Statehood Day, Feb. 14, 2006
Ninety-four years ago today Arizona became the 48th state in the Union. And today, on our state’s birthday, I formally announce that I am a candidate for Governor of the Great State of Arizona!
I want to thank Raul Espericueta and Carol Shippy for introducing me today and for serving as honorary co-chairs of this campaign. They symbolize the grassroots movement of people that this campaign has attracted. They are bright, professional, committed to their families, committed to our state, experts in social welfare, education and immigration, leaders in their communities. Like the thousands of people who have already enthusiastically joined our effort, providing seed money and $5 donations, giving of their time and energy, Raul and Carol came to me when I announced that I was considering a run for Governor, and said, “We are thrilled that you are thinking about this. What can we do to help?” I have been amazed and overwhelmed by the enthusiastic response of thousands of Arizonans, many of whom I’ve never met, to my decision to run for Governor.
We already have received and will continue to gain endorsements from elected leaders, business leaders, and other community leaders, and we will announce these endorsements in the days ahead. But today this campaign is for the grassroots, family-oriented citizens from all walks of life and all parts of the state who believe Arizona’s best days are ahead of us.
As a third-generation Arizonan, I have chosen Statehood Day to formally announce my candidacy to become our state’s 22nd Governor. I believe Arizona has a rich heritage that deserves to be celebrated. I also believe our heritage – a pioneering heritage of rugged individualism, limited government, swift justice and bold initiatives promoted by principled and courageous leaders — provides strength and direction for the long journey ahead.
My roots in Arizona run deep. My great grandfather, Henry Farr, came to Arizona Territory at the turn of the century, like many people then and now, for his health. A Methodist preacher, he led a church in Tempe and another in Thatcher, where my grandfather was born in 1905.
Another great-grandfather, Colonel Rolin Shaw, came here shortly after the turn of the century, and helped guard Arizona’s southern border at Ft. Huachuca. My grandmother, Evelyn Shaw Munsil, was born in the city of Phoenix on Sept. 11, 1913, when Arizona was in its infancy.
My family roots stretch back to the beginning of this remarkable state, and my passion for Arizona extends far into its future. I’m delighted to be joined here today by my wife and eight children. As most of you know, I have spent the past decade as a strong advocate for the family, and I am so proud to be the husband and father of such a dynamic, talented, and unique group of spirited individuals – who over the course of their lives will contribute much in their own right to the future of our state. And so I’m not going to do the perfunctory brief introduction; instead I’m going to tell you a little bit about them.
I’m so thankful, especially on Valentine’s Day, to be joined here by my closest friend and advisor, my wife of nearly 20 years, Tracy — a writer, a teacher, an encourager, brilliant and passionate, faithful and determined, Tracy is always in my corner and has always challenged me and counseled me to follow my dreams, even as she pursues her own. Like many of you, she came here from somewhere else, and while she misses the change of seasons and the lake she grew up on, here in Arizona, she has found a home.
And our eight children, from oldest to youngest:
- Will, in his first year of college in Colorado on a baseball scholarship, who last week made his college pitching debut with two scoreless innings against the Air Force Academy. Will was once elected Governor of Arizona, in a huge upset, in a youth government mock legislature, I’m obviously hoping to follow in his footsteps;
- our oldest daughter, Leigh, a high school senior who sings, plays piano and has lettered in 3 sports for 4 straight years of high school, a courageous young lady;
- our daughter Anne, a high school sophomore, who also sings and plays piano and basketball and delights us with her sweetness and her smile;
- our son Michael, a high school freshman, a monster on the football field, but a tender-hearted brother to his siblings;
- our daughter Laura, an 8th grader who loves animals, sports, making movies and making friends;
- our 6th-grade daughter Ellen, who in the midst of a family of ballplayers decided to become a club-level elite gymnast, and who loves to bake, especially desserts, much to the enjoyment of the rest of us;
- our daughter Kaye, a fearless 5th grader who grabs our attention with her energy and enthusiasm for life and activity;
- and our son Matthew, a 4th-grader who spent several years watching all the activity of our home and has now emerged as a loud and vocal participant in Munsil family activities.
These are our children, and they are giving up a lot today – if you love candy, Valentine’s Day is not a day of school you want to miss, so I am thankful they are here with me.
Families matter. Many of the activities of government – from social service needs, to health care costs, to crime rates, to the economic well-being of our society – have been negatively affected by the breakdown of the American family. And I have spent much of my professional life in an effort to strengthen marriage and families by providing resources and support, while ensuring that the laws we enact do not tear down families, but instead encourage, build up and strengthen the family unit.
