On his worst day, attorney Clint Smith would be a better representative for Arizona House Congressional District (CD) Five than current incumbent Andy Biggs.
Running again as an Independent candidate in the Maricopa County East Valley District, Mr. Smith promises to serve three two-year terms as a Citizen Leader who would work to protect Democracy, reform the Immigration System, enact common-sense gun safety legislation, and safeguard the state’s water supply.
Time and time again, Mr. Biggs, a known MAGA fanatic, accused of helping plan the Domestic Terrorist Insurrection at the Nation’s Capital on January 6, 2021, has demonstrated he is a servant of the autocratic and plutocratic fringe, not most of the people in Arizona CD Five.
Biggs is such a threat to American Democracy, that the once Republican Smith would consider running as a Democrat if it would help send the MAGA cheerleader into retirement.
If elected, Mr. Smith would be a far better role model for the district’s populace and aspiring public servants than the tarnished Mr. Biggs.
Mr. Smith graciously took the time to interview and respond to questions regarding his candidacy for Arizona CD Five.
The questions and his responses are below.
Full Disclosure: Mr. Smith served as the attorney for my Charter School.
1) Please tell the voters at least three reasons they should choose you over any Democrat or Republican opponent in Arizona CD Five in 2024.
“This is a great question because people are used to voting for a Democrat or a Republican. Honestly, I am not a fan of the duopoly. It doesn’t work, at least not right now. We’ve got all kinds of challenges. We’ve got this problem in the House of Representatives. There’s no Speaker of the House and no business can get done. We’ve got wars going on. We’ve got stuff that needs to be done and we’ve got a government shutdown pending. The whole dichotomy there is causing all kinds of grief. It’s really important to have an independent. I’m a true Independent. I used to be a Republican. I have represented a lot of people in my law practice and I have a lot of compassion for causes that appeal to independents and Democrats so I feel I can appeal to lots of people, rational people who want to get things done.”
“Also, in this particular race, I think it’s important to know that I am not an insurrectionist and I do not want to destroy the government or our credit rating which our current Congressman (Mr. Biggs) is doing as we speak.”
2) Please advise what are three current major issues in the CD Five House Race. Please explain.
“The first issue in my mind is still Democracy. That overrides everything. This Democracy is in jeopardy. If we can’t work together to solve problems, then we are just stuck in our various camps. We are not going to get anything done and that is a big issue. We have people still challenging institutions including the Justice Department and the F.B.I. which our current Representative (Mr. Biggs) wants to defund. We still have people saying the election was stolen and these are all very damaging because it affects how people look at the past and the future. There’s an all-time low right now in confidence in the court system, the election system, and the justice system. It does not need to be this way. If people at the top, including Donald J. Trump would just stop making stuff up and putting it out there as if it was true and having people believe that we would be in a lot better place. This Democracy is a huge issue and our Congressman, Andy Biggs, stands right with Trump in that bandwagon one hundred percent and the craziness that goes with it.”
“As far as the legislative issues, we need to reform the Immigration System entirely. It’s a mess. The border does need to be secure. No one seriously says the border should be open. We need to have it much better regulated on who gets in and why. If people are not here legally, how do we handle that? Do we spread out the real refugees among the other states instead of places like Arizona and Texas bear a lot of that burden. There is also the problem of millions of people being here who are not in the system. They are in the Underground Economy and if we brought them into the real economy, they would be paying income tax. They would be contributing to the system and most of them, that’s exactly what they came here for, that opportunity. That’s a big deal and Congress has kicked that can back and forth. It’s a campaign issue. It’s a fundraising issue so there’s no incentive by the parties to fix it. I think we need to fix it. These are serious problems that people are affected by every single day.”
“I’m also a gun-sense candidate. Common sense gun reform is necessary. Most people agree that an 18-year-old should not be able to walk into a gun shop on his birthday and buy multiple rounds of ammunition and high-yield weapons on credit. That’s exactly what happened in Uvalde. It’s insane what went on there. There should be Red Flag Laws. They work. We can have systems in place but the problem there again with the mistrust of institutions is who is going to decide if I am mentally unstable or not. The fact is, no one is going to come for the regular guys. I have faith in the system so that if Mom sees her son acting crazy and has access to guns and she tells the police, that should be something that can be investigated. Or if a teacher sees it, that is what Red Flag Laws are for and they work. We have to do that here.”
“Water: We are in an ongoing drought which is the new normal and we must figure out the water thing. The Saudi situation out there in Rural Arizona is insane. I appreciate that they’ve done what they could to be efficient with the use of the water but why are we funding the Saudi’s feeding of their cattle. I’m all in favor of canceling those leases where we can and doing legally what we can. We need to use the water here for the development that we need. We need the water to survive.”
“Finally, the economy. I am afraid of how the spending has gotten out of hand. Forgiving student loans wily nilly across the board is crazy. That was a bit much for me. But I do feel that government has a role to play. It shouldn’t just be every issue that comes up, “no, if it involves spending money, no absolutely not.” We should be spending money on things that we need like national security and by the way, Ukraine and Israel are national security interests in preserving those allies and Democracies. That should be something we spend some money on. I would rather be spending money for their guys on the front lines rather than for our kids to do that work. That is exactly what would happen if we dropped out and said, I’m not helping anymore. Our allies would be overrun. We would lose credibility in the world. That’s a national defense issue. It’s not an international issue in my mind.”
