The June 26th issue of the Explorer included a Thelma Grimes editorial that was both factually inaccurate and rhetorically overheated. It took to task 35 State Senators and Representatives (all Republican) while singling out by name two of the three who represent LD11 (Rep Kwasman and me). Our crime was to oppose the implementation of ObamaCare via an expansion of Medicaid and to protest the manner in which it was done.
It is always healthy for public discourse to set the record straight, offer actual facts, and give people the tools they need to decide their own opinions for themselves. So I write this response in that spirit.
Contrary to the op-ed, the entire budget debate was not simply about Medicaid and many issues remained with the final product that extended beyond expanding ObamaCare. There is no fight to “veto the budget” nor does Arizona law allow that, although there may be a referendum on the Medicaid expansion that Arizona law does allow. The author implies that providing improved health care to Medicaid recipients will require 300,000 new jobs, which is also not true. The author describes me as being “always unwilling to accept federal funds” which is also a wholesale fabrication, while she describes Arizona as a “sinking ship” where highly-successful people are leaving for better, higher-paying jobs elsewhere.
Okay, I get it. The author really likes the expansion and really dislikes that I disagree. Fair enough. But just because you disagree with me shouldn’t mean you get to write that I am not “working to represent, support, and make lives better for the all the people” in my district.
Here are some actual facts. In large part because of the steps taken by me and others in the Legislature over the last several years, Arizona has finally righted its financial ship and our deficits have been replaced with surpluses. We have passed bills to attract employers, cut taxes, restore funding for education and other areas, and those efforts are paying off. While you wouldn’t know it from reading The Explorer, Arizona is #1 in the nation for new business start-ups. We went from #46 in job creation to #4. We are ranked #9 in overall business climate, which compares quite favorably to #50 California, which happily spends like drunken sailors on every liberal scheme it can.
Being financially responsible is never fun. It isn’t fun for parents who have to tell their kids “No”, for business owners who have to tell their employees or partners “No”, or for legislators who have to tell all of the various groups and lobbyists “No”. It would be far easier to just say “Yes” to everything and sit back and let the media accolades roll in.
But looking out for the families and taxpayers of my district and the long-term health of my beloved State means saying “No” to bad ideas that rely for funding on the long-term promises and largesse of a bankrupting federal government that continues to prove itself incapable of doing its job.
I never imagine that any vote I cast pleases my entire district. It isn’t possible. But I can cast votes that are consistent with the philosophies that I campaign on. I can keep my word. I can vote how I promised I would vote. The voters of this district have elected me and re-elected me because I go and do exactly that.
Ms. Grimes is entitled to call me names just because she doesn’t like me or my votes. That’s politics. But claiming that I am not working to represent my district is not right. The majority of this district opposes ObamaCare, wants balanced budgets, wants our government (both state and federal) to live within its means, wants fewer regulations, less government, and more liberty so that they can live their lives free from oppressive levels of government. My vote against expanding ObamaCare into Arizona was entirely consistent with the wishes of my district.