Arizona Daily Star endorsements in LD 9

Our sad small town newspaper, the Arizona Daily Star (“All the news that Jim Click decides is fit to print“) sent their reporter Joe Ferguson to cover the LD 9 House debate on Monday, but somehow he has yet to file a report on the debate.

You can watch the full debate,, and read the report by former Tucson Weekly reporter Hank Stephenson, who covered the debate for the Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required). Lively District 9 debate raises question: Who would best serve Tucson? Jim Nintzel of the Tucson Weekly who moderated the debate hopefully will have more to say about the debate when the Tucson Weekly comes out on Thursday.

RandyFriesePerhaps the Star did not report on the debate because the candidate that the boss Jim Click supports, the mythical moderate Republican Ethan Orr aka “E.Orr,” got served by our “Woman of Steele” Rep. Victoria Steele and Doctor Randall Friese. The Star would not want to detract from the endorsement that the boss Jim Click wanted in today’s newspaper. Legislative District 9: Friese and Orr think clearly.

Just as we have been predicting all year, the Star cherry-picked a pair of votes out of E.Orr’s voting record in which he voted with the radical Tea-Publicans in the Arizona legislature on almost every other bill, and the editors completely ignored the fact that E.Orr has already committed his vote to support the most radical Tea-Publican leadership in the House after the election. The trouble with E.Orr: he supports the most radical Tea Party members of the House for leadership. It is in your power to deprive E.Orr of the opportunity by voting him out of office.

So let’s take a look at the Star’s forced endorsement:

The Star endorses Randall Friese and Ethan Orr for state representative in District 9.

We also endorse incumbent state Sen. Steve Farley, an artist and longtime transportation advocate who has served three terms as a representative and is seeking is second term in the Senate. He is running unopposed.

Friese, a trauma surgeon at University of Arizona Medical Center, was inspired to run after the Jan. 8, 2011, shootings that killed six and injured 13 others. He was part of the team that treated victims.

Since then, Democrat Friese has immersed himself in the political process, becoming knowledgeable on issues affecting the state and his district and participating in Leading for Change, a nonprofit civic training group. We’ve rarely seen his level of preparedness in a newcomer to politics.

His skills in negotiation, team and coalition building and decision-making will serve him well.

We support his positions that adults should be held responsible for the safety of their weapons, schools should provide comprehensive sex education and that the state’s rainy-day fund should be used to pay the $317 million a judge has ruled is owed public schools.

* * *

Victoria Steele, the Democratic House incumbent, and Friese share many of the same viewpoints. We believe Friese will be more dynamic and effective in advancing his positions and advocating for District 9.

Victoria SteeleApparently Victoria Steele’s ability to get some bills passed through a Tea-Publican dominated legislature was not good enough for the editors. They prefer the myth that E.Orr did it all by himself (not), The Trouble with E.Orr: Taking credit where it is not due, and create the false impression that there was not substantial Democratic support for the very things for which the editors give E.Orr credit.

For example: E.Orr is given credit for voting for Governor Jan Brewer’s Medicaid (AHCCCS) expansion, and for voting against the Religious Bigotry bill, SB 1062. The reality is that every Democrat in the legislature voted for Governor Jan Brewer’s Medicaid (AHCCCS) expansion making passage possible. Unlike the Democrats, E.Orr also voted for a bill to limit the Medicaid (AHCCCS) expansion to a period of only five years.

Every Democrat in the legislature voted against the Religious Bigotry bill, SB 1062; only three Tea-Publicans, including E.Orr, voted against it — and he never explained his vote to constituents in a floor speech.  While E.Orr says he supports same-sex marriage now that the court’s have taken it out of the hands of legislators, he would not cosponsor his seatmate Victoria Steele’s bill to end discrimination in employment based upon sexual preference or gender identity — the opposite of what SB 1062 would do. I’d call that a wash.

Rep. Victoria Steele was on the right side of every bill, taking positions with which the editors of the Star agree. The editors try to distance themselves from E.Orr’s extremism by cherry-picking a pair of his votes: “We disagree with Orr’s stands on issues such as reproductive rights and gun legislation. However, he stood up to Republican leaders in the House by supporting the expansion of Medicaid and opposing SB 1062, which allowed businesses to discriminate based on their religious views.” Got to keep the boss Jim Click happy.

Unlike the Star editors, the voters do not have to answer to Jim Click. The voters have been very happy with the work of Rep. Victoria Steele, and Doctor Randall Friese will be a fabulous replacement for the deeply flawed Tea-Publican E.Orr.

Remember to vote for two in this race: Rep. Victoria Steele and Doctor Randall Friese.

UPDATE: David Safier at the Tucson Weekly’s The Range decimates the false claim by the editors of the Star that “Orr has been a champion of public schools and higher education in the Legislature.” Only if the editors define public schools as Education Savings Accounts (ESA) aka school “vouchers.” Ethan Orr Doesn’t Want To Talk About His Support For Vouchers (Or Anything Else That Makes Him Look Like A Conservative Republican).

UPDATE: It took until Thursday for the Arizona Daily Star to finally cover Monday’s debate.  It wasn’t worth the wait. Gun and reproductive rights split LD 9 candidates.

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