Fixing Arizona’s image: tolerance and inclusion

Brewer-ObamaThe Arizona Republic today posits that the Next governor will aim to fix Arizona’s image.

Arizona’s image to businesses and to people who would relocate here has been severely harmed by Arizona’s far-right ideological extremism, from Jan Brewer embracing the anti-immigrant “papers please” SB 1070 to gain election in 2010, to Gov. Brewer and the Tea-Publican legislature enacting anti-government Neo-Confederate “states rights” legislation routinely struck down by the courts as unconstitutional, to Gov. Brewer showing disrespect to the president by waving he boney finger in his face, to this year’s “right-to-refuse-service” aka Religious Bigotry bill, SB 1062, that caused such a national furor.

Brewer’s would-be successor as the next chief executive must repair this state’s reputation and avoid future embarrassments that damage the state’s potential for economic growth. From The Republic:

Repairing the state’s image has come up at nearly every major governor’s forum, including Wednesday’s debate. Pollster Mike O’Neil said the issue resonates with many in the business community and ­offers an opportunity for DuVal to attract ­independents and “country club” Republicans — those less concerned with the social issues behind recent ­Arizona controversies.

“If he can convince them he’s a mainstream guy and that Doug Ducey is not going to be able to control the far-right wing — that we’re going to get more 1070s and 1062s — he might be able to get the mainstream business conservatives,” O’Neil said.

The Arizona economy has taken a beating in recent years, partly because of the state’s image problem, said ­Michael Orr, director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. Arizona must stay out of the comedy routines, drastically improve its K-12 education system and nurture a reputation of tolerance to attract new businesses and residents, he said.

“For people who are informed through what they see on (‘The Daily Show With Jon Stewart’) … you think of people sitting on a front porch with a loaded shotgun waiting for illegal immigrants to pass,” Orr said. “I say that in joking terms, but there is some truth to it.”

In recent years, he said, some proposals in the Legislature have had a “very bad effect on the CEOs of companies where they’re very anxious not to offend their customer base.” Such proposals can turn off executives at tech companies that employ Millennials, who tend to be more liberal.

Arizona has regained just 63 percent of jobs lost since the Great Recession, while the nation has regained 107 percent, said ASU professor Lee McPheters, director of the JPMorgan Chase Economic Outlook Center at the W.P. Carey School of Business at ASU . . . Economists have pushed their forecast for the state’s full recovery from the recession to 2016.

Amid these struggles, the state has ­remained a punchline.

Let’s look at this issue of concern to businesses seeking to relocate: tolerance and inclusion.

The Arizona Republic, the mouthpiece of the GOP establishment in Arizona, recently editorialized in favor of recognition of same-sex marriages in Arizona, Come on, Supreme Court, OK gay marriage, and in favor of amending the Arizona Civil Rights Act to prohibit discrimination against employees on the basis of  sexual orientation or sexual identity, i.e., a state statute version of the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). Arizona cities respect human dignity: Can lawmakers? “Discriminating against people because of who they are is contrary to American ideals.” “The state should, at the very least, protect the LGBT community from workplace discrimination.”

So how do the gubernatorial candidates stack up on this issue?

Herrod“Cathi’s Clown” Doug Ducey is in the pocket of his campaign adviser Cathi Herrod from the Center for Arizona Policy (CAP), the “hatin’ on the gays” religious bigotry organization that is responsible for Arizona’s state-sanctioned anti-gay discrimination marriage amendment in its Constitution, and that was a sponsor of the this year’s “right-to-refuse-service” aka Religious Bigotry bill, SB 1062.

Cathi Herrod has already promised to bring back SB 1062 in January, in response to the anticipated rulings this fall from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and the District Court of Arizona striking down state same-sex marriage bans, and in advance of what many court observers believe will be a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court next June.

Herrod wants an “opt out” law for religious bigots to discriminate against people they don’t like in employment and public accommodations, couched in terms of  “religious liberty” based upon one’s “deeply held personal religious beliefs.” As The Republic editorialized, “Discriminating against people because of who they are is contrary to American ideals.”