But now I am entering an expanded arena, and seeking to serve all of the people of our state. Now I have an opportunity to take the public policy skills I’ve honed as an advocate for families and children, and set forth a new vision for Arizona.
Arizona is a unique state with a special heritage of strong and principled leadership. We’ve grown in less than a century from territorial infancy to statehood significance. Our history is filled with brave giants like Hayden, Udall, Goldwater, Rhodes and Fannin. They took Arizona from a group of dusty cowboy towns and turned us into a state that is growing by more than 100,000 people per year. The Census Bureau estimates that Arizona will become the 10th largest state by 2030 – less than a quarter-century away.
These statesmen who led us over the past 94 years had one thing in common. They always said it like it was. They didn’t pull back from making the tough decisions. As Sen. McCain likes to say, they gave us a little “straight talk.”
These great leaders of Arizona’s past had a dream. They dreamed of a place that could become one of the great states of our union. As chaplain Seaborn Crutchfield prayed on the opening day of the Arizona Constitutional Convention, these leaders sought to make Arizona the “brightest light in the grand galaxy of these United States” They dreamed of a quality of life that could be developed and enhanced and improved on by future generations.
But, they knew that for this dream to become a reality, for Arizona to become the crown jewel of the west, tough decisions had to be made. They weren’t paralyzed by national ambition. Courageous decisions were made. Partisanship and posturing were cast aside.
Congressmen Udall and Rhodes worked in a bipartisan way to give us the Central Arizona Project. Barry Goldwater became the Republican nominee for President of the United States based on his convictions, not poll-tested positions. And though Goldwater was dismissed as too conservative then, time has proven his limited government principles correct. Paul Fannin used his graciousness as a tool to lead as Governor and in the U.S. Senate.
These were the heroes of our past who wrote great chapters in the history of Arizona. Their vision gave us a state that draws people from every other state in the country. It is the state of my birth and it is the state where I have chosen to raise my family. Arizona is indeed a special place!
I am running for Governor because I believe the greatness of Arizona is slipping away. We have an incumbent who lacks vision for our state. It seems she would rather make her decisions after the polling is completed, instead of leading and influencing public opinion.
We have an incumbent who seems more interested in positioning herself for re-election and the next political office than living by the courage of conviction.
Sadly, our incumbent is better known in some circles for what she hasn’t done, than for what she has done. She is notorious for playing it safe instead of making bold decisions. She has become Arizona’s latest ribbon-cutting, photo-op, caretaker Governor.
Most of you know that photo-op is a term used to describe a politician mugging for the cameras. I suppose there is nothing wrong with this, so long as the “photo-op” is not a substitute for governing. The incumbent, however, has perfected the art of calling a press conference, posing for a photo-op, and then not doing anything she has pledged to do. She has no vision, no guiding principles, for our state. This lack of clear vision and principle is what propels her to be on all sides of many issues, to say one thing, then do another, or do nothing.
A photo-op Governor is someone who hops on an airplane with the press and photographers to have her picture taken flying over the border. But when it comes to implementing real border security measures, she would rather look tough than make tough decisions.
A photo-op Governor has her picture taken with school children while Arizona moves to the awful status of having the worst drop-out rate in the country.
A photo-op Governor has her picture taken when a new stretch of freeway opens, but has no transportation plan to deal with the additional 5 million people expected to move here by 2030.
Flying to the latest forest fire for a photo-op is not leadership. Leadership is implementing scientifically sound harvesting techniques that reduce fuel loads and lessen fire risk. The incumbent has been supported by radical environmentalists who have not faced the reality that it is better to cut some of the trees than to have all of them destroyed by devastating wildfires.
A photo-op Governor touts her background as a prosecutor at election time, then does nothing significant to address Arizona’s growing crime rate.
A photo-op Governor gives a “State of the State” address that offers everybody everything, but is light on solutions. Her “please everyone” willingness to spend your money has led to a budget proposal for this year that is a 22 percent increase over last year’s budget. Even Ted Kennedy might raise an eyebrow at that.
Of course, the Governor knows the Legislature won’t let that type of irresponsible budget pass. But, she doesn’t care. She got her photo-op, and is happy for the Legislature to get the blame for any cuts to her budget.
Arizona is at a crossroads. We can elect a leader who has little vision for our state while she anticipates and plans her next political move. Or, we can elect someone who will try to follow in the footsteps of our great leaders; we can elect a Governor who will talk straight with the people of Arizona, and fairly represent all of you. You may not agree with everything I say, but you will know I am willing to make the tough decisions and not pass them on to future generations.
The voters of Arizona will discover that my core values – limited government, economic freedom, secure borders and family values – are their core values.
