Our View: Governor showing much-needed common sense - East Valley Tribune: Columnists

Our View: Governor showing much-needed common sense

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Posted: Sunday, May 15, 2011 4:15 am | Updated: 11:05 pm, Wed May 18, 2011.

A total of 386 bills crossed Gov. Jan Brewer's desk during the recently-completed Arizona legislative session. She vetoed 29 of them.

Seems like a relatively small percentage, but it's more than twice as many as she vetoed last year - which comes as a surprise to many.

A Republican governor working behind a Republican Legislature is a perfect scenario for getting things accomplished and advancing that party's cause. And, for the most part, it did.

But for those who thought Brewer was going to be a rubber stamp for the Republican Party, it didn't happen.

And for those who thought Brewer would wilt under the influence of powerful Senate President Russell Pearce, guess again.

In our books, that's a good thing.

Because there are so few competitive districts in Arizona - they're either heavily Republican or Democrat - those seats are won or lost in the primary election, not the general. As such, candidates who fall on either extreme tend to prevail in primaries.

In such a scenario, we need a governor with a little common sense - and Brewer displayed that.

When the Republican Legislature approved a birther bill that would have made Arizona a laughingstock across the country, Brewer vetoed it, calling it "a bridge too far" and a "distraction" Arizona doesn't need right now.

"I never imagined being presented with a bill that could require candidates for President of the greatest and most powerful nation on earth to submit their ‘early baptismal or circumcision certificates' among other records to the Arizona Secretary of State," Brewer wrote in her veto letter.

When Republican legislators wanted to cut everyone off from Medicaid, she came up with an alternate plan that restored coverage for transplant patients while still cutting $500 million from the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System.

When a bill expanding tuition tax credits - which she supports - came to her desk, Brewer vetoed it because it would affect current funding. Simply, the state can't afford it right now.

Brewer, a champion of gun rights, also vetoed a law that would have allowed guns on campus because, she said, it was poorly written. Instead of accepting a flawed bill as being "good enough" she kicked it back and told them to try again.

When Arizona Republicans wanted to start sticking their noses in cities' business - ironic given their disdain when the federal government does the same thing to our state - she nixed that as well. Bills that would have required Phoenix and Tucson to seek outside bids for major projects, or mandated fireworks sales in cities during certain weeks, were vetoed.

"While I can agree that all levels of government must continue to find ways to cut costs, I am becoming increasing concerned that many bills introduced this session micro-manage decisions best made at the local level," Brewer wrote in her veto letter. "What happened to the conservative belief that the most effective, responsible and responsive government is government closest to the people?"

When Republicans wanted to initiate immediate tax cuts for businesses in an effort to stimulate the economy, Brewer would have none of it ... not because she's not in favor of that Republican ideal, but because she made a pledge when she backed the three-year, 1-cent sales tax increase geared toward education that she wouldn't take from one group (consumers) and then give it to another (businesses). Instead, the business tax cuts will take effect in 2014 after the 1-cent sales tax has expired.

Brewer is far from a liberal. Heck, she's not even close to being moderate. Her views on illegal immigration, abortion and gun rights make that clear.

But in a state that seems to have the Right, the Far Right, and the Extreme Right, we need someone in the governor's office who is a little more pragmatic and doesn't see the absolutist view in everything.

Extremists will call Brewer a "McCain Republican" or a "R.I.N.O." (Republican In Name Only). But not everything is black and white, and Brewer deserves some credit for being able to recognize the gray areas where common sense prevails.

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