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2018 Scrum

In the 2012 legislative session, the Arizona Legislature raised the contribution limits for statewide candidates from $912 per person once during an entire election cycle to $2,000 per person for the primary election and another $2,000 per person for the general election. The usual liberal suspects sued to stop the change, the Legislature and the Secretary of State's office argued that the changes were great, and the first judge agreed the changes were fine. So the liberals appealed and to the surprise of many, the appellate courts overturned the decision and ordered that the old limits needed to be reinstated. Now the whole battle is headed for the Arizona Supreme Court, except not everyone is on the same sides anymore.

Lo and behold the Secretary of State's office has reversed itself and is now arguing that the old status quo should remain to eliminate uncertainty. We’re not sure how uncertain a decision from the Arizona Supreme Court should be. Supreme Courts tend to have the final say on things, but the Secretary of State’s argument seems to have changed from what is right and Constitutional about the higher limits (and conversely what is wrong and un-Constitutional about the lower limits) to now arguing that it would be more convenient to keep the un-Constitutional limits in place. Ah yes, what to do about that pesky First Amendment, eh Mr. Secretary?

Fire up the conspiracy engines though. Because Secretary of State Ken Bennett is running for Governor using Clean Elections, and the establishment favorite is State Treasurer Doug Ducey, who is running by collecting money the old fashioned way. As it is, Ducey is going to raise a boatload of money, far in excess of Bennett¹s $800,000 take from Clean Elections. If Bennett wins at the Supreme Court, Ducey only gets to collect $912 per person. But if Bennett loses, Ducey can raise it $2,000 per person and that boatload becomes ocean liner huge.

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The entire story would take too long to write, but anyone can go online and find the entire history.

For now, all you need to know is that two groups in Arizona gave approximately $15 million to two campaign committees in California during the 2012 elections.  One group, Americans for Responsible Leadership, is led by former Arizona House Speaker Kirk Adams.   The second group, The Center to Protect Patient Rights, is led by Arizona-based political consultant Sean Noble.

The contributions were what is being called ”dark money” because the original source is concealed.  These sorts of contributions are illegal in California, and the California Fair Political Practices Commission investigated these donations and the groups involved.  The result of the nearly year long investigation is a series of financial settlements whereby the groups involved will pay massive fines and the Commission will allow these groups to continue to conceal the original source of their funds.  Americans for Responsible Leadership and The Center to Protect Patient Rights will each pay $500,000 while the two California committees are being asked to pay nearly $15 million in penalties.

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What do Republican primary voters think of House Speaker John Boehner and why might it matter in next year’s CD1 Primary here in Arizona?  Let’s call it “a Speaker thing”.

Activists in the GOP are largely disappointed with Speaker Boehner and his leadership and they are critical of what they see as his lack of conservative resolve.  They don’t trust him to lead his caucus in a conservative direction if that means taking on established interests.  They expect him to be weak and to cave at the end of each legislative battle.

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conservative-voteWhile the divisive fight over Medicaid Expansion was widely expected to produce primary challenges to the small number of Republicans who joined with the Democrats to pass it, early indications are that conservatives who voted against the expansion are increasingly finding themselves targeted by left-leaning Republicans who believe that crossing the aisle to pass bipartisan legislation ought to be a primary goal. Whether or not these challengers are successful will make a big difference to whether or not Arizona's Legislature remains solidly conservative.

In the West Valley, Litchfield Park City Councilwoman Diane Landis is challenging State Representatives Steve Montenegro and Darin Mitchell, who are two of the most conservative legislators in the State House. Both voted against the Medicaid Expansion and Landis'

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Watch TV news, read newspapers, and listen to any liberal politician or consultant, and they will tell you that Arizona's growing Hispanic population is turning Arizona from red to purple and will eventually turn it blue. They believe it is inevitable because their liberal ideology presumes that demographics determines ideology and voters will vote in a manner that can be predicted based on their race, gender, orientation, etc. And left-wing groups have generated tremendous news coverage from their liberal allies in the media, all focused on their voter registration efforts.

