State Sen. Sylvia Allen called for a state struggle against federal authority in a wide-ranging appearance last week before about 50 members of the Payson Tea Party gathered at Tiny’s Restaurant.
She said the state should lay the groundwork for taking over much of the Forest Service land in the state and form an armed state guard to police the border with Mexico.
The Snowflake Republican represents all of Rim Country and said if Arizona doesn’t act “we’re going to become part of Mexico.”
She also insisted the state should push to turn most federal programs into no-strings-attached block grants — or reject them altogether.
As an example, she decried the mostly federally funded Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System as “socialized medicine.” AHCCCS provides coverage for about 30 percent of the residents of Gila County.
“We need to get totally off the federal dependence and turn it into a block grant,” she told a supportive crowd.
“We need to tighten this program up and have people pay for babies. That’s not life and death. They won’t let you charge (the patients) a penny for that care. That’s the socialized direction we’ve gone in for 50 years. And when Obamacare hits in 2015, we’re really going to have a problem.”
Sen. Allen also decried various efforts to increase voter turnouts, with things like mail-in ballots and online voter registration. Allen said efforts to make it easier to register and vote could make it much easier for illegal immigrants to sway elections. “There are people voting who should not vote and there are lots of them. It’s bad enough that they’re here without permission.”
She cited as an example the successful effort to recall Senate President Russell Pearce who gained national attention for pushing strong state measures to curb illegal immigration. She said people in front of markets in Hispanic communities in Pearce’s district registered people to vote.
“There were people at those markets who hated Russell Pearce. They were registering people for a month, but no one checked that. One reason they want open borders is they want to merge us with Mexico.
“They’re being lied to and told they can vote. We need to work on this. What are we going to do if people can’t see it’s you voting (with an online ballot or mail-in ballot). We need to see what we can do to protect our vote.”
But mostly she attacked the federal government, which she said has infringed on the authority of the states guaranteed under the 10th Amendment to the Constitution.
She said she would introduce emergency legislation to establish a 350-member state guard to patrol the border, since the federal Border Patrol has failed and allowed armed drug cartels to operate with relative freedom as far north of the border as Casa Grande, she said.
“It’s a horrendous mess in Mexico and it’s heading this way.”
She said the state should press for construction of a fence all along the border, although it will cost an estimated $400,000 per mile.
“These drugs are destroying our country.”
She also said Arizona should follow the example of Otero County in New Mexico, which has warned the U.S. Forest Service it will move to take over management of federal lands due to the government’s failure to reduce fire dangers by thinning and logging overgrown forests.
She said that county warned the Forest Service to start thinning the forest after the Rodeo-Chediski Fire in 2002.
“So now Otero County is going to do it,” she said.
Sen. Allen said she will introduce a bill declaring a state of emergency in Apache County as a result of the Wallow Fire this summer, the largest in state history. That state of emergency will give the county the legal basis to contract with timber companies to clear the forest and reduce fire dangers, she suggested.
The Apache-Sitgreaves Forest has been awarding contracts to thin thousands of acres of forest annually for the past five years and plans to accelerate that process as part of the 4-Forests Restoration Initiative.
However, studies suggest that millions of acres of northern Arizona forests have become tinderboxes, with tree densities dramatically increased in the past century.