State Representative Vincent Leach of Legislative District 11 and other reactionary zealots like him sure act like big government promoters when it comes to their anti-democratic agenda.
Leach has sponsored ideas such as:
- Protecting Dark Money contributors.
- Overruling local election results and ballot initiatives, such as whether local towns can prohibit plastic bags in stores.
- Opposing a woman’s right to choose.
- Allowing taxpayer money to help students choose private religious schools.
LD11 spans from Maricopa in the north to the tip of Tucson in the south.
A self-described conservative, Leach has an A rating from both the Oliver North led National Rifle Association and the American Conservative Union, yet poor marks with the Sierra Club, Planned Parenthood, and the Children’s Action Alliance. A SaddleBrooke resident, Representative Leach has been in the Arizona State House since 2015. He is now the chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Public Safety, Infrastructure, and Resources and Vice Chairman of the House and Ways Committee.
He is planning to run against Democrat Ralph Atchue for the State Senate Seat in LD 11 being vacated by Steve Smith. The main issues he plans to run on are border security, the Second Amendment, job creation, healthcare, and “life.”
Favoring the privileged
In his legislative career, Leach has pursued policies that favor the privileged and influential and not the voters he pledged to serve. These include:
- Favoring Dark Money interests over a citizen’s right to know. Leach sponsored a bill that forbade a democratically-reached decision (90% favorable) in Tempe from mandating that Dark Money groups reveal their names if they spend more than $1,000 on a campaign. The obvious question is why would Representative Leach choose the Dark Money groups over the people who have the right to know who is paying to influence elections. How does this measure support democracy?
- Being Anti Democratic. He was horrified by the success of the ballot measure raising the minimum wage to $12 over a couple of years. Leach, following the lead of his Koch Brother masters and other conservative-reactionary groups, sponsored bills restricting the Democratic process by making it harder to put citizens’ ballot initiatives on the ballot. Why would a person who campaigned on and swore to serve the people he represents want to make it harder for them to exercise their rights in a democracy? Furthermore, why would a public servant be against people having a living wage so they can live with dignity and be able to put food on the table for themselves and their families?
Leach has demonstrated other examples of how he favors reactionary, Dark Money and corporate interests over the people. He has taken positions that:
- Favor the Koch Brothers and their anti-worker, anti-public school and anti-consumer agenda, with taxpayer funding for “Freedom Centers” at the University of Arizona and Arizona State University. Should public money go toward private centers within universities that serve no great demand among the student population?
- Champion the building of a border wall that can be climbed over with a ladder or tunneled under when increased border patrol stations and drone detecting technology would work far better.
- Opposing Arizona Constitution provisions calling for state universities to offer as free an education as possible to students.
- Hindering Dreamers who graduate from Arizona High Schools from going to Arizona colleges and universities on in-state tuition rates.
- Subsidizing the rich. He supported taking his constituents’ taxpayer dollars to help subsidize a tax cut for the rich who put their children in private (58% of them are religiously-affiliated) schools. A question for the people in LD 11. Is this how you want your tax dollars spent?
- Encouraging backward thinking in energy policy by investing in the coal industry when the future is green technology like solar.
- Discouraging equality for members of the LGBTQ community. He has also not been in favor of same-sex marriage. This is another example of Leach being out of touch on an issue that has gained support over the last five years.
- Calling for the total repeal of Obamacare. What about the people in his district that need the subsidies to afford the health care plan for them and their families? Buying plans across state lines is a proven race to the bottom for health care plans and will only hurt the people of LD 11 and all over the country in the long-term.
- Restricting a woman’s right to choose. On his website, Leach states that he would protect “life.” What does that mean? He really gives no details. In Leach’s Arizona, would women have the right to take a morning after pill if she were raped? If heaven forbid, doctors found severe deformities of an unborn child in the early stages of a pregnancy, would the mother have the right to terminate that pregnancy rather than have the child born and suffer as they die slowly? Finally, what are Leach’s positions on life after birth? It is clear he does not support living wages for parents to support the child. It is clear he does not support quality, accessible, and affordable health care? What about state-funded early childhood education? Does he support that? Leach needs to explain his position on this most important issue for women.
Moving the state backward
In his four years as a legislator in the Arizona State House, Leach has demonstrated on multiple occasions that his vision is for moving the state backward, not forward. His vision protects the powerful and hurts the weak. His vision obstructs progress rather than building it. He represents a part of the Republican Party that is anti-democratic, corporatist, nativist, borderline theocratic, isolationist, and reactionary. In a district where Independents outnumber Republicans and enthusiasm to change course and encourage common sense problem solving, Leach’s brand may no longer be a good fit for LD 11.