As a Republican member of the Arizona House of Representatives, I would like to address comments made by state Senator Al Melvin while appearing on KVOI’s early morning talk show (Wake up Tucson) on Dec. 12th.

My fellow Republican and seatmate felt compelled to agree with the host while I was being trashed and called a R.I.N.O (Republican In Name Only) for my support of Governor Jan Brewer and the temporary sales tax referendum that will expire in May of 2013. That led Senator Melvin to start pontificating about my political future. As if that wasn’t enough, he proceeded to make his own allegations against former Republican legislators, calling them similar names.

It is not the domain of Senator Melvin to decide who is a “good,” or who is a “bad,” Republican. That decision falls to Republican primary voters who will determine at the ballot box who their nominees will be in the general election.

In my view, Senator Melvin should heed the advice of Ronald Reagan, who developed the GOP’s 11th commandment while running for Governor of California in 1966, it reads, “Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.”

I believe Senator Melvin’s comments are more a reflection of his ethics and standards than of my proven fiscally conservative, pro-business voting record.  Back in July of 2009 at a public forum the both of us attended, where we were the featured speakers, Senator Melvin tried trashing me then, but it didn’t go so well for him. By the end of the night he was being heckled by a rather fiscally conservative crowd.  The difference this time is that he did it on the radio when I was not there to defend myself.  I am not sure why he engages in such divisive rhetoric, but I am willing to take him on when he does so.

Senator Melvin, I challenge you to a series of public debates or a series of editorials regarding our policy differences to be hosted by an impartial party.

In the meantime, I am looking forward to working with the Senator for the benefit of our community in the Arizona Legislature this year. I will not allow his inflammatory public comments to stand in the way of our work at the capitol.

(Editor’s Note: Senator Al Melvin has been offered to the opportunity to respond to this letter.)

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