Rep. Randy Friese, Pamela Powers Hannley (me) and Ana Henderson– the three candidates for the two Legislative District 9 seats in the Arizona House– faced off on Friday night in front of a packed house for the LD9 Clean Elections Debate.
This was the first event– and perhaps the only event– in which voters got to hear all three candidates. Friese and I were the only LD9 candidates who appeared at the Pima County Interfaith Council Candidate Forum, the candidate forum sponsored by the UA pre-law candidate forum, the Arizona Daily Star candidate interview and Pride on Parade— besides all of the joint events with Matt Kopec during the primary. (OK, so Pride wasn’t a candidate forum, but many candidates turned out to show their support for the LGBTQ community and celebrate diversity.)
So– even though this is the first time that most of us got to hear Henderson talk, we learned a lot about her views. Climate change, reproductive choice, homelessness, corporate tax cuts, minimum wage, public banking, gun violence, and, of course, education– the three of us fielded a wide variety of questions from the audience last night. (I’ll link the full video when it is available on the Clean Elections YouTube channel.)
Here’s we learned about Ana Henderson at the debate.
She’s against raising the minimum wage. (She said it’s bad for business, and government shouldn’t be meddling in business– except to dole out more corporate welfare. In a town with a 25% poverty rate, too many workers are just scraping by in the gig economy. They can’t buy the goods businesses are selling if they have no expendable income.)
She’s against legalization of marijuana. (In her opinion, marijuana– a plant that never killed anyone– is dangerous for children, but a loaded gun in the house is safe. Yes, we need to work on impairment definitions for marijuana– and other drugs. And, yes, dosing for edibles has to be improved. When you buy a whole Snickers bar, you expect to eat the whole thing– not just a 1/4 inch of it. And, yes, parents should protect their children from accidental drug poisoning and from accidental death by firearms.)
She’s a climate change denier. (She’s in the it’s-just-a-theory camp on climate change. She stands with free market forces on the question of incentivizing people to install solar panels. Friese and I both said clearly that climate change is real. Look at the increased dust storms, flooding, and fires. We should take our heads out of the desert sand and start planning for the changes in order to mitigate their effects. Look at the increased dust storms, flooding, and fires.)
She thinks corporate taxes are too high and supports more trickle down economics. (Friese and I attacked the $4 billion in corporate tax cuts repeatedly last night, and she defended them as necessary to boost the economy. We’ve been waiting for 35 years for trickle down economics to work. Time’s up.)
She likes public education but supports expanding vouchers. (Friese and I talked a lot about public education funding, educational goals not met, teacher retention, and shortchanging our future by denying a good education to so many children. Her main point was parental choice– a buzzword for more vouchers. Republicans like to say that Arizona is #1 in school choice. The other way to phrase this is: Arizona has cut and weakened public education more than any other state. That’s not something to be proud of.)
She supports “small government.” (Republicans tout “small government” when running for office, but once they are in office, Arizona Republican Legislators routinely pass 300-400 new laws each year. If you average that at 350/year for each year since the Tea Party took over in 2010, that’s 2100 new laws. I had fun pointing that out that 2100 new laws in six years is “too much government regulation.” Ha!)
She supports Donald Trump for President and made excuses for his now-infamous bragging about sexually assaulting women. Her “everyone does it even women” excuse for “vulgar locker room talk” was shocking.
The debate video will be up in a few days. I’ll post the link when available.