I will be a different type of Governor; pro-active, not reactive. I will govern according to principle. Here are some of the principles I will apply to key public policy issues that affect our state:
When it comes to immigration, the key principle is that we must enforce the rule of law. That means:
- First, enforcement of Proposition 200 to head off voter fraud.
- Second, unlike the incumbent, I would oppose any effort to provide driver’s licenses for those who are not here legally.
- Third, use of new technology and more manpower to beef up border security. It’s easy to point the finger of blame at the federal government. But we need less talk and more action at the border. As Governor, I would pursue every legal option available as a sovereign state to defend our southern border against invasion. And while I will work hard with my friends in Arizona’s congressional delegation to secure funding, I will not wait for that funding in order to take action.
For 20 years it’s been well-known throughout Mexico that Arizona has the most porous borders in the southern United States. Janet Napolitano, as U.S. Attorney, as Attorney General, and now as Governor, has been in office for 12 years with great opportunity in each position of leadership to take action to address this issue, and she has failed miserably. Her inaction on immigration, in contrast to her recent rhetoric, speaks to more than a decade of squandered opportunities.
Thanks to economic policies put in place by conservative legislators, policies that were criticized by our incumbent Governor, we now have a budget surplus. The principle to remember here is that the surplus belongs to you, not the state or the Governor. I have already come out in favor of across the board income and property tax cuts. The surplus means you overpaid your taxes, and if I am Governor you will get your money back. And remember, if Janet Napolitano’s tax-raising, government-growing plans had been followed by the Legislature, there would be no surplus today.
When it comes to education, the principle is this – our goal is to turn out educated students, not come up with some arbitrary funding level. We could be first in spending and last in educational output, like Washington DC, but that wouldn’t be satisfactory. Let’s do the things that will educate our children, and if it means more money, that’s fine. But the incumbent’s approach is to throw more money and more government at education, but the results have gotten worse on her watch. One of the ways to increase the performance of our public schools is to promote competition, thereby empowering parents with more choices. This governor has vetoed several efforts to increase parental choice in education through additional scholarship money for underprivileged kids.
I love Arizona and I look forward to spending the next 9 months meeting with the people of our state and sharing my vision. As this campaign progresses, I will share in more detail my vision for all the people of Arizona – from our older population to our schoolchildren. We will discuss border security, tax cuts, forest health, rural health care, stopping judicial activism and fighting crime.
As this campaign progresses, and we speak to a wide variety of issues facing our state, voters will be faced with a stark contrast – a committed, principled leader who will take action on pressing problems, versus a photo-op Governor who talks tough but does nothing.
The incumbent cannot be trusted, after 12 years in office, to address issues on our border.
The incumbent cannot be trusted to keep her word on tuition scholarships that would help underprivileged kids get an education.
The incumbent cannot be trusted to deliver tax cuts to all Arizonans.
I will do all those things, and more.
And so we begin. We begin a campaign that will speak to broad issues that affect all Arizonans across the state. I am able to represent the interests of all Arizonans with vision and with compassion. My core values are the core values of a majority of citizens, and in one sentence, that is the difference between me and the incumbent.
For 10 years I have led a faith-based public policy organization. I believe we still live in a nation where faith is a strength, not a detriment. I believe in a nation that produced men like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – men of faith and moral principle who influenced public policy through the sheer force of their convictions, who promoted integrity and justice and truth. All of us can learn from them. Faith, even today, especially today, is an asset for any leader.
I have been a successful leader at each stage of life. In college journalism, from law school to a judicial clerkship, as an organizational entrepreneur, in my community and in my profession, I am accustomed to leadership. Leadership based on core principles attracts support and demonstrates strength. When my wife and I began together at The Center for Arizona Policy, we had a handful of constituents. When I left a decade later, there were hundreds of thousands.
The time has come to believe again. We have to believe again – in the vision of our founders. That people can be trusted with their own money, their own decisions. That we can live in safe and secure communities. We have to believe in the significance of marriage and families. We have to believe again in a community that respects and honors every human life. We have to believe we have the capacity as a people to rise above cynicism and pettiness and distrust and corruption. We have to believe that integrity in government is attainable, that public officials can make decisions for the right reasons for all the people.
Come with us. Come with us on this journey of hope and vision, come with us on this adventure, join us in this dream for Arizona – a shining light, the brightest light, in the grand galaxy of these United States. Come with us and help make it happen.
Thank you for your commitment to my campaign. Thank you for your commitment to Arizona. And, thank you for working with me to make our vision into reality! Thank you and God bless you and may God bless Arizona!