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Editor:

You wrote: “... we observed that ... Rep. Brenda Barton didn’t vigorously support a change in the law that would have enabled Arizona State University to partner with Payson to establish a Separate Legal Entity to build the campus.

“We didn’t observe anything” you simply made the assertion with little in the way of supporting facts. In fact, last week we discussed this with you at length, explaining what had been done for Payson.

You were not at the Capitol last session, you never phoned to enquire the status of the bill or how you could help rally support. Rather you have only second-hand information from sources who seem reluctant to step forward and take credit for their remarks.

The facts are that the Maricopa Community College District and other higher education lobbies opposed this bill AND the majority of the representatives from Maricopa County opposed this bill. In spite of being very outnumbered, I fought quite hard for passage in both the House and Senate. It was unpopular and required burning a lot of political capital in making sure it kept moving forward. The veto came as a complete surprise to everyone. Turns out, the governor was listening to those other “higher education” interests urging a veto.

Bottom line? Dr. Crow plays hardball and has a lot of influence with the governor, as does the University of Phoenix.

Do you honestly believe that by electing two new representatives from Sedona and Flagstaff who are members of the minority party the Payson ASU project will get any attention or even come close to the governor’s desk in the next two years?

Please stick to the facts or cite your sources. Your readers deserve better than this.

Representative Brenda Barton

Editor’s Note: The Roundup reported frequently on the effort to pass legislation to enable ASU to partner with Payson to create the Separate Legal Entity and has also reported on the governor’s veto. Sources close to those efforts told the Roundup Rep. Barton and Rep. Crandell supported the legislation, but remained minimally involved. Rep. Barton’s letter appears to blame ASU President Crow and the University of Phoenix for the governor’s veto, which seems odd since ASU had the most to gain if the governor had signed the law. Sources close to the effort to pass the bill said they later learned Arizona Public Service lobbied the governor to veto the SLE legislation to prevent universities from establishing alternative energy projects within SLEs.

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