streets are shut or redirected frequently for parades, road races, major sporting events and arts fairs.  So why not for the people as well as the special interests?

Scottsdale could use a bold idea to maintain its status as the Valley’s planning ingénue, even one imported from a place whose exports used to be more destructive than delightful.

 

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*Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu starts his congressional race in a commanding position on the GOP side but his campaign has been a comedy of errors since announcing.

*No truth to the rumor that Jeb Bush is looking at Brock Landers, otherwise known as former Congressman Ben Quayle for Vice President.  Keep those Bush-Quayle signs in the closet.

*Few elected officials have learned to serve with a smile better than Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Chucri

*Mrs. Arpaio needs and deserves prayers

*The campaign to inject new funds without a tax increase into Arizona’s K-12 education has hired people from both sides of the aisle.  Smart.  The statewide vote on Proposition 123 is May 17th.

*Will Arizona feel the Bern?  Quite a bit of GOP polling on the field for Arizona’s presidential primary March 22nd.  Someone could make some news polling the donkeys. 

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The Scottsdale Center for the Arts is a fine facility.  But for years it served as a dungeon for the Mayors of Scottsdale State of the City.  Few attended the dimly lit serenade.

Leave it to a reformer like current Mayor Jim Lane to change the approach.  His upcoming address on February 25th is timely to remind all, how he is a mayor for all. lane portrait

Scottsdale is a city synonymous with luxury. Yet it like every city has those who struggle to make ends meet, need food or just need a hand to get through the day.  That’s where critical city programs and facilities like those at Vista del Camino come in.  But it can’t do everything.

This is why Operation Fix It was spawned by the city years ago.  It extends an embrace to those having a hard time helping themselves.  A senior no longer able to keep up with home repair or landscaping.  A tired neighbor(hood) that needs a little sprucing up.  When things fall through the cracks, when people can no longer go around or through walls, a small safety net is there. 

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Once upon a time Jay Lawrence was the 1-900 voice of Arizona freedom, rocking KTAR late nights for liberty lovers.  Now, he’s a member of the State House of Representatives.

Once upon a time Jill Norgaard was doing something else.  Now, she’s a rising Republican star in the same House of Representatives.

One of the first things lawmakers learn is how challenging it can be to stay true to one’s philosophical moorings.  Some 1,000 bills per year come at the honorables.  And most aren’t black and white issues on abortion, guns, civil rights, energy, taxes or other issues that are typically found on campaign web sites and direct mail pieces.

There are issues like last year’s reinvention of payday lenders into something more innocuously called “flex loans.” The pushers are cockroaches of commerce.  Yet, in that case, Lawrence and Norgaard rightfully didn’t focus on the who, they focused on the what.  That is, if people want or need such monied instruments then such financial choice is the citizen’s to make.   The two lawmaker’s support was principled.  To mangle Sir Thomas Moore a bit they may not agree with the business at issue but they defended their right to do it.   It’s easy to prop a sexy, popular company like Uber when the freedom fire needs to burn a bit brighter .  It’s much more difficult when it’s people predators making the argument.

That’s why we’re scratching our heads a bit at the two’s agnosticism to HB2523.  The Goldwater Institute-backed measure extends from one to two or three years the time a contact lens user must endure a costly and state mandated annual visit to an optometrist.  We have written about its merits previously.

We get that the state’s 400 optometrists don’t want to see their special interest subsidy watered down a wee bit, but the state’s 700,000 contact lens wearer’s would probably appreciate the disassociation with such an antiquated law.  After all, if Republicans aren’t eminent endorsers of consumer choice and convenience, what do they stand for?

Norgaard and Lawrence are two of the most interesting legislative voices in Arizona today.  They help all see Republicanism and freedom more clearly.  We can’t think of a more topical bill for them to lead the march again.

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It would be easy to recognize Mayor Jim Lane for such a distinction. Ethics. Reforms. Results. Well-regarded by his peers. An overwhelming favorite to be re-elected for a final term later this year. And there are others that could be duly considered. 3

But the distinction goes to someone whose name identification isn’t as high but respect from all is never low: Scottsdale Convention & Visitor’s Bureau CEO Rachel Sacco.

If personality were a potion Sacco would be an elixir for the city’s hoteliers. They think she walks on water as do all on the Scottsdale City Council. Even those who have despised each other on that dais over the years have an affinity for Sacco in common.

It’s not easy to survive as long as Sacco has in such a prominent position. Recessions come and go. So do big voices on commissions and councils. Yet, through it all Sacco has become the Terry Branstad of local tourism. And rightfully so. P.S. That was a tenure joke for those who may no longer be paying attention to Iowa since its Caucuses are over. Branstad is the longest-serving Governor in American history.

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Driving through north Scottsdale these days can bring a twinge of sadness. The beloved site that once housed the city’s most enduring watering hole, Greasewood Flat, is now being bladed for new homes. The same fate is set for the acres once hosting Pinnacle Peak Patio.
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Sure, businesses come and they go. But the inability of these particular owners to soldier on was a blow to the soul of Scottsdale itself. But the Scottsdale City Council is not to blame. If long-time businesses can’t evolve with changing times and tastes, government should not – and cannot by state law – step into help.