What are your views on Inflation?
“Inflation is a worldwide thing. It’s just not our country but part of that is we just print money when we need it. With a national debt over $33 trillion, how can we not have serious inflationary troubles if we’ve got that going on? I was recently in Europe, and you want to talk about inflation. It’s crazy with gas $9.00 a gallon. It’s not as bad here as we think compared to other places but it’s still pretty bad that causes real harm. It is related to the monetary system and spending has to be reined in but it just can’t be cut off. Some people, including our Congressman (Mr. Biggs), would like to cut all spending. We have to look at specific, individual areas where money should be spent and limit it in other areas as best we can.”
With some House Republicans like Mr. Biggs willing to gut federal funding for public education, what are your views on funding Title One for Schools?
“I’m a big fan of public education. My kids went to Mesa High School, and we loved that. They had a great experience there. Some of my kids are also associated with Micro schools and have been associated with charter schools. There are all sorts of options. Parents should have choices. There should be a minor role, in my mind, of the federal government in this. It should be local because what we need here in Arizona is not going to be the same as New Jersey. As far as the federal Title One, this is a place where the federal government needs to help the states. Childhood hunger and related challenges are a threat to our future. And it’s not who we are as Americans to cut off funding for those basic needs. We need to have a lot more common sense in the school boards and their administration but then again why would anyone want to be on a school board and be unpaid if no one has faith in the school board and they raise these crazy issues about things that are not even real like CRT. It’s crazy.”
What is your view on the CHIPS Act, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and the Inflation Reduction Act?
“Some spending needs to be looked at individually. I’m kind of frustrated about the omnibus approach that they all have. Twenty or more issues are all in these big acts so you only get to vote one time, yay or nay, on this whole big package. If you could split it up, I’d feel better about that.”
“For example, on the CHIPS Act, that’s brilliant. It evens the playing field and gives us an opportunity here in Arizona to create some jobs, build the economy, and do some great things. Little seed money for that is not a bad thing. But then again, it can get out of hand. It can get abused and that is always the danger with giving money to the government to take care of it. I would generally like the government to stay out of it but in that situation, there’s definitely usage for that.”
“On Infrastructure, there’s no private company that’s going to rebuild bridges or trains. It does need to be a public type thing. You just can’t let the federal government; they used to make the deals. They used to have earmarks that the Congressman would come in and say ‘I want this plant built in my state. If I do that, I’ll vote for the bill.’ You can’t do that anymore. So what we do to keep track of how we regulate or keep in line members of Congress is you put a whole package of things together and you say, okay, I need your vote on all this. That’s the only way they can actually accomplish anything but it also makes it more challenging because there’s too much in those bills and typically, they don’t have time enough to read it all. They don’t even know what we’re getting ourselves into.”
3) Please describe your campaign’s strategy to reach out to Democrats, Independents, and Disaffected Republicans.
“This is a grassroots effort. I do not have the bank and I won’t have what Andy Biggs has. But we have 1,500 volunteers and 12,000 people who have donated to our campaign in the past. I’ve got a lot of energy here. I’m going to meet people face to face. We’re going to use social media. I’m a bit of a unicorn running as an Independent running and getting on a ballot as an Independent. The national and local media are very interested in me. I’ve been on TV a few times. Social media does work, and we take the clips and put them out there. A lot of it has to do with large donors but the thing about this race is this is a Presidential race year and we’re going to have a very hotly contested Senate race here. Media is going to be expensive to buy. At least, TV media. We’re not as interested in that as we are using our money wisely and 1500 volunteers helping get the message out and help people learn who I am and what I’m about.”
4) Is there anything not covered in the first three questions that you would like the voters to know about you and your candidacy for Arizona CD Five? Please explain.
“It’s important for people to know I’m not a professional politician. I’m a small business owner. I’ve owned my own law practice for almost 40 years. I’ve had other businesses that I’ve operated. I’ve lived in the East Valley and this district since 1981. I am not here for a career path. I don’t have aspirations for higher office. I’m honestly here to fight for Democracy and to defeat a person (Mr. Biggs) who is a threat to Democracy.”
“I believe term limits are needed. I would serve three terms (two years each) and do what I can. Then, I would let somebody else step up. I feel like that is how it should be. The citizen leader is the model the Founding Fathers started out with and I’d love to come back to that.”
“We raised our family here. I’ve dealt with regular people in my law practice and helped them in common, regular situations that happen in their daily life.”
“The only other challenge is what if some Democrat gets on the ballot. What if someone seriously starts coming out. I’ve actually toyed with the idea of running as a Democrat. That could possibly happen. I’m certainly never going to run as a Republican, but a Democrat-run is not out of the question. I’m not a fan of the duopoly so I really do want to stay Independent but I am going to do whatever it takes to win this race in whatever way we need to.”
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