Even though the Legislature is not in session, I've been pretty busy since the last Farley Report. I'd like to share with you some signs of policy progress, and some other news you might find useful. Sorry -- it's bit lengthy this time!
First off, a brief Farley Report pledge break:
If you'd like me to continue serving you in the Senate, I need to get re-elected. In order to get re-elected, I need to raise money and sign up volunteers. I won't be asking you to help me with your feet until next spring, but I could use your help now to contribute funds to my campaign.
As Congress continues to fiddle while the country burns with anger at being held hostage by partisan posturing, I thought you might like to hear about something positive from the federal government that will start tomorrow regardless of whether or not they come to their senses.
October 1 is the big day for the opening of the Healthcare Exchanges, so I am sending you an excellent rundown on what these exchanges will mean to you, and how they can help dramatically improve your life -- especially if you are self employed, run a very small business, have an employer who does not offer you insurance, or currently buy on the individual market.
Here's your bonus Farley Report for September, featuring details on the new healthcare exchanges and how they can benefit you, and a couple of tele-town halls I'm hosting where you can get your questions answered by folks who know the answers.
A few quick things to start:
--> Some of you may have heard that I was under consideration as Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy at the US Department of Transportation. I wanted to let you know that I have decided to not take the job even if offered to me, and furthermore, I am officially announcing my campaign for re-election as your State Senator in District 9.
I apologize for the delay in sending out this Farley Report. It's been a tough month for my family.
I drove to St. Louis in mid-August to drop off my oldest daughter Amelia for her freshman year at Washington University in St. Louis -- I am so proud of her, and was so glad to have those three days with just her and I on the road before she took the big leap into her independent future.
While there, my dad Jim Farley unexpectedly suffered a massive stroke at his home in Spokane, and he passed away a short while later on August 23. I drove from St. Louis to Spokane to help my sister take care of my dad's affairs, and returned home to Tucson a couple of days ago.
Welcome to the Farley Report's first monsoon edition of 2013. I hope your house has received more rain than mine, and I hope both our houses get a whole lot more over the next couple of months!
In my previous six sessions as a legislator, I had always experienced a period of mourning during the week after we adjourned Sine Die. Good things had been cut, bad things had been enacted, and opportunities were lost.
This session was different.
When I started writing this afternoon, here was my opening:
"I'm afraid this Report isn't nearly as exciting as I had hoped it would be last week. Most of the action looks to happen tomorrow and Thursday -- I will update you as events unfold on my Facebook page, so check there to see the latest until I wrap it up next Tuesday in next week's Report."
How quickly things change.
This will be another short Report, but at least we know that --unlike last week -- the budget and Medicaid are starting to move in the House.
Progress looked pretty slow today until Speaker Tobin casually announced a first reading of all the Senate budget bills, and assigned them all to the Appropriations Committee.
Huge congratulations to our Arizona students who graduated last week, including my two talented daughters -- in August my oldest is heading to Washington University in St Louis, and my youngest to Tucson High, and I couldn't be prouder. I know there are so many other Arizona families feeling the same way right now.
Yes, May is nearly a memory. But there is still no sign of when or how the House takes up the Senate-passed budget, including Medicaid restoration.
It's five days later, and I still feel high from our unprecedented demonstration of bipartisan moderation on the State Senate floor on Thursday.
As I shared with you on that magical evening, Republicans stood with Democrats in the face of relentless ideological attacks over the course of nearly twelve hours and stood strong through vote after vote and reconsideration after reconsideration to approve the Governor's Medicaid restoration plan and a humane budget that invests in K-12 and Higher Education, Child Protective Services, State Parks and Arts Commission grants, Economic Development policies, and Adult Education and Literacy, all while not raising taxes and ensuring a budget surplus over the next three years.