#HCR2020: Should the Government Be Run by Political Appointees? (video)

Doug Ducey

On Thursday afternoon, we debated HCR 2020 in the Arizona House. This is the Republican Party’s latest attempt to create … wait for it … more government!

You may remember that since Democrat Katie Hobbs became Secretary of State, Governor Doug Ducey decided to remove the Department of Administration from the secretary of state’s job duties and create a new top-level government position as head of ADOA and appoint former Speaker of the House Andy Tobin to the position.

The next step in the grand plan is to pass HCR 2020, which is a ballot referral creating a lieutenant governor’s position. I spoke against and voted against this bill.

With HCR2020, after the gubernatorial primaries, the Democratic and Republican candidates will pick a lieutenant governor as a running mate, and they run as a team for the top two slots in our government. If something happens to the governor, lieutenant governor becomes governor and that person has the ability to choose their successor– another lieutenant governor. This would give us to appointed people in the top spots of our state, removes the voters from the process, and keeps the party in charge. I disagree with this idea because it is a way to game the system. There are far too many political appointees in the government, thanks to the changes that Governor Jan Brewer and Ducey have made. Our government should be run by people who are elected by the people not by political appointees.

Under our current system, the secretary of state is next in line if the governor leaves office for whatever reason. In my 30+ years in Arizona, this is happened three times. Secretary of State Rose Mofford, a Democrat, became the first woman governor of Arizona after Governor Ev Mecham self-destructed and was removed from office. In the 1990s, Republican Governor Fife Symington’s shady business deals took him down. AZSCAM reformer, former Speaker of the House, and Secretary of State Jane Hull, a Republican, became the second woman governor.

By the mid-1990s, after the removal of two Republican governors in approximately 10 years and with seven or so Legislators under corruption and money laundering charges under AZSCAM, I was thinking that perhaps Arizona should be choosing better candidates for governor and Legislature!

The people who are pushing for the lieutenant governor idea say that it will give “continuity with the governor”. I don’t think the citizens of Arizona wanted continuity with Mecham or Symington. We were all pretty disgusted with those two once they finally left office.

The lieutenant governor position gives continuity of party, donor base, and ideology. This is good for the political parties and wealthy donors, but I don’t know that the general public actually cares. Governor Doug Ducey was installed in office with millions of dollars from the Koch Brothers machine. I don’t want continuity with the Koch Brothers machine. I would much rather have somebody else step in after him (were he to step down)– than to give the governorship to his hand-picked successor.

That said. Obviously, the state has suffered greatly since Governor Janet Napolitano decided to bail on us and join the President Barack Obama’s administration, not long after we got her reelected. I will personally never forgive her or Obama for unleashing the Tea Party Reign of Terror on our state, after Secretary of State Jan Brewer became governor.