With respect for the political party that has the largest membership in Cochise County, we are obligated to point out that Republicans serving in the State Legislature have adopted a bad habit that threatens to erode the narrow margin keeping the GOP in power in Arizona.
Lawmakers have become reactionary.
Instead of addressing current issues or seeking solutions that benefit constituents, the GOP leadership in Phoenix is consumed with efforts to overturn the Nov. 3, 2020 election.
The exceptions may be our own Reps. Gail Griffin and Becky Nutt. Griffin appeared Thursday night in Willcox to hear the concerns of residents dealing with a flood of undocumented migrants dropped off in the community by federal officials. Nutt has been busy as the head of the House ethics committee, dealing with petulant politicians on both sides of the aisle.
Neither have been caught up in the feverous debates on punishing the Maricopa County Board for its failure to abide the Legislature’s subpoena or radically altering the election process or changing the requirements to enact a citizens initiative.
Nor have they been at war with Gov. Ducey on his authority to impose executive orders and his handling of the pandemic.
If we look at the 49 bills currently sponsored by Rep. Griffin, who heads the natural resources committee, most of her initiatives are aimed at water regulation, land use, forestry and mining. She’s also behind the effort to get Sierra Vista named the hummingbird capital of Arizona and a resolution to honor law enforcement personnel and first responders.
As head of the powerful House Rules Committee, Rep. Nutt has sponsored legislation seeking to create the office of lieutenant governor — an initiative she previously sponsored — two technical, but comparably minor, election changes, and a measure to regulate antenna use on private land. She has also brought back a bill introduced last year that would allow community colleges to offer accredited four-year degrees.
By contrast, locally-elected Sen. David Gowan is the prime sponsor of 53 bills, several of which are aimed at changes sought by GOP leadership in response to the outcome of the presidential election.
His initiatives would change early voting requirements, write-in nominations, the delivery of ballots, voter registration databases and the authority of the Joint Legislative Audit committee to order a recount of state or federal elections.
We prefer the direction of Reps. Griffin and Nutt, to that of Sen. Gowan, when it comes to the Republican Party.
Leadership of the GOP in Phoenix has focused on increasing the authority of the Legislature at the expense of citizens or more recently, the governor. Or, when there is an outcome they don’t like, creating a law to prohibit it in the future.
With trouble now brewing on the border, the continuing threat of the pandemic and schools across the state in disarray, it would seem effective leadership focused on current issues would be the best path for Republicans to grow membership and assure the party’s continuing majority.