But what the city can do is invest in public facilities that make Scottsdale shine.

Some criticized large new facilities at WestWorld and to be fair there were cost overruns. But since they have come online the number of events at Scottsdale’s Central Park have increased substantially. And its signature events – Barrett-Jackson and the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show – have seen even more growth. That’s not just important because of dollars and cents. These essential events showcase the community around the world for a profoundly positive impact, known and unknown.

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Guy Phillips first ran for the Scottsdale City Council in 2010.  That was the year of the Tea Party.  With little money Phillips, a rock-ribbed Republican, rode the wave to a surprisingly strong finish, albeit unsuccessful.

GuyPhillips_bioBut he didn’t give up.  Two years later he won.  Now, Scottsdale City Councilman Guy Phillips is up for re-election.

During his first term has played an undeniable role restricting spending via opposition to city bond proposals, a position that surely resonates with activist Republican Partiers.  But two positions he’s adopted of late must leave even ardent supporters scratching their heads.

The long-discussed “Desert Discovery Center” has been a political hot potato with influential tourism leaders arguing its necessity while most voters in Scottsdale disagree with either putting such an enterprise within the preserve, or spending more taxpayer dollars on it when so much has been spent up north already.

That’s what made Phillips’ flip-flop on the project last month terribly curious.  While not the final decision Phillips voted with the majority to authorize millions for more design and study.  Some in his political constituency likely view that as apostasy.  But it likely pales in comparison to an issue that is near sacrosanct to Republican primary voters:  charter schools. 

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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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(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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by Ron Barber

This morning former Rep. Ron Barber endorsed Tom's campaign for Congress. Take a look below at the email he sent his supporters: 

Dear friend,

Since I left Congress, I don't miss the dysfunction in Washington, but I do miss the chance to stand up for Arizona families who are getting a raw deal. That's why I am so excited for the opportunity to elect a real leader to Congress. I'm talking about Tom O'Halleran.

Won't you join me and make a contribution to Tom's campaign?

Arizona needs leaders in Congress who understand how to build an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top. I trust Tom to look out for families who live paycheck to paycheck. 

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By Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane

Thanks to our great hosts, Craig and Carolyn Jackson, Governor Ducey, a fantastic Host Committee and supporters just like you, our re-election campaign kick-off October 21, 2015 was extraordinary.  Your endorsement of my re-elections has likely made this event the most successful political campaign support event in Scottsdale's history.

As we work to take Scottsdale from better times to the best of times I would like to extend my sincere appreciation for all that you have done for me and to make the city I am privileged to lead the best city in America. 

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Colorado's Cory Gardner endorses Marco; says "Our country needs a new generation of leadership"

"Today I am proud to announce my endorsement of Marco Rubio to be the next President of the United States. Our country needs a new generation of leadership, and I believe that Marco Rubio presents this nation with the greatest possibilities and opportunities to meet the challenges of the next generation."
- Cory Gardner
Watch The Interview Here

FOX News' Happening Now
Sen. Cory Gardner
November 2, 2015
Cory Gardner: "Well, today I am proud to announce my endorsement of Marco Rubio to be the next President of the United States. Our country needs a new generation of leadership, and I believe that Marco Rubio presents this nation with the greatest possibilities and opportunities to meet the challenges of the next generation."
...

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By Paula Ngon
Student:Arizona State University

With the 2016 Presidential election quickly approaching, the amount of candidates still occupied with playing the political games are giving voters no definite direction. The mudslinging is splitting the country in different directions regarding who is fit to run this nation. However, one candidate is gaining momentum by doing things differently.

Bernie Sanders is blowing the door to American politics wide open this campaign season as he surges in the favor of the next generation. It comes as a shock because Sanders, 74, is nearly three times as old as some of his biggest supporters however, he has definitely rocked the millennial vote.

With the boisterous empty promises of Donald Trump and the investigation scandals surrounding Hillary Clinton, Sanders offers a refreshing take on this election cycle. He is seen as trustworthy, honest, and clean and voters praise his consistency and transparency.Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) Holds News Conference On Capitol Hill

He is fighting for progress, a value young voters are rallying behind. Millennials want advancement and improvement of our society, not a backwards march to the reign of yet another Clinton or Bush presidency. With the generation's current lack of faith in the government they are looking to start anew with fresh ideas, new systems, and a different type of leader.

A vote for Bernie is a vote for a man who has been fighting for the same issues that have troubled young voters for years when no one else was listening.

The Sanders' campaign has ignited engagement in younger voters who are concerned with the direction this country is headed. Bernie cares about education, he cares about equality and he cares about equal opportunity for all. His focus on national issues gives hope that this country will change for the better.

Not only does he have the endorsement of the younger generation, he has the accompaniment of their passion and skill for social media. The buzz surrounding Sanders on the internet is astonishing. Supporters are creating memes, merchandise, and hashtags to generate name recognition and endorsement and they're succeeding.

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