Ron Barber and Matt Heinz appeared at a forum yesterday. It will be broadcast tonight on Arizona Illustrated at 6:30 as well as on KAUZ 89.1. Brady McCombs has a summary of one portion of the debate.
Barber brought up Heinz’s vote on HB 2718. The jab came at the end of the debate, and shortly after Heinz had made his sell-out allegations against Barber for his split the difference vote on Eric Holder’s contempt charges.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Barber voted wrong on that one. After speaking to Barber about the vote, I still don’t agree with it, but it was not about currying favor with Republican leaders.
I can’t say that about Heinz’s vote on HB 2718. If the vote on Holder was about a partisan witch hunt, much the same could be said about 2718. It was a partisan temper tantrum following Clarence Dupnik’s statements about talk radio and the Tea Party in the wake of the January 8th shootings, and a way to prop up someone who was then a rising star in the Republican party. Heinz can release a littany of excuses, as he did today (his statement is after the jump), but this was him giving bipartisan cover for an act of Republican umbrage.
Something to remember when reading the statement he released: the bill not only gave the Pinal County Sheriff funding for “border security” (even though Pinal County has no border with Mexico) and took away funding from the Pima County Sheriff, his own sheriff. The money was supposed to go to gang interdiction and prevention programs, which may have done some good for the neighborhoods he was supposed to represent. Not only was Heinz willing to curry favor with some of the most retrograde political personalities in our state on their pet issue, but he was willing to do so at the expense of his own constituents.
Heinz is acting shocked at this attack, but he shouldn’t be. This vote has been controversial since he took it. Heck, I complained to him about it at the time. He should understand that if he wants to attack Barber as some sort of sell-out, he should be ready for his checkered record on important issues to be questioned.
CD2 Candidate Heinz Responses to Barber’s Televised Attack
Tucson, Ariz. – August 20, 2012 – CD2 Candidate Matt Heinz, a two-term state representative, continues to stand by his voting record. Opponent Ron Barber attacked Heinz’ record during the taping of Arizona Illustrated’s CD2 Democratic Candidate Forum. Heinz, who was not provided an opportunity to respond, released the following statement:
“Since my opponent accused me of ‘cutting deals with right-wing sheriffs’ without providing an opportunity to ask for clarification,” stated Heinz. “I am forced to assume he was referring to my vote on HB 2718, a measure that would have provided Pinal County’s Sheriff Department with funds to purchase public safety equipment.”
Heinz continued, “Despite criticism, I proudly supported HB 2718 in the Appropriations Committee, along with the Democrat minority leader and two additional Democrats, and on the House floor; joined by a Democratic colleague from Yuma. The needs of the Sheriff’s Department were clearly demonstrated. Accordingly, I put politics aside to support law enforcement officials’ request for body armor, night-vision goggles and other equipment to bolster border security.”
“Pinal County is facing escalated cartel and trafficking activity due to the major Interstate corridors of I-10 and I-8. The Sheriff’s Department and community are at a great disadvantage because Pinal County is ineligible for the annual federal grants that are available to other counties in the border region. It was an urgent problem that should supersede our political differences as Democrats with the controversial Sheriff,” explained Heinz.
“While HB 2718 did not pass in the Senate, funds were eventually transferred to the Pinal County Sheriff’s Department so that safety and tactical equipment could be purchased for deputies. Without state assistance, the region’s primary law enforcement agency would be without the resources needed to protect themselves and their community,” said Heinz.
“I stand by my record of supporting and protecting our law enforcement agencies, my endorsement from the Arizona Fraternal Order of Police is a testament to that. I would cast the same vote again because we need lawmakers who know when to put politics aside to achieve real results, not just make symbolic gestures.”
“Although I heard about a whisper campaign against me regarding this issue, I will not presume that my opponent is an active participant. If my opponent would like to publicly clarify what he meant by ‘cutting deals’,” said Heinz. “then I welcome it, and I will address it.”