In the unfortunate circumstance that “Cathis’ Clown” Doug Ducey is elected governor, does anyone seriously believe that Ducey will not defend Arizona’s anti-gay discrimination same-sex marriage ban in the courts, and will not entertain Cathi Herrod’s new and improved SB 1062?

Ducey stated during the gubernatorial debate on Wednesday that he opposes same-sex marriage, but noted that it’s a legal matter now and he would respect a court decision. Would Ducey accept or fight same-sex marriage? Ducey is echoing The Republic’s cop-out position: The Republic knows that Tea-Publicans in the Arizona legislature and Ducey will never be proactive and do the right thing by ridding our state Constitution of state-sanctioned discrimination, so they are hoping that the U.S. Supreme Court simply does it for them. No “profiles in courage” here.

Ducey was a late comer to adding his voice to those calling on Gov. Brewer to veto SB 1062 earlier this year. Remember, only three Tea-Publicans in the Arizona legislature voted against SB 1062, it was the overwhelming consensus GOP position.

It was only after the national furor arose over SB 1062 that Ducey decided to add his voice for a veto. It was not his original position, and his “me too” was simply political opportunism during a primary campaign. Ducey’s original position was to write a better version of SB 1062:

Screenshot from 2014-02-24 12:09:11

This is exactly what Cathi Herrod proposes to do in January. Herrod will get her chance to write a new version of SB 1062 if “Cathi’s Clown” Doug Ducey is elected governor.

Democrat Fred DuVal does not suffer from any moral ambiguity. He is clear and unambiguous on the issue of tolerance and inclusion:

“I strongly support marriage equality and equal rights for all Arizonans.  As governor, if the courts have not thrown out our ban on marriage equality, I will use the bully pulpit to make sure marriage equality becomes a reality in Arizona in 2016.” 10 questions for Fred DuVal – FOX 10 News.

On the question of SB 1062, Fred DuVal was the first to call for Gov. Brewer to veto the bill.  Fred DuVal Urges Veto of Bill to Legalize Discrimination:

If I were governor, I wouldn’t have waited for this bill to get to my desk. I would have stopped it before it passed. I would have made it very clear to the legislature that they shouldn’t bother sending me this legislation. This bill won’t solve any of the problems facing Arizona families; it won’t create jobs or improve education. In fact, it will be a job killer. It’s going to hurt our businesses and hurt our state’s reputation across the country — it’s just plain wrong.

I urge Governor Brewer to consider the opinions of Arizonans such as Senator John McCain, who has said he wouldn’t support SB 1062, and organizations such as the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, which called this bill ‘anti-business.’”

Now is the time for the Republican candidates for Governor — Doug Ducey, Ken Bennett, and Christine Jones — to show some spine: Will they stand up against legalized discrimination or bow down to Cathi Herrod? Anyone who wants to lead the State of Arizona, ought to speak clearly and honestly about where they stand on legalized discrimination. November is coming.

There is only one clear choice on the issue of tolerance and inclusion: Fred DuVal for governor. Since this issue is of such critical importance to the Arizona Republic, will the editorial board do the right thing and endorse Fred DuVal for governor? Or will it succumb to its GOP tribalism like the feckless Arizona Chamber of Commerce?

2 responses to “Fixing Arizona’s image: tolerance and inclusion

  1. (sigh) Just another reason I should vote for Fred Duval. Dang it! I am a Republican! (sigh)

  2. A complete change of policy and attitude in Arizona state government is due after almost 40 years of stagnation. But it will take more than just the executive branch. The stranglehold of the bat-pockey crazy branch of Republican party is equally responsible. I have family members involved in attempts to lure high-tech companies to Arizona. The executives all say the same thing, “We want out of California, but we’re going to Nevada. Arizona politicians are crazy.”
    Doug Ducey claims to have assembled a broad coalition of support. Holding and controlling a group with so many conflicting interests would take someone with the political and salesmanship skills of Ronald Reagan, and Doug isn’t the Gipper. I know some of those groups joined because they are playing the odds that he will be governor, and they don’t want to cross him. It would be interesting to hear what he says to each group and compare the promises to the political reality.
    Fred Duval is the only sane choice because I never want to find out who Ducey would disappoint. But I do know this: It would be the people of Arizona who would get the shaft.