The Farley Report from Phoenix #184: 5-21-13

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.  

This is exactly what Arizona voters have been telling us we want, and much credit goes to Governor Brewer for proposing in January that we do what is right for all Arizonans and leverage more than $8 billion in federal funds over the next four years to restore AHCCCS coverage to more than 300,000 people in poverty.  

Credit also goes to Majority Leader John McComish who had the guts to withstand the slings and arrows of some in his caucus who called him a traitor for standing up for his Governor's policy when he introduced and led floor debate for the Medicaid restoration amendment. 

Credit goes to President Andy Biggs for deciding not to use his power to stop the process when it was clear that his views were not prevailing. No one will ever question his passion, especially on the Medicaid issue, and -- because he refrained from using tools at his disposal to thwart the will of the majority -- no one will question his integrity either.  

Credit goes to the 13 Democrats and five Republicans who held together to pass Medicaid and the budget for the greater good of all, even though not one of us liked every single thing we voted for.  

But most of all, credit goes to the voters like you who decided to elect people of integrity to the State Senate this last election -- Republicans and Democrats alike. Your thoughtful approach at the ballot box made all the difference and could signal a sea change in how politics work in Arizona.  

Now we must preserve these victories as the package of bills travels to the House, where Speaker Andy Tobin has not yet indicated his next moves. There are eight solid Republican House votes to preserve the Senate budget as amended, which is enough to do many things along with the 24 Democrats.  

I have hope that the Speaker will either be persuaded of the importance of moving this budget to the Governor's desk unamended for her signature, or be willing to demonstrate his leadership by respecting the will of the House majority.  

First order of business is to get those bills heard and passed unamended in the House Appropriations Committee. If you can, please contact the House Approps members and politely request that they support the Governor, put partisanship aside, and hear and pass those budget bills unamended. If you are a Republican, it is even more important that you contact the Republican members. If you can convince two Republicans, the people of Arizona win. Here are their contacts: 

Lela Alston

Member

Paul Boyer

Member

Chad Campbell

Member

Thomas Forese

Member

Rick Gray

Member

John Kavanagh

Chairman

Adam Kwasman

Member

Stefanie Mach

Member

Justin Olson

Vice-Chairman

Andrew Sherwood

Member

Michelle Ugenti

Member

Your efforts could make all the difference right now. 

Thanks for your continuing faith in me as your Senator.  

Steve

Steve Farley

Senator, District 9, Tucson

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