Friday, June 29, 2012

Jerry Lewis for State Senate

Tonight, I crossed party lines to attend a meet and greet for Jerry Lewis who is running as a Republican for the State Senate in my legislative district.  He is the same person who took out immigration pariah Russel Pearce in a recall election.  He wasn't in my district then, but the lines have been re-drawn and he's in my district now.  He'll be running against Ed Ableser in November, someone who I've spent some time canvassing for already.

I went into the event tonight already with some expectations.  I figured Jerry Lewis was a moderate, was substantive, and would be someone I could, in theory vote for.    And I do have some concerns about Ed Ableser.  I've been told he's a pretty down the line liberal and I've read that he has missed 40% of his votes.  From Robb:
The Arizona Capitol Times reported on voting participation by state legislators. Most of them voted a high percentage of the time. I leave to you whether that’s good or bad.

The worst voting record in the Legislature by far belonged to Democratic state Representative Ed Ableser. He missed nearly 40 percent of the House floor votes.
When legislators miss a lot of votes, they usually have good excuses – personal or family illness, unusual business demands. Ableser, who is running for the Senate this year, had one I hadn’t heard before: He doesn’t like the legislators the voters in other districts elected.
The Capitol Times quotes Ableser as saying: “They’re nuts. The Tea Party has taken over the state and made it a complete mockery. I’m not going to participate in that.”
Well, now. Perhaps Ableser should ask that the election in his district be delayed – so he can see who gets elected from other districts and therefore how much time he really wants to spend doing the job.
 Back to Lewis, I admit I was kind of taken by him.  He's incredibly nice and engaging (though at times a bit long-winded).  He has an impressive resume.  He has really smart, authentically sharing views on immigration that I'm totally on board with.   He seemed to have a pretty strong libertarian ideology but tempered by a ton of pragmatism.   He actually spent several minutes talking with me and my wife, which is a precious opportunity for me and I'm grateful for it.

I asked him point blank his opinion on Obamacare.  I did make the mistake of prefacing my question with a disclosure that my daughter has a chronic illness.  He gave a sensible answer:  it's the law, let's work with it to improve it, but until the Republicans come up with something better, this is what we have.  Having said that, I got the impression he had a tendency to say what he felt people wanted to hear.

The person who hosted this house party attends my church congregation and invited many members of the church to attend. Someone, who I respect, stood up and gave a tearful endorsement for this person as someone who has a pure and honest heart.  Also, he was, at one time, a ecclesiastical leader of my parents congregration and knew my parents by name.

I can easily see myself voting for Jerry Lewis, but I would love to get a chance to have a similar discussion with Ed Ableser before this is all said and done.  I also can't wait to watch the upcoming debates.


Unknown said...

Would be interesting to see what he would say to a tea party person. And what are his ideas to "improve" the Afordable Care Act? Single payer? Would be an improvement!.... Keep us informed!


Anonymous said...

I posed a question to him about how his religion affects his politics, and he replied "It informs it, but doesn't dictate it.".

This leads me to wonder a few things:
1. If his religion informs, but doesn't dictate, then is his religion that important to him?
2. If his religion contradicted his own views, how would he reconcile being both loyal to his religion, and loyal to himself?
3. His response seems to give him an out. If his religion says one thing, he can go against it and say "See, told you it merely informs". If he agrees with his religion on other points, he can still claim to be "faithful" to it. Sounds like he may be comfortable having one foot in and one foot out.

In any case, he mentioned that Ableser had personally told him that he would "never run against him," and, since he is now running against him, he didn't keep his word. Lewis then said he wouldn't mudsling, but did reserve the right to "tell the truth.".

Very interesting statement if you ask me.



tempe turley said...

I really think the phrase "it informs, but it doesn't dictate" is pretty boilerplate, so I didn't extract too much from it.

On 1: I don't think we can say from this one response (although I assume it is really important to him). I think on the vast majority of the issues faced by a legislature, one's personal faith may not be totally irrelevant, but certainly the relevancy is not clear. What would one's faith dictate on positions of a particular tax question, the environment, government welfare, etc. I see the "inform, but not dictate" as the appropriate response here. In some cases, it should dictate (maybe on abortion, or views on torture, etc.), but these should be pretty rare, and then exactly how would they dictate? It's a complex question, because even an issue like abortion has enough complexity built in, it's hard to right laws that work well for every single instance.

On 2: I think this is a really good question for all of us. I'm not sure how its relevant to the state senate.

On 3: Ok, on 3), you mean if there's an issue that comes up in the Senate where the church takes a stand (say like on gay marriage), and he wanted to vote one way and the church comes out specifically to vote the other. This is a really good question and should happen in extremely rare cases. I wish you could have asked this as a follow up, however, I would venture to guess that he would fall in line with the church - dictate rather than inform.

They all say this: "I'm not mudslinging, just telling the truth." A little mudslinging never bothers me. I want the full story, the more information the better, but it can go over the line, I don't think state elections do often.

I'm really hoping I can meet Ableser some time, since I'm currently leaning Jerry Lewis. I'll let you know if I get the chance if you'd like to join.