Endorsements for statewide elections: No elephant in the room

The Editorial Board's picks for governor, attorney general, secretary of state and superintendent

Governor: Fred DuVal

Fred DuVal is a Tucson native with a heck of a resume: He’s the former Arizona Board of Regents president, he served as an advisor to former Gov. Bruce Babbitt and he was the deputy chief of protocol for President Bill Clinton’s administration.

DuVal’s platform is equally impressive, with a focus on confronting issues crucial for Arizonans: fighting border crime, fixing the immigration system, restoring Child Protective Services and supporting veterans.

But what endears DuVal most to us is his support for education. DuVal is the only candidate who supports increased funding for higher education and has expressed a desire to restore that funding to the levels we saw before officials took a scalpel (or a machete) to state universities during the Great Recession — an increase of 50 percent per student, if he succeeds. With these changes, many of the tuition hikes that were implemented to compensate for the cuts will no longer be necessary, and we could see tuition and fees decrease.

DuVal has also made a pledge to stop budget cuts to K-12 education, stating that “not another dime, not another nickel, not another penny,” will be taken out of education. DuVal has emphasized in many debates that improving education correlates with improving the economy. He also has said his economic plan would be to help students to prepare for the workforce through coalitions with universities and other businesses.

Since DuVal has served on the board of regents for many years, he has the upper hand in higher-education knowledge and experience; we trust his judgment.

Doug Ducey’s solution to education, on the other hand, is to tighten colleges’ budgets, maintain current cuts and force schools to spend their money carefully. One of Ducey’s big points earlier in his campaign was his desire to, eventually, completely eliminate income tax, which accounts for 40 percent of our state’s general fund — 40 percent less money that could be used toward education or any other state services.

Polarized views aside, DuVal has also managed to find support within the Republican Party. When the Republican Governors Association ran an ad blaming DuVal for the college tuition increases that occurred when he was on the board of regents, fellow board member Republican Anne Mariucci responded. Mariucci said that when the legislature cut education funds, DuVal fought to increase financial aid, to develop coalitions between four-year universities and community colleges and to open more college campuses in rural Arizona.

“Fred was always the loudest voice in the room to protect students from unnecessary tuition hikes,” Mariucci said.

Clearly, DuVal’s passion for our education extends beyond party lines.

We could go on about how DuVal, as opposed to Ducey, supports the legalization of marijuana, women’s right to choose, the DREAM act and raising the minimum wage and is the only candidate who even believes that climate change is man-made, but we’ll just stick to the most relevant of all these very relevant issues: As college students, DuVal will work in our interests. Ducey won’t. 



Attorney General: Felecia Rotellini

In the race for attorney general, we’re thankful not to have Tom Horne on the ballot. His scandal-plagued administration of the attorney general’s office will undoubtedly hang over the head of whoever is elected to the post of Arizona’s top lawyer.

Yet, Republican Mark Brnovich and Democrat Felecia Rotellini could both bring years of experience in prosecution to the position, and both have promising, if similar, platforms championing protection of the weak and defenseless.

Brnovich has served as an assistant U.S. attorney and director of the Arizona Department of Gaming, after long stretches specializing in gang and repeat offenders.

Rotellini was a prosecutor for the attorney general’s office and supervised financial services at the Arizona Department of Financial Institutions, going up against loan and corporate fraud.

It’s difficult to compare the candidates on their levels of experience, stacking one legal agency against the other, but it’s fair to note that Brnovich’s frequent claim that Rotellini doesn’t have criminal trial experience is only half true; she has prosecuted criminal cases, but has not argued one in front of a jury.

On the other side of the political attacking, though, we agree with what Rotellini has repeated in debate after debate: We need to get politics out of the attorney general’s office, and Brnovich has too many.

In a fundraising email sent to constituents, Brnovich announced his endorsement by the Arizona Right to Life PAC, and drove home, time and time again, his intention to “respect the sanctity of life at every stage,” a sentiment that’s supported on his website, which states that Brnovich will “protect and defend our laws that concern the unborn.”

On the same site, Brnovich states his intention to oppose federal dictates, like those from the Affordable Care Act or the Environmental Protection Agency, which “tramples the Constitution.” Brnovich will not “miss opportunities to push back against the overreach of the Obama administration,” he wants us to know.

To us, that sounds like an agenda, no matter how many times Brnovich insists he’s not a politician.

