Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Legislative District 17 Debates

Interested in the full two hours? Check it out here.

The Senate debate takes up the first 30+ minutes. Unfortunately, only the Democratic candidate, David Schapira bothered to show up. He was an incumbent in the House, now he's running for the Senate.

His opponent Wendy Rogers posted on facebook: " Stayed out late this evening going door-to-door . . . 7 precincts left to go. Voters OVERWHELMINGLY tell me they appreciate a candidate on their doorstep rather than having to take time to attend a forum to view a candidate from a distance. Shouldn't it be about what the voter wants and not the candidate?"

What? That is weak. Here's her website. Just quickly glancing at her bio, she seems like an impressive person. Its baffling why she would not want to show up to the debates. Here's "random musing's explanation:

"Of course, Rogers could have been pinned down and asked to explain her answer on this questionnaire from the Center for Arizona Policy.

When asked if she supported or opposed 'Prohibiting abortion except when it is necessary to prevent the death of the mother,' not only did she circle 'Support,' she expanded upon that answer by adding 'Honestly, I do not support abortion even to prevent the unfortunate death of the mother.'"

Ummmm...yeah. That one doesn't even fit in with the mainstream of her own party, much less the mainstream of Tempe and south Scottsdale."

Ok, so about Schapira:

First, some background: He's been a high school teacher and now teaches at ASU. His focus has been with education and wants to work across the aisle and has, signing 2 bills in the past year into law that relate to education. What were they? I'm interested. He owns two small businesses. Apparently, being a small business owner, a member or former member of the military, or a teacher or all of the above are prerequisites for a political career :-), sorry Shapira only 2 out of 3 for you.

Shapira's campaign motto should be let's avoid being "penny wise, pound foolish". He uses this phrase to pound our current Republican dominated legislature particularly pointing to the cutting of kid's care (providing health care to children of poor families) and all day kindergarten.

He uses this phrase again in the notion of preserving and maintaining our state parks - this is important because you want to keep our state beautiful and interesting if you want to attract people - people who will move here or visit here. Drastically important in keeping our economy vibrant.

His take on where our legislature blew it:

- A CAP was placed on the rainy day fund and the money was given in tax breaks. I think I remember this, but have forgotten. The rainy day fund has been an issue I've mentioned before that we need to save during boom times so we can spend counter-cyclically during busts.

- Arizona has given massive tax breaks to the wealthiest (Democrats always say that, but Republicans do seem to support those believing the rich are the drivers for our economy and should do as little funding of government services as possible, since they magically know how to spend their money better than the rest of us)

Some additional highlites:

He made the point that the worst things you can do in tough economic times is to raise the sells tax which is an attack agaisnt Brewer's sales tax proposition. Well, since that debate, the Republic claims that the sales tax has not decreased spending. Probably because small hikes in the tax rate applied broadly are not enough to change the behavior of consumers - the price hikes were not noticed in other words.

His main point, over and over again, was on education - to protect educational spending. He ripped the legislature for cutting $2 billion in funding to our schools over the last two years. And the made the interesting point that, again, Brewer's sales tax proposition was really a threat. You don't pass it and we'll cut schools further, to the tune of $800 million. I knew that, still voted for it :-).

My overall impression was that David Schapira was impressive, passionate and had a strong command of the issues. He definitely has my vote and support this election.

And still I'm baffled that Wendy Rogers chose not to show up. Maybe she believes the ones with the largest and most yard signs deserves to win the election. I'm wondering if people out there vote on that metric.

By the way, I will listen to the rest of the debate, which will focus on the candidates running for the two up for grabs house seats and post later.

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