But submit their assumptions to a fact check and consider the following:

For the first time since statehood, Republicans now control every statewide office. In spite of a hijacked mapping process and the Democrats getting the bestpossible district lines, Republicans still hold large majorities in both the State House and State Senate. But the voter registration numbers tell the real story. By Election Day in 2008, Republicans held a voter registration advantage of 96,335 voters. By Election Day in 2010, that advantage had grown to 128,865 voters. By Election Day in 2012, after all the hype, media attention, and after the vaunted Obama machine's focus on registering Hispanics, that advantage had grown to 168,067.
And it isn't the case where Democrat gains have been outpaced by Republicans and/or Independents. Democrat registration from 2008 until 2012 actually fell by 70,000 voters. So Arizona's population continues to grow, the Hispanic population continues to grow, but the Democrat Party continues to shrink.

So here is a message to politicians - Message Matters! Stand for something!

Hispanics largely favor school choice, are pro-life and pro-marriage, and distrust large governments who want to control their daily lives. Those are conservative positions. So go get that vote by talking to voters about our positions on the issues, have more Hispanic candidates who can help to deliver conservative messages to the entire state, and never take assume you can tell a voter's ideology just by looking at them. That's what liberals do and, judging by their results here in Arizona, they are wrong.

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by Loyd Eskildson

The Arizona Legislature took away SUSD’s near monopoly on students living within the district when it passed the 1994 law enabling charters. Since then SUSD has lost an ever increasing number of pupils and associated funding. The total number of pupils currently lost is estimated to be as high as 12,000. Using a conservative number of 10,000 pupils funded at $8,500/each suggests that SUSD personnel and pupils are currently losing $85 million/year. That number has steadily grown.

Why did this happen? Instead of making ‘Job One = Customer Satisfaction,’ the district instead focused on simply obtaining more money from residents and the State, rebuilding/renovating facilities, and maintaining an environment of ‘Happy Talk’ at Board meetings. The primary concern of parents withdrawing their children – lack of alternatives to what many saw as inadequate discipline and achievement goals, was largely ignored/dismissed. As for the disappearing students - that was either denied or ‘rationalized’ via highly implausible excuses. Meanwhile, neighboring public school districts raided SUSD, while competing charter schools, parochial schools, and private schools steadily added capacity and filled those seats with the children of dissatisfied SUSD parents. More of these seats will be available next year, and they’re already working to fill them.

SUSD’s losses could soon create a downward spiral. Given the rationale of most parents for removing their children from SUSD, it wont take long for SUSD pupil achievement to also start trending downward, creating more incentive for even more parents to withdraw their children.

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Ever since a 2002 statewide vote Arizona tribes have had a monopoly on gambling. You remember the promises:  grant us this right and we’ll do good by it, help our people and keep gambling on our lands.

Then along came the Tohono O’Odham tribe from Tucson.  Through clever lawyering, political chicanery and sleights of hand that would make any great blackjack dealer jealous, they claimed a right to put a new casino on acquired land near the Phoenix Coyotes’ hockey arena.

Opposition from state leadership over the years has been intense.  After all, the tribes promised in 2002 to keep gambling in certain places.  Until a tribe 200 miles south of Glendale decided to go rogue.

This Sunday the Tohono O’Odham tribe will try to claim some victory as they debut their new Desert Diamond “Casino” at 9341 West Northern .  But if media reports about the new facility are to be believed, claims of victory are pyrrhic, to put it generously.

Consider that it can and should be called the most unrewarding casino in the world. Why? Because it can’t even serve alcohol until at least February according to AZCentral.  Here is a link.

No booze at a casino?  That’s like baseball without peanuts.  Pizza without cheese.  Or a bikini without boobs.

And if you’re expecting to play blackjack or slot machines, think again.  Because casino backers have so alienated lawmakers all they can engage in is Class II gaming. What’s that?  Glorified bingo. 

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It’s up for debate that it is impossible to teach an old dog new tricks because of all the established companies who are mixing things up. Businesses across the nation are finding that they can indeed learn new tricks and even put their own spin on it.

Starbucks is constantly working to keep as up to date as possible with the latest trends, from having themed cups and matching drinks, to having wine in different locations. It seems that Starbucks has also found another new future for itself in art.  Not the art that you can hang on the wall, but the art of who works for their company. The baristas are the heart and soul of their company and are whom the customers interact with everyday.

Take Angus Maxwell in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. A barista at Starbucks who loves to brew artisanal cups of coffee for avid coffee lovers. He continues to brew coffee in different ways to keep up with the boutique roasters nearby.

