I spoke with Katie Bolger today, she noticed that I did not link to Karin Uhlich’s website. I could say that I didn’t because I don’t live in her ward, or I could admit that I didn’t know her URL.
There is another Rum, Romanism and Rebellion site. Go figure. They even use the same template I do. They have been up for a while. The two people that do it seem a bit more conservative than I am. I hope the fact that there are two of us will not be a problem. If it is, the only way to settle these matters will be ritual combat.
I read in this morning’s Republic that Debra “Xena” Brimhall has been acquitted of charges stemming from an incident that occurred at last year’s Country Thunder Festival. One of the few privileges that state legislators enjoy here is a sort of immunity from some traffic violations when a legislator is on the way to the capitol. Debra, or some facsimile (she claimed it wasn’t her), tried to get out of the ticket by claiming that she was a legislator an couldn’t get a ticket. This brought up three problems:
- Florence (the location of the festival) was not on Debra’s way to the capitol.
- The legislature was not in session
- Debra hadn’t been a member of the legislature for two years.
In the end, she claimed that she wasn’t at the festival, because she’s a “rocker.” I would poke fun at this, but she was seen at a recent Stan Ridgway show in Phoenix. This makes her not only a rocker, but a very discerning one.
Brimhall was a rather unique legislator. She once was told to put her shoes on during a session, but refused to because she loved the feel of the new carpet on her bare feet. There was talk about changing the legislature’s rather lax dress code because of the sometimes bizarre way she would dress. Once, I was up there to watch a session. She took to the microphone durring a vote and rambled. Finally she looked up to the tote board and said, “I’m going to keep talking until more of you vote yes.” It didn’t work. I was sitting next to a lobbyist who told me that she often does this. As we know, being an oddball has never been a barrier to serving in the Arizona legislature. Brimhall is planning on running for the State House again, this time from Mesa.
Some say that Brimhall’s first election was due to people being angry that Polly Rosenbaum was no longer really living in the district. Rosenbaum was a long time (really long time…she had served since the 1940’s) legislator from Globe, but there was grousing from her opponents that she was really living in Phoenix. Her defeat probably had more to do with opposition to Clinton’s environmental policies, it was 1994.
This brings me to my other topic (I bet you were wondering about that title). Sens. Karen Johnson and Linda Gray are planning to leave the Phoenix area and run in Greater Arizona. Johnson is planning to run against Bill Kopinicki (R-Safford) because Kopinicki is not sufficiently right-wing for her tastes (we know how liberal Safford is, right?). Gray is planning to move to Prescott, supposedly because she is retiring, but she is going to run for the legislature from up there.
Johnson has been in the house before, and her bouncing back and forth probably violates the spirit of the term-limit law. Heck, I think the term-limits should be trashed anyway, so I can’t complain too much. I’m not sure that they can actually move out of town without resigning their seats. I mean, how can they file to run from another town, while they are representing someplace else? Hopefully someone will bring this up.
There is a certain arrogance here. That somehow, you can just pick up and move and that the voters there should appreciate it. What the heck does Karen Johnson know about the voters in Eastern Arizona? I think she assumes that since they are conservatives, that they will love her. What she doesn’t appreciate is that Kopinicki votes the way he does for a reason. Yeah, his constituents are conservative, but there are needs that people in rural Arizona have, and Johnson is opposed to helping them out with them.
Rural Republicans that have marched in lockstep with the East Valley crowd have had very short legislative careers (Barbara Blewster, Gail Griffin). The reason for this is simple: the rural areas of the state are actually quite dependent on state programs. The largest employer in many of these towns is a state prison, a state transportation yard or some other sort of state facility. They are often dependent on the state for health care or agricultural services. One of the issues that Marsha Arzberger was able to use against Griffin was her vote to close the health clinics in her district. Griffin voted this way because the East Valley leadership didn’t see any need for those clinics; Mesa didn’t need them.
Unless someone changes the number of districts in this state, we could soon have a situation where no rural community will truly be represented by an actual rural resident. I guess Johnson and Gray want to see that sooner rather than later.