There was a lot of talk this year about “draining the swamp” of lobbyists and special interests in government during the election.
Our Tea-Publican controlled Arizona legislature has decided to go in a different direction, putting right-wing lobbyists and special interests firmly in control of the swamp that is our Arizona legislature.
To parahrase Betty Davis in All About Eve, “Fasten your seatbelts, its going to be a bumpy ride!”
The Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required) reports, New Arizona House speaker hires anti-abortion group’s lawyer:
The incoming speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives has hired the top attorney for a powerful anti-abortion group as general counsel for the legislative chamber, one of a string of staffers with deep conservative resumes chosen by Rep. J.D. Mesnard.
The hiring of Josh Kredit as the chamber’s top lawyer comes after Mesnard chose Goldwater Institute vice president Michael Hunter as his chief of staff following his election as speaker by majority Republicans last month.
Kredit is currently general counsel and vice president of policy for the Center for Arizona Policy, a group that opposes gay marriage and abortion and promotes religious freedom. The group has written anti-abortion, school choice and other legislation in recent years and is a powerful force among Republican lawmakers.
Mesnard said Tuesday that he’s building a conservative staff to support a conservative Republican caucus.
“I think that Josh offers a wealth of policy and legal experience, that’s why I chose him. His values line up with the values of the caucus,” Mesnard said.
Along with Kredit and Hunter, Mesnard’s other staff picks include at least two other previous Goldwater Institute employees, a former Americans for Prosperity staffer and an attorney who worked for national Republican groups and the Arizona Chamber of Commerce.
Mesnard pointed to Hunter as an example of someone who can serve at multiple jobs and be beholden only to his current employer. He noted that he served as a Senate staffer when the Senate was at odds with former Gov. Janet Brewer, then worked for her before heading to Goldwater, which was taking on Brewer over her Medicaid expansion plan. Kredit will do the same, he said.
“If for instance we were to do something that the Center for Arizona Policy was against or not do something they wanted to see, Josh will be there advising and advocating the Republican caucus’s agenda, not the CAP agenda,” he said.
Riiight. This would be more believable if the GOP caucus actually took a position different from CAP, which is as rare as snow in June in Phoenix. As Mesnard said, “[Kredit’s] values line up with the values of the caucus.”
Center for Arizona Policy president Cathi Herrod praised the hire.
“Josh is among a long list of extraordinary team members who God has used at CAP and then moved on to continue his work elsewhere,” she said in a news release.
Kredit helped push anti-abortion laws through the Legislature in his five years at CAP, and criticized the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision legalizing gay marriage, saying that the court “disregarded the democratic process by stripping all Americans of their ability to debate and decide marriage policy.
Cathi Herrod is known as “Arizona’s 31st Senator.” Now she has her right-hand man in charge over at the House.
What could possibly go wrong?