GOP confab produces glimpse at future - East Valley Tribune: West Valley

GOP confab produces glimpse at future

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Posted: Monday, July 25, 2011 9:43 am | Updated: 11:22 am, Mon Jul 25, 2011.

The Republicans of Legislative District 9 invited influential policy makers from around the Valley to speak to local residents in its first “Movers and Shakers” event Saturday morning.

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio, the Arizona director of Americans for Prosperity Tom Jenney, and the communications director for the Center for Arizona Policy, Aaron Baer, all spoke to the group gathered about their experiences in Arizona politics and the work of their organizations at the Plaza del Rio Community Center in Peoria.

“The county attorney’s office has focused on violent and repeat felons,” Montgomery said, explaining repeat criminals account for 80 percent of crimes, and the Arizona prison population is falling, which says that the states laws and policies are working. “I’m committed to focusing and identifying the people that should be in prison.”

With a drop in crime, Montgomery hopes to make sure that cities’ focus shifts to crime prevention programs, and promised he will remain vigilant against efforts to reduce prison sentences for criminals such as those who are convicted of child pornography.

Montgomery also told the group he will work to make sure that anyone who runs for office understands that the government is a limited power, limited by the Constitution, which can be challenging because of what is going on at the national level, he said.

“If we do not cut spending and control debt, we are doomed to follow in the footsteps of other failed governments,” Montgomery said.

Baer talked to the group about the history of the Center for Arizona Policy and its position on issues such as abortion and school choice, and of the 16 bills they helped work to pass during this past legislative session.

Phoenix City Councilman DiCiccio spoke about the city’s budget and the amount of money spent on employee salaries and benefit packages, which he said is not sustainable.

“There are two things government does,” DiCiccio said. “Government will always do and say anything to protect itself. The second rule is, remember the first rule.”

Jenney told the group despite the advances from this past session, there is still work to do, and the best way to help is to get involved as a watchdog, such as starting a blog as a taxpayer activist.

“It’s an amazing thing you can do as one person on that level,” Jenney said.

The next “Movers and Shakers” event will take place on Sept. 10, with confirmed guests Lisa Keegan, the CEO of the Education Breakthrough Network, and Sharon Giese, a Republican National committeewoman. For more information, visit www.LD9.org.

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