It is baristas like Maxwell that contribute to Starbucks success, according to Howard Schultz, Starbucks’ chief executive officer. In a flat market year, Starbucks shares saw a 50 percent increase. Why? Innovative baristas like Maxwell keep the company fluid and help it adapt to new things.

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Canals have a rich history in Arizona. Used for transporting water along the desert landscape, canals have been bringing new life to the area for hundreds of years. Now, the Grand Canal has the opportunity to restore this feeling of new life throughout Phoenix and make the canal another reason to enjoy the state’s largest city.

A $10.3 million grant was given to the City of Phoenix from the Department of Transportation to refresh the Grand Canal. This refresh will be an upgrade to the surrounding neighborhoods as well as a potentially powerful tourist attraction for Phoenix. 

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*How poorly was a political campaign run? One can usually tell by how long it takes to get campaign signs down post-election.  One MONTH after four of the six Scottsdale bond proposals failed “YES” signs are still up.  To those who ran the campaign show some respect to those you tried, and failed, to persuade.

*The number of photo radar cameras in Paradise Valley is getting out of control.

*It appears to be a 2-person race in Glendale for Mayor. Incumbent Jerry Weiers has raised about $90,000.  Upstart Mark Burdick a respectable $26,000.

*State Representative Jeff Weninger is the prohibitive favorite to succeed current Chandler Mayor Jay Tibshraeny

*As is the case with their emerging battle nationally, Arizona campaigns for Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are setting the pace in Arizona with an impressive number of endorsements

*Former Scottsdale City Councilman Bob Littlefield, most recently defeated in a Republican primary for the Arizona House of Representatives, has filed to run for Mayor against Jim Lane.  Littlfield had considered running for the Arizona Corporation Commission and as an independent for another run at the Arizona House.  Lane has already raised over $150,000 for his final and term limited bid for office. 

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The good news is that after heavy revisions to a flawed Ritz-Carlton resort and residences plan introduced earlier this year it’s now in a positive place, and nearing approval.  Anecdotal and polling information all demonstrates overwhelming support for the project.  And there appears to be a solid majority of supporters on the Paradise Valley Town Council two weeks before a scheduled December 17th vote.

The bad news is that Vice Mayor Paul Dembow, who purportedly has higher political aspirations, is showing leadership qualities far short of such ambition.

When he first ran for the Paradise Valley Town Council Dembow ran on a platform vehemently opposed to approval of the Montelucia Resort at Tatum & Lincoln.  He even ran newspaper ads with the universal “no” sign slashed over the hotel’s name.  He lost.  Two years later he won, running on a pro-resort platform.

Subsequently he rightfully voted for a plan to revitalize the old Mountain Shadows Resort property.  The plan is dense, the densest one ever approved in Paradise Valley, and far more intense than that now being proposed for the Ritz.

Yet, despite the public support – including the support of the largest HOA closest to the site -- and substantial tax revenue the project would mean -- Dembow still appears to be uncommitted.  Indeed, the Ritz revenue could offset and mean reductions in tax increases Dembow approved while on council.

Why this convolution?

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By Shikah Dalmia
Senior Analyst at the Reason Foundation

With Congress stuck among the contradictory demands of labor, business and talk-radio restrictionists, neither George W. Bush nor Barack Obama has been able to move the needle on immigration reform. Meanwhile, as the economy gathers steam, states face a tight labor market at all skill levels.

There might be a way forward, if Congress enacts legislation to give states standing waivers or permission to craft their own guest-worker programs. It sounds radical, but several states, red and blue, have already been trying to do this.

California, New Mexico and Kansas have passed resolutions or drafted legislation to issue guest-worker visas to undocumented aliens. Three pending bills in Texas would let state employers hire foreign workers from abroad on temporary work visas. Utah’s conservative legislature overwhelmingly approved legislation in 2011 to let undocumented workers obtain a two-year visa. But Utah’s program has been postponed, because immigration is a federal function and states would need federal waivers. President Obama has stonewalled Utah’s waiver request.

One way to release states from the partisan whims of administrations would be for Congress to erect a statutory architecture under which states could implement their own guest-worker programs. Canada has done this through its highly successful Provincial Nominee Program.

Read entire article here.

