November 14, 2017

Howdy, Friends O’Farley…

It’s been a whirlwind month of developments on the political front in Arizona. Given Governor Ducey’s track record of gutting public schools, threatening our healthcare, and swiping our gas taxes to fund more tax giveaways, we don’t really need him to continue making the case on why he needs to be replaced, but he seems determined regardless to demonstrate that it’s time for change in the Governor’s office.

But first, the Pledge Break…

—> I am doing everything I can to be your next governor. This election offers the best opportunity in years to create real change in Arizona. Imagine our state as a light unto the nation, not a joke on late-night television. A place where public education is fully funded and everyone has quality, affordable healthcare and the opportunity to work at a livable wage. This future is within our reach, but I need your help in two ways:

1) Please contribute what you can. We are up against the Koch Brothers’ favorite son and we will need thousands of small donations to defeat Ducey’s few huge ones.

2) Please sign my nominating petition to help me qualify for the ballot in November 2018. Please tell your friends and ask them to sign my petition. The first step to bringing change to Arizona is to put me on the ballot! The only way we win this is together, and I am honored to have your support. You can find my petition here.

—> Before I share the latest things you need to know about how the current Governor is harming our state, I want to reiterate that I am not simply running against Doug Ducey. I am running for a well-governed state in which we can take pride.

Public service has driven me in nearly all I have done in my life. I’m not big on material wealth. I live in an 1,100 square foot house in the middle of Tucson and I drive a car with 180,000 miles on the odometer that eats more oil than it ought to.

I learned public service from my dad. He served in combat during the last year of the Korean War and one of his jobs there was clearing minefields. As long as I knew him, he had trouble with his feet. He never complained, and it never held him back from taking me camping and hiking and fishing, but I knew they hurt him.

I only found out a few years before he died that the trouble started when he had to cross an icy river barefoot in Korea in the winter of ’52-’53, so he took off his boots to avoid having wet feet for the rest of the day. The water was so cold that he couldn’t feel the broken glass on the bottom of the streambed, and didn’t realize how badly wounded he was until he saw his blood pouring forth as he reached the other bank.

Like so many other veterans, he simply did what needed to be done in order to serve, even if it hurt.

I learned public service from my mom. She graduated college with a degree in fashion design and a lucrative offer from a New York clothing manufacturer. She turned it down, deciding instead to change lives by being a public school teacher. For her entire 38-year career, she taught in low-income schools and devoted herself to loving the children who came to her classroom every day.

I learned public service from my high school teacher Mr. McMillin. He awoke something powerful by teaching me that an individual’s highest life goal should be service to community. I have never forgotten.

I learn public service anew each day when I see countless Arizonans working in different ways in their own communities to make our state better.

I have worked in the community to help low-income teenagers interview their elders and tell the stories of their neighborhoods in book form.

I have worked in the community to produce works of public art that reflect our best hopes for ourselves.

I have worked in the community to bring people together — before I was an elected official — to create a 20-year transportation plan that has brought back a moribund downtown, improved ways for everyone to get around town, and generated thousands of good jobs.

I have gained valuable experience that I can now use in my public service — I have won six elections in a row, I understand the legislative process, and I know how to enact good policy across the partisan divide.

I don’t want to be governor simply to be a Governor. I want to be governor to use my experience to help guide us forward in a way that reclaims the promise of our state — a place where we come up with creative and pragmatic solutions to our problems, together.

—> Sadly, Governor Ducey seems a lot more focused on what Arizona can do for his friends than what he can do for Arizona. The Republic revealed in an investigative report that while he was proposing a 0.4% raise for teachers and saying we could afford no more, he was using taxpayer money to give sumptuous 20% raises, plus bonuses, plus promotions to scores of political appointees from his inner circle.

This is right on the heels of the news that there are now more than 1,300 teaching vacancies across our state, with 526 leaving in the first month of this school year. The primary reason, according to ASU’s Morrison Institute? Low teacher pay.

Perhaps most astonishing was the justification for these raises for insiders. From the Republic article:

“Ducey spokesperson Daniel Scarpinato, whose pay increased by 14 percent in two steps to $162,000, said, ‘The governor wants the best people who will do the best work for taxpayers.’ “

How does that sound to an 8th-grade science teacher with 39 kids in her classroom and a master’s degree earning $38,000 a year?

The Republic editorial board got it right: Ducey staff raises a failure to lead by example.

It’s time to show our teachers the respect they deserve and get them a real raise. We have the money, we’ve simply been giving it away.

—> Besides the $13.7 billion in corporate sales tax loopholes that bleed from our revenues each year, another way Governor Ducey has been giving away our money that otherwise could go to teachers is by firing corporate tax auditors at the Arizona Department of Revenue (ADOR).

The reason we have a Department of Revenue is to bring in the resources we need to provide the services our citizens want. The reason we have auditors is to create a level playing field for all taxpayers. Most of us pay our fair share, but a few people and corporations try to shirk their obligations to our society. If these tax cheats are not caught, the rest of us bear an unfair burden.

The Arizona Republic reports that Governor Ducey has been firing auditors at a furious rate, so that there are now only four corporate auditors at ADOR.

This is especially hard to justify because each auditor fired costs the state an estimated $1.4 million each year. The cumulative result of these firings? Corporate tax cheats got away with shorting the state $75 million in the last year, enough to give all teachers in the state a 3% raise.

From the article: “Tax experts say the loss of auditors could cost the state even more in the years ahead, as businesses adapt and become more adventurous on their tax returns knowing there’s little risk of serious scrutiny.”

It appears the Governor believes that his economic development strategy is to give amnesty to corporate tax criminals while the schools — which train our future workforce — continue their decay. It’s time to elect a governor who understands that economic development starts with investment in our schools, our healthcare, our infrastructure, and ourselves.

—> I’ve been continuing my nonstop campaign road trip around Arizona and I have encountered so many folks from across the political spectrum who are responding to the difficult political times in which we live by working for change. From Kingman to Yuma, Flagstaff to Phoenix, Tucson to Cave Creek and beyond, I’ve been speaking to enthusiastic groups of people who come away from my talks with renewed hope for Arizona and will spread the word to all their friends and family so we can transform our state the way Virginia voters transformed theirs last Tuesday.

 

This campaign is the first step in healing our state — and by extension, our country — by bringing all of us together and building new relationships so that we can work together to carry out policies that will finally move Arizona forward during this century of unprecedented challenges and opportunities.

The people I have met and the stories I have heard inspire me to redouble my efforts to return goodness to governance. Politics does not have to be ugly or divisive — it can be a creative and unifying force that empowers us to choose a better future. I do believe that we can come together, even across partisan divides, to follow the admonition of the late Paul Wellstone, “We all do better when we all do better.”

The only way we win is together. Won’t you please join this campaign? We deserve better.

Thanks for your continuing faith in me as your Senator.

Steve

Steve Farley

Senator, District 9, Tucson

If you like my representation and want to keep me in office, CONTRIBUTE TODAY!

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November 14, 2017