Republicans and Democrats each recruited an uncontested slate of candidates for the dramatically redrawn state House District 6, which includes all of Rim Country.
That makes for a quiet primary election, but a general election matchup that will present voters with starkly contrasting positions.
The Republican lineup includes Rep. Brenda Barton, who moved to Payson after redistricting shifted her former residence in Heber into a strongly Democratic district. Joining her ticket is Bob Thorpe, chairman of the Flagstaff Tea Party.
The Republican pair has lauded the legislature for not only balancing the budget when the economy crashed, but for setting aside nearly $1 billion in reserves. In campaigning, they have focused much of their fire on federal regulations and management of public lands. They have supported a move to essentially revoke the terms of Arizona’s statehood so the legislature could take over federal lands in Arizona.
The Democratic “jobs team” includes Doug Ballard, former development director for the City of Chandler and Angela LeFevre, an economist, business woman, teacher and now mentor for children in the criminal justice system.
The Democrats have urged systematically closing exemptions and loopholes in the states sales and income tax code and using the money to lower rates overall and boost education spending sufficiently to lift Arizona from 48th in per-student spending nationally to at least 25th. They maintain the state should focus on bolstering education and core social services to attract businesses.
The reconfigured district now includes Northern Gila County, the Verde Valley, Sedona, Flagstaff and a portion of the White Mountains. Republicans have an edge in registration, but Democrats have a fighting chance in the right year and running on the right issues, according to an analysis by the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission.
Rep. BRENDA Barton:
Barton, who worked for the City of Safford before she retired, has harshly criticized the federal government, saying it has infringed on state’s rights and individual liberties so much that citizens should invoke the language of the Declaration of Independence, which held government can only rule with the consent of the governed.
“I really want to withdraw my consent,” she said. “This is not a democracy. It is a constitutional republic. If it were a democracy, all the wolves would decide which lambs they want to have for dinner.”
Barton first got into politics years ago when she worked on the “Sagebrush Rebellion,” a grassroots group that enlisted the support of many public officials in the west to resist federal rules and land management.
Thorpe, who has for years worked as a grass-roots activist pushing for a federal balanced budget amendment, has also called for state’s to resist federal management and mandates. “It’s time for another shot heard ’round the world,” said Thorpe. “Liberty-loving patriots will lose a battle or two, but what we’re concerned about is whether we win the war or not — and we’re at war with the federal government.”
Author of “Reclaimed Liberty,” Thorpe said, “It’s time the states reminded the federal government it was the states that created the federal government — federalism is a relationship between the states and the central government. The Founders were afraid of democracy and a powerful federal government — and that’s exactly what we have today.”
The English born LeFevre got a degree in economics from the London School of Economics and worked as a teacher and manager in a Fortune 500 company. She then started her own small business and now also mentors at-risk teens. She lives in Sedona.
Her platform includes significantly increasing spending on schools, broadening access to healthcare, bolstering the tourism industry and ensuring that mining, clear cutting and other environmental problems don’t undercut that industry.
After 31 years in public service, Ballard retired to Flagstaff. His main issue in the campaign revolves around bolstering the Arizona economy. He cites his success in luring to Chandler Intel and Motorola. He worked three jobs to get through college and ultimately earned a master’s degree.
His key issues include restoring the $2 billion the legislature has cut from schools in the past three years and dampening the hyper-partisanship in the legislature. He said the Republican supermajority in the legislature has rammed through immigration laws, restrictions on women’s reproductive rights and laws to force schools to allow guns on campus. “They have been wasting our time and wasting our future.”