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An early morning jog on a neighborhood canal is one of the oldest and most common forms of exercise in Arizona. Imagine if that jog could span from Scottsdale to Tempe to Phoenix. Starting in early 2016, using the canals to get around the city will be a reality.

The Canal Multiuse Path Improvement project, predominately in Scottsdale, is reaching its final stage, a 2-mile portion between Chaparral Road and the Indian Bend Wash. Once this portion is finished, it will complete a 17-mile loop connecting communities around this great state.  This means that those early morning jogs can turn into all day walks to explore the next city over.

The path improvement project began as a means to help travelers with wheels, such as mothers with strollers, use the canal with the new concrete path. A second function for this concrete path is to reduce the dust that is kicked up from those using the canal.

The new path will span 10-feet wide and will have an unpaved portion next to it that will allow runners and horseback riders to still use the canal. The concrete portion will only be on the west side, leaving the east side of the canal unchanged for recreational purposes. This means the best of both worlds for those who consider the canal system an exercise or recreational must.

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The Sanctuary Resort in Paradise Valley is a beautiful property run by respected industry veterans.  Indeed, it’s one of the finest small hotels in Arizona, if not the best.

The one amusing exception seems to be its disregard for Sun Devil fans.  Curiously, bar management shuns ASU football on its televisions for games in Gainesville and the like.  Higher-ups may want to have a chat with staff as come summer time the locals not the Floridians keep the place in business. But we digress . .

The Sanctuary’s class is why ownership and management’s conduct at a recent Paradise Valley Town Council meeting about the proposed Ritz-Carlton resort was a real head scratcher.  Sitting in the back of a packed hearing room, predominantly of supporters, they resembled the kind of people movie theaters have to run ads about before the show, so people can best enjoy the featured presentation.

Snickering, whispering, eye-rolling, their competitive jealousy of the Ritz proposal was disappointing to observe. After all, earlier in the night the General Manager of another Paradise Valley hotel, the Camelback Inn, told Ritz backers he was rooting for them and the good it could do the town.  A recent economic impact report submitted to the town said the Ritz and related development could generate a staggering $5.3 million annually for the town. 

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Last Tuesday, Seattle voters approved of an unprecedented measure that will dramatically overhaul how local candidates running for mayor, city council, and city attorney raise campaign funds.

Under Initiative 122, Seattle became the first city in the United States to try taxpayer-funded “democracy vouchers.” These vouchers work in a relatively straightforward manner. Each registered Seattle voter will receive four $25 vouchers to give to a candidate, or candidates, of their choice. The plan is funded by the city’s real estate taxes as voters authorized a 10-year, $30 million property-tax levy to pay for the vouchers.avote

A candidate can decline to accept vouchers, but if they accept them, they agree to follow certain guidelines. First, the candidate accepting vouchers must take part in at least three public debates. Additionally, the candidate will have to accept lower campaign contributions and to limit campaign spending.

Seattle’s plan could be a new way to approach campaign finance in Arizona following frustrations with the state’s “clean elections” system and its matching funds being struck down by the United States Supreme Court.

During every election cycle, we hear stories of large corporations and wealthy individuals increasingly using their financial resources to dominate Arizona’s political process. Many Arizonans have become complacent with elections, arguing that they feel out of touch with their political candidates. Indeed, Arizona’s 2014 election turnout was anemic.

If a democracy voucher-like plan is adopted in Arizona, democracy could return to the hands of people, and not just the powerful. There is no doubt that democracy vouchers will give every registered Arizona voter more influence over the political process and will give more political voice to Arizonans of modest financial means. The influence of big money may be curbed and the political voices of Arizonans of modest financial means could be amplified.

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It is no secret that the US Department of Veteran’s Affairs has been dealing with a scandal or two. Thanks to whistleblowers like Dr. Katherine Mitchell, the internal issues came to light as well as the shocking knowledge that our veterans are not receiving the proper care they deserve. 50 veterans passed away due to lack of care.

Sen. John McCain has worked tirelessly to improve the Phoenix VA, even to the point where he begged President Barack Obama to come and see the scandalous activity for himself. As a veteran, McCain has made it his mission to clean up the VA and ensure that all veterans receive the care they deserve.Clinton1web_2831249b

Hilary Clinton seems to disagree that the issue at hand is at a scandal level and is more at an uh-oh level. She believes that the whole thing was blown way out of proportion and that it wasn’t as bad as it was made out to be. With the election coming up next year, it is good to know that the lives of veterans are not high on her priority level.

