Thursday, September 2, 2010

Governor Debate

Full disclosure, I'm most definitely voting for Terry Goddard this election for a variety of reasons, but let me talk about this debate only.

First of all, the opening by Janet Brewer was a disaster. I don't think this disqualifies her necessarily, but it is pretty obvious she's not a good public speaker. What's amazing is it happened during the opening statement. This is something she should have nailed down and prepared for. It was like she threw it together at the last minute? Maybe it does disqualify her for governor. I'm really amazed by it actually.

But let's get to the substance. I thought Terry Goddard's attack, trying to blame the economy on Brewer, while understandable, was pretty unfair. Arizona is in a massive recession that is the result from a real-estate bubble that has been building up since the early 2000's. I'm not sure any state official is to blame for this. Arizona was an unlucky recipient of national and global trends. Arizona is sunny and has cheap housing. Lots of folks from California moved in. Everyone got caught up in a massive bubble, I'm not sure what we could have done about it.

Well, I do know. Arizona has been way too reliant on cheap housing as a driver for their economy for far too long and now we're suffering real consequences for it.

Terry Goddard is right that our emphasis has to be on schools. Brewer is right in asking the real questions to Goddard - where is he going to get the money. And tax schemes are not going to make up for the fact that there isn't a strong enough educated workforce in Arizona to attract businesses.

We need better schools from top to bottom. We need to do more to make Arizona an attractive place for knowledge workers to move here and then companies will follow. This isn't about low taxes, its about an environment that is desirable to live.

But I really wanted to know how Goddard would have balanced the budget without cutting kids care or all-day kindergarten (he hammered Brewer on all three points - the cuts and the failure to balance the budget). He kept claiming he would bring jobs to Arizona and grow our economy and that's how he'd pay for it, but that's hardly a short-term solution.

Goddard made some good points on the private prison issue and even the libertarian candidate agreed that private prisons should not be used to house violent criminals. Brewer needs to be held accountable for that.

All and all, I think Goddard won this debate, but I'm not sure this debate gives a voters enough information to make an informed voting decision. Other than, I thought Brewer did herself no favors. I'll have to keep digging for more.

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