This is not to say that Rotellini doesn’t have her own politics, but at least they are clearly realized and defined with laid-out plans to create a domestic violence ombudsman, a business roundtable, a veteran’s military advisory council and a sex trafficking and crimes against children unit within the attorney general’s office.

Rotellini wants to contribute to the office, not to use her time there mainly as a platform for haranguing the federal government, and we’re curious to see the changes she can implement.



Secretary of State: Terry Goddard

Terry Goddard has a familiar name and a face that we can dig, but he’s also proven he has the managerial chops and Arizona-specific experience to make him the best secretary of state. His secondary platform of making voting easier with more available polling places and permanent early voting especially are good news for college students on tight schedules or without steady transport.

A four-time mayor of Phoenix and a two term Arizona attorney general, Goddard spent his tenure in the state government system fighting border crime, statewide consumer fraud and foreclosures and ensuring water rights — the types of issues that are crucial for Arizonans specifically and the types of fights that won him the highest possible recognition from his fellow attorney generals.

As mayor, too, Goddard was recognized for his effective, efficient and citizen-engaging organizational style. Goddard has proven he can competently manage the administrative tasks and election overseeing required of a secretary of state.

Goddard’s also proven that — should the unexpected happen — he could fulfill the line of succession and make a fine governor as well. Some of Goddard’s most memorable moves as attorney general were taking a strong early, public stand against the passage of SB 1070 and refusing to file a lawsuit against the federal government over the ACA. Rather than having been primarily motivated by ideology, Goddard cited efficient management of time and funds as his validation; lots of dollars and a few years later, Goddard’s words take on more wisdom.

In his campaign for secretary of state, Goddard is primarily running on a platform against corrupting influence in politics —”dark money” and lobbyists, which we could all use less of. Goddard has also put his money — or maybe the lack thereof — where his mouth is by running a “clean election” in which he has not accepted money from corporations or special interest groups.

Goddard’s opponent Michele Reagan has a very similar platform, but with several big discrepancies in her political past. 

Reagan, as Goddard has recently pointed out in debates, voted for SB 1062, last winter’s controversial discrimination-enabling bill, which Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed. Reagan has argued that one vote shouldn’t mar her entire record, but we question whether a candidate who supports discrimination in businesses should be trusted with the responsibility to prevent voter fraud and suppression and all manner of other inequity in Arizona. Goddard, as we’ve seen time and time again, certainly can.



Superintendent: David Garcia

It’s a well-known turn of phrase: Those who can’t do, teach. Democratic candidate David Garcia, it seems, can do both.

The list of education-related positions showing that Garcia can “do” is impressive in both length and breadth: Arizona state associate superintendent of Public Instruction, director of research and policy for the Arizona Department of Education, research analyst for the state Senate Education Committee and consultant for the U.S. Department of Education. But it’s in filling another role — as an associate professor of education leadership at Arizona State University — that Garcia truly shows us his deep, personal stake in, and knowledge of, Arizona’s educational system. He’s a teacher who teaches other teachers, an educator who knows the system from the outside and the inside.

And Garcia’s been a student here in Arizona, where he grew up poor and troubled but went on to become the first in his family to go to college. His personal experience and triumph with our also-troubled school system endows him with more authority than any resume-like list could.

Garcia supports Common Core, or at least a form of it, which has earned him some flack from Republican opponents like Diane Douglas, who seems to be running solely on the platform of “repeal.” But it’s also worth pointing out that Garcia has been endorsed by two past Republican superintendents; he’s used to compromise.

Besides, as Garcia would probably be the first to say, Common Core isn’t the most important issue on his platform. His “Measure What Matters” platform focuses on making Arizona’s student internationally competitive — not just competent according to the state — with initiatives, such as offering more advanced placement classes, teaching computer coding skills and fostering and nurturing not just bilingual but multilingual students as well. Garcia is also sensitive to the needs of those students who would not choose college, emphasizing certifications for technical schools and the pursuit of artistic endeavours just as much as universities.

It’s been 40 years since Arizona elected a Latino to a state office. Now, with our school-aged population consisting mostly of minorities, there’s never been a better time, or a more qualified choice, for state superintendent.

— Editorials are determined by the Daily Wildcat editorial board and written by its members. They are Joey Fisher, Jacquelyn Oesterblad, Katelyn Kennon and Ethan McSweeney. They can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter @DailyWildcat


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