The next question to ask is: How many veterans have to die from lack of proper medical care in order for an issue to be worth her time? 100? 500? 1,000? These are men and women who have risked their lives and lost limbs so that she has the right to say that the scandal was overblown. This must be her way of saying thank you.

Clinton is basing her beliefs on a survey completed by veterans who were actually given care in 2013. The problem with these surveys is that they were given to the veterans who had no issue getting appointments and receiving care.

If she based her beliefs on the survey taken in 2014, she would see that the number declined from an 83 percent satisfaction rating to 55 percent. Also she would see that 70 percent of the VAs nationwide falsified information.

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On October 28th the message below was sent out to businesses in downtown Scottsdale.  There’s probably more than a few alarm bells going off.

After all, what problem would shrinking Scottsdale Road from two lanes to one lane through a vibrant downtown solve?  Are city planners just looking for something to do?  Is there one-lane envy of Mill Avenue in Tempe?

At a time when downtown Scottsdale is bustling with activity we can think of few things to screw it up quicker than this idea.  Maybe the outreach will reveal a compelling vision.  After all, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg once shut cars out of Times Square over a great outcry, only to be rewarded with acknowledgement that the idea might have been good after all once implemented. Scottsdale-Sign-547x198

But where the discussion likely heads are those fearing a new attempt to inject light rail into Scottsdale.  For many years a passionate and influential group of downtown business owners has feared the possibility, and let it be known over their dead bodies.  But two of the ringleaders of that opposition – Mike Fernandez of Pottery Paradise and Tom Silverman of the Chapparal Suites hotel – have sold their properties.  And the Scottsdale City Council now includes at least two passionate advocates for such a system.

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FOX News’ Chris Wallace: “In terms of winners, Marco Rubio did very well.” (FOX, 8/6/15)

Charles Krauthammer: “That [clip] you showed of Rubio, I thought, was the best expression of his campaign, and was the best way to take on Hillary.” (FOX, 8/6/15)

MSNBC’s Chuck Todd: “You talk to Democrats and they are concerned about [Rubio] because Rubio presents that generation contrast.” (MSNBC, 8/6/15)

MSNBC’s Chuck Todd: Rubio is “a dangerous opponent for Hillary Clinton.” “Are we really going to go backwards in generations or do we go forward to GenX, which is Rubio. Which as Americans. we usually want to move forward. That's
what makes him a dangerous opponent for Hillary Clinton.” (MSNBC, 8/6/15)

American Conservative Union’s Matt Schlapp: I think Marco Rubio scared [Hillary Clinton].” Chris Matthews: “Put yourself into the body and mind of Hillary Clinton right now. Who scared her?” ACU’s Matt Schlapp: “Who scared her? … I think Marco Rubio scared her. I think that he, in so many ways, resembles the kind of opponent she fears.” (MSNBC, 8/6/15)

Fox News reports that Marco Rubio had the best individual performance. "The best individual performance was that of Marco Rubio, whose high-energy delivery, one-liners and policy riffs will undoubtedly win back some of the supporters who have drifted from his column of late." (Fox News First, 08/07/15)

The National Journal reports that Marco Rubio underscored why he would be a strong opponent to Hillary Clinton and that he was one of the winners that emerged from the debate. “Of the three candidates most likely to win the nomination—Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, and Scott Walker—the senator from Florida had the best night. He seemed to grow in confidence as the debate wore on, culminating in a rousing speech explaining his opposition to abortion rights. More than anything else, however, he underscored again and again why he would be a strong opponent against Clinton. ‘If I'm our nominee, how is Hillary Clinton going to lecture me about living paycheck to paycheck?" Rubio asked. "I was raised paycheck to paycheck. How is she going to lecture me about student loans? I owed over $100,000 just four years ago.’” (Winners: Trump, Kasich, Rubio, The National Journal, 08/05/15)
The Washington Examiner reports that Marco Rubio had some of the best lines of the night and that he won the debate. “Rubio's responses were well-reasoned and pointed, he also had some of the best lines of the night. His comment about Hillary Clinton not being able to lecture him about living paycheck-to-paycheck when that's how he was raised was poignant and allowed him to remind the audience of his compelling life story. His comments about immigration included simple facts about the nature of who is coming to this country and the reality of the current visa program.” (Marco Rubio won the main debate, but Carly Fiorina won both, The Washington Examiner, 08/06/13)
The Washington Free Beacon reports that Marco Rubio won the first debate. “Marco Rubio won the first GOP presidential debate on Thursday night. … He made the most of each question, demonstrating not only a grasp of detail but also an ability to deliver his views cogently and succinctly.” (Rubio Wins, The Washington Free Beacon, 08/06/15)
The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza: “The Florida Senator … was terrific on Thursday night.” (Winners and losers from the first Republican presidential debate, The Washington Post, 08/06/15)

