by Laurie Roberts, columnist – Jul. 25, 2012 12:00 AM
The Republic | azcentral.com
So now, the moment you’ve been waiting for (come on, you know you have): My picks for Arizona legislators who rate a return engagement.
Yep, it turns out there are a few.
These 10 keepers are people with whom I don’t always agree — hey, who could? Every Republican in last year’s Legislature supported the “birther” bill. Every Democrat … well, I’m not sure what they did given their meager numbers.
But that was then — when Republican supermajorities spawned crazy bills — and this is now, the eve of an election in which the GOP-dominated Legislature could turn more moderate — in the Senate, at least.
Assuming, that is, that people vote.
These 10 are reasonable people who could work together to advance Arizona. They’re more focused on how to attract jobs than federal lawsuits and more interested in public education than global conspiracy.
Think I’ve got it wrong? Good. Then you’re thinking about the Aug. 28 primary, the one that will decide most legislative races. Go to
dekook.azcentral.com to read more about my picks for kooks and keepers. Then, sound off on your own.
And so, my top 10 keepers:
Sen. Rich Crandall, R-Mesa, is among six Republicans who killed Russell Pearce’s 2011 immigration bills. He opposes abortion and gay marriage and, in any other state, he’d be called a conservative. In Arizona, he’s called Republican in name only by GOP hard-liners. But Crandall’s killed kook bills that land us on late-night TV, among them Rep. Debbie Lesko’s contraception bill. If the Senate is to become more moderate, it’ll be because Crandall and other more moderate Republicans may finally have a chance to outnumber their kookier colleagues.
Sen. John McComish, R-Ahwatukee Foothills, also opposed Pearce on immigration and Lesko on contraception. He’s a small-business advocate, a guy who searches for middle ground.
Sen. Jerry Lewis, R-Mesa, dodged a padlock and a sham candidate to defeat Russell Pearce in last year’s recall. He is the Senate’s most independent Republican — the only one to oppose Sen. Sylvia Allen’s silly militia bill.
Sen. Adam Driggs, R-Phoenix, is a behind-the-scenes guy who works to forge compromise. He, too, opposed Pearce’s 2011 immigration bills, Lesko’s contraception limits and this year’s drive for yet another federal lawsuit, Proposition 120, which aimed to have the state take over management of land, water and air. Driggs is an immigration attorney, handy to have around on an issue generally debated in bumper-sticker solutions.
Rep. Heather Carter, R-Cave Creek, does her homework, which is refreshing in a place where some don’t even read their own bills. This Arizona State University associate professor was one of only five Republicans to oppose guns on college campuses last year, and she’s a needed voice for education.
Rep. Kate Brophy McGee, R-Phoenix, is a former banker and stay-at-home mom who did an eight-year stint on the Washington Elementary school board. At the Capitol, Brophy McGee has generally opted for common sense over caucus solidarity. She opposed the contraception bill, various gun bills and was one of only two House Republicans to oppose guns in public buildings.
Rep. Eric Meyer, D-Paradise Valley, has been twice elected in a Republican district. His eight years on the Scottsdale school board have given him an eyeful on how budget cuts have impacted schools. He put his medical practice on hold to serve. He’s smart and pragmatic and could actually help this state if it weren’t tantamount to treason for Republicans to work with Democrats.
Sen. Leah Landrum Taylor, D-Phoenix, is a gracious leader and an important voice for the poor, the disadvantaged and children. She sponsored laws to streamline the adoption process and create a bill of rights for foster children.
House Minority Leader Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix, distinguished himself this year in his handling of Rep. Daniel Patterson’s domestic-violence allegations. With Republican supermajorities gone, this native Arizonan could be a player next year and a constructive force toward a more pragmatic Legislature.
Rep. Tom Chabin, D-Flagstaff, is well-known in this newly configured northern Arizona district, having served both in the Legislature and on the Coconino County Board of Supervisors. While his opponent, Rep. Chester Crandell, R-Heber, is out crusading against the federal government, Chabin is out talking about the need to close tax loopholes to better fund education.
Next up: the comers, my picks of challengers worth a look.
Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/news/articles/2012/07/24/20120724roberts0725-these-state-lawmakers-non-kooks-we-should-keep.html#ixzz21eVYXJdC