Mesa’s District 18 has one of the most effective legislative leaders in recent history, but a group of outsiders has hijacked the will of Mesa voters, forcing a new election and raising the real possibility that Senate President Russell Pearce could be forced out of office. With early voting beginning in the district, it is time for voters to look at the two men running in this race and decide which one of them best represents them at the state Capitol.
The residents of District 18 don’t just have an effective senator who understands their needs and works to make the East Valley and State of Arizona better places. They have a Senate president who successfully engineered one of the most effective sessions in memory. President Pearce promised voters a truly balanced budget, and he delivered with a package that balanced the books without crippling state agencies. I know how hard he worked to make it happen, because I was right there alongside him, at many of the discussions leading up to the budget plan. President Pearce is a former Appropriations chair, who knows the state budget back and forth, up and down. His experience is invaluable, and all Arizonans are benefitting from it.
When our caucus voted for Russell to become Senate president, detractors questioned whether he would be able to lead a group with such different opinions on the issues. As session progressed the answer became a clear “yes”. Even when he personally strongly opposed a bill, the president made sure the sponsor got a fair shake. I probably don’t need to tell you that has not always been the case at the Legislature.
After watching the recent hour-and-a-half candidate debate, I still have no idea where Mr. Lewis stands on the issues important to Mesa voters. He speaks in vague platitudes and sound bites, but there is no “there” there. It’s pretty clear why he does this. On the issues, the voters stand with Russell Pearce, and to come out publicly against those issues would be deadly to Lewis’ candidacy.
One thing I did pick up is that he is embarrassed by Mesa and Arizona, and in his warped world Arizona is like 1964 Alabama. Not quite. Alabama is actually trying to become 2011 Arizona, joining 34 states in adopting tough legislation on illegal immigration. Alabama would also like to have the job creation numbers we have in Arizona. President Pearce’s focus on the economy and jobs is making a difference in this state, and better days are ahead. Arizona can’t afford Jerry Lewis.
Since Mr. Lewis won’t let us know where he stands, we are left to try to learn more about his comrades behind the recall. Randy Parraz is a failed Democrat candidate for U.S. Senate and an open borders advocate. Chad Snow is a lawyer who represents illegal aliens suing their employers. With supporters from the loony left, are voters sure they want to put an unknown, inexperienced and unproven candidate in office?
• Andy Biggs is majority leader in the Arizona Senate who lives in Gilbert.