The LD30 Clean Elections debate last Thursday between House of Representatives candidates Democrat Andrea Delasandro and Republicans David Gowan and Frank Antenori didn’t bring people out in droves; nor did the Senate race between Rep. Jonathan Paton and Democrat Georgette Valle. But, for all you political junkies who didn’t attend, roll up your sleeve and tie off your arm: Here comes your fix.
House of Representatives
Moderator Dave Irwin gave the candidates two-and-a-half-minutes for opening statements. We’ll give them a paragraph and a picture.
“Mr. Anetori,” who didn’t bother to correct the moderator’s mispronounciation of his name, went first. He told the fewer than 50-person crowd of mostly over 50-year-old voters that “the state is broken” and the most important thing for Arizona right now is getting the budget back on track, without gimmicks like traffic cameras. He called for employer sanctions and said we’ve got to deal with the education problem. He supports merit pay for teachers.
Next up was David Gowan, who thanked the voters who supported him in the primary election and mentioned his history, family, education and volunteer service with the Boy Scouts. He said we’ve got to take control of the state budget and the border and he believes in competition and merit pay for teachers.
Democrat Andrea Dalessandro said she wants to be part of the new delegation going to Phoenix. She told the crowd that her humble childhood and work as a CPA makes her uniquely experienced to handle the budget. She calls for problem solving over politics and says protecting education is her top priority because “although children and young people are only part of our population, they are 100 percent of our future.”
Highlights from the House
What would your priority be in fixing the state budget?
Dalessandro says she wouldn’t cut back in schools but would make other necessary cuts, starting with the House speaker’s slush fund.
Antenori says most people think “politicians are good for two things–spending your money and asking for more. I’m not that kind of politician.” He calls legislators “spendaholics” who failed their one constitutional duty: balancing the budget.
Gowan says we need to spend within our means. Some things he wouldn’t do: Release prisoners early, push the lottery or use traffic cameras to balance the budget.
How would you handle contradictions between business and environment legislation?
Gowan says: “We all like our environment. I don’t believe businessmen are here to disrupt our environment, to harm our environment so they can make a buck. Let’s think of it this way: If they do that, where’s their money gonna come from later on when we’re all dead? See, the logic’s not there.” He said he is for protecting air and water, “but when it comes to, I don’t know, little tiny frogs or something being on an endangered list next to a river, that kinda gets scary there.”
Dalessandro disputes the premise that business and environment don’t go hand-in-hand. “A sound environment has to be in place for business to prosper,” she said, noting her opposition to the Rosemont mine.
Antenori says we don’t have to worry about balancing business and environment because no business wants to come to Arizona due to the unstable business climate. “The best way to protect the environment is to do what I do, and hunt in it,” he said, citing Teddy Roosevelt and a balance between business and environment.
What role should the state have in health care?
Dalessandro says providing health care is a role of government and “it will actually be cheaper because we pay for it anyhow.”
Antenori disagrees with Dalessandro: “If you want to live in a country that tells you how to wake up in the morning, how to brush your teeth, what you’ve got to do to work, what kind of health care you can have, how to educate your kids, you don’t want to live in this country. I spent 20 years fighting for freedom. I’m not going to have the government tell me how to run my life, how I’m going to provide health care to my children, how I’m educating my children. It is just not the American way, that is a socialist mentality.”
Gowan says health care should be left to the private sector except in the case of the poorest people. Small businesses should be able to pool together for better prices and be able to purchase a la carte.
Should state tax credit be given for contributions to religious and private schools?
Antenori says, to a degree, yes. School choice is good and the state should support parents right to decide.
Gowan says he believes in freedom of choice and private citizens know better than the government.
Dalessandro: “I believe in public funds for public schools. I feel that funding religious schools violates our state constitution.”
Can you explain your views on proposition 102 – The domestic partner’s proposition?
Gowan says he comes from a faith-based background that doesn’t believe in same sex marriage. He says the marriage needs to be defined to keep it out of the hands of rogue judges.
Dalessandro says the government doesn’t have a role in the matter. It’s already a law and this proposition is a waste of time and money that the legislature should be spending elsewhere.
Antenori says it’s in the voters hands now. The people wanted to vote on it because activist judges in California and Massachusetts have overturned laws against gay marriage and now they’ll have their chance.
Delasandro says she is running to support education and law enforcement and promises to work with her future seat-mate. “I don’t know if I’ll carpool with them, but I’ll work with them.” We want a chance to ride the back seat if she does carpool with Antenori. The two of them would be so much to watch!
Gowan thanks the audience. He promises to be the “voice of reason and integrity” at the Capitol. He says we need take care of the business tax burden and allow business to take care of us. He would like to fix education. “If we are 49th, if we are as we’re saying, we do need to look at a new way of doing schooling.” He says the solution is to let the free market into schools.
Antenori says that it is a clear choice between him and the Democrat. “You don’t have to be a CPA to know you can’t spend more money than you take in.” He promises to balance budget in 65 days before taking on any other problems like education. He thanks the crowd and directs them to his Web site.
Let’s just say that if Rep. Jonathan Paton somehow loses, it won’t have anything to do with Georgette Valle’s debate skills.
You can watch both debates here.