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By Dr. Matt Heinz

I’ve got some exciting news: I’ve just announced my candidacy for Arizona’s 2nd Congressional District.

Why have I decided to run for Congress? Simple. Because I believe I can make a difference.

When I look at what’s going on in Washington these days, I see a government in need of a cure. I see a whole lot of partisan gridlock, political maneuvering and pandering to special interests.

As a physician, I’d never turn my back on a sick patient. And as an American, I won’t turn away from the country I love just because it’s dealing with tough issues. In fact, I want to get to the heart of those problems and work to find solutions.

Will you join me today and show your support for my run for Congress? Click here and let me know that you’re all in!

Throughout my career as a doctor, a state lawmaker and a national health care leader, I’ve worked collaboratively to deliver results for people in need. I’ve helped increase access to health care for low-income women with cancer, improve patient safety by making medical complaints public, and implement a coordinated federal response to the Ebola crisis.

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By AZ progressives

Last weekend the Arizona media lost their minds over Donald Trump coming to Phoenix. This weekend, Bernie Sanders is hosting a rally in Phoenix -- and despite the media hyperventilation over Trump...we're hearing the Sanders crowd is going to be MUCH BIGGER.

That's because we have a strong and proud community of progressives here in Arizona fighting for our values (even if the media never notices). So to show how PUMPED we are to flex our progressive muscles this weekend, will you sign your name to welcome Bernie Sanders to Arizona?

Friend, no matter who you support in our Democratic primary, you've gotta love that the strength and size of our progressive community will be on full display this weekend.

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By. Dr. Michael Ward

Fellow Conservative,

My wife, Dr. Kelli Ward, is the most extraordinary woman I’ve ever known. Even though I see her every day, she still finds new ways to surprise me.

When we met in medical school, I knew she was something special. It wasn’t just the caring and the empathy she showed for her patients and fellow doctors, though that was remarkable. It was the laser-focus she put into whatever she was doing, and the skill and determination she used to solve problems and achieve her goals.

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by Scottsdale City Council Member Suzanne Klapp

Yesterday in front of supporters, business owners and ASU officials, I announced my decision to pursue a third term on the Scottsdale City Council.  We gathered outside of ATOMdesign, a business located in Skysong, the ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center, along McDowell Road to make the announcement.

 

Six years ago I brought a fresh business perspective to the Scottsdale City Council and prioritized economic growth, the continued development of SkySong, and the revitalization of McDowell Road.  I am particularly excited about this City Council run and intend to focus our Council on better connecting Scottsdale citizens with their government. 

 

It’s been my desire to not only run a business but to be involved in the community.  It causes me to be motivated every day.  There is more to do, more to make happen, and more we as government leaders can do to assist business owners and residents.  We can help them through the red tape, through the regulation, and perhaps live their lives a little easier.

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By Arizona State Senator Katie Hobbs

Today is a day for us to celebrate equality and love. It has prevailed. The Supreme Court ruling handed down today strengthens families and communities all over the country. It provides certainty for couples in Arizona that their marriages will remain legally recognized.
I want to congratulate everyone that has worked for this day, it wouldn’t have happened without your determination. I have been encouraged by your perseverance and strength that when we organize, work together, and stand up for what is right we can make positive change.
We must remember though that the fight for full equality for all Arizonans does not end today. LGBT people can still be fired, evicted, or denied services simply for who they are or who they love. I am committed to changing that. Join me by signing our petition here to end these discriminatory practices.

Now celebrate!

Katie Hobbs
Senate Democratic Leader

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