State legislative candidate Brenda Barton made an impassioned plea for the Second Amendment, school choice and teaching Christian moral principles in schools recently in an appearance before the Payson Tea Party.
“We need to teach children patriotic songs — I still remember the Marine Corps hymn,” said Barton, who served in the same seat from 2011 to 2018 before sitting out two years when she hit her term limit. “You need to teach children when they’re small. If you get the foundation right, everything else will work out. I’ve talked to voters and they don’t think we could fund any ‘studies’ classes — women’s studies, white studies — the studies programs. A lot of English programs are incredibly indoctrinating. They’re not reading American writers. We’re just going to have to get radical.”
In addition, Darlene Younker spoke for Walt Blackman — the other Republican candidate for the two House seats in District 6, which stretches from Flagstaff to Alpine and includes all of Rim Country.
She stressed the Republican incumbent’s efforts to allow early release and alternative sentencing for non-violent inmates convicted on drug possession charges. She also stressed efforts to bolster forest thinning by creating a market for biomass. Blackman also strongly supports school choice, which includes providing public charter schools as well as vouchers for private and religious schools.
“Walt values quality education, but not every problem is resolved by throwing more money at it. He asked, how much is enough?” said Younker, a former Payson Tea Party president who also serves as Blackman’s Rim Country representative and chief policy adviser. Blackman is a retired Army noncommissioned officer who lives in Show Low and won the seat two years ago.
Arizona ranks near last among the states when it comes to per-student education funding, teacher salaries and average class sizes, according to repeated national studies. The state also has relatively low test scores, a high dropout rate and a low college attendance rate. One national survey recently ranked Arizona 49th out of 50 states for the quality of the K-12 system.
Blackman and Barton are running against Democrat Coral Evans, a Flagstaff Democrat who has called for a sustained effort to boost per-student spending to the national average. In addition, Coconino County Supervisor Art Babbott is running as an independent on a platform calling for an increase in education spending as well as increased state efforts to reduce fire danger by thinning forests, including establishing a biomass burning requirement to bolster forest thinning.
The two Republicans this week at the Tea Party meeting focused on their strong opposition to any restrictions on gun ownership, prison reform for non-violent offenders, responding to protests and riots and increasing parent choice and moral education in schools.
“Walt believes strongly that money should follow the backpack. He supports school choice — even if it’s a charter, private or religious school,” said Younker. She read from a statement by Blackman, who canceled his appearance at the last minute. The statement noted that education accounts for 60% of the state general fund budget. The statement also noted that in the past three years the state had boosted teacher salaries by 20% at a cost of some $168 million. “Still, schools are not thriving. School districts must provide incentives to train teachers, recognize great performance and let teachers know they’re appreciated.”
Barton stressed the need to protect the right to bear arms in her prepared statement and talked about education in response to questions from the audience.
Barton decried the filing of charges against two white homeowners who brandished an assault rifle and a pistol at Black Lives Matter protesters in St. Louis. The circuit attorney arrested Mark and Patricia McClosky for breaking a law against brandishing weapons in a threatening manner following a June 28 incident. The couple said they were in fear of their lives and that demonstrators ignored a no trespassing sign and knocked over an iron gate. Protesters said the gate was already open and no one damaged it. Gov. Mike Parson said he would probably pardon the couple if they were charged.
Barton said the couple had a perfect right to defend their property. She said the arrest warrant was “outrageous” and suggested a network of prosecutors funded by Democratic mega-donor George Soros had been forced to not prosecutor violent protesters nationwide.
She also warned that voting for any Democrat for any office threatens the country. As an example, she cited the gun control and abortion bills the Virginia Legislature considered or adopted when they gained control. She claimed the bills would have legalized infanticide and wiped “out the ability of anyone to own a gun in Virginia.”
One bill would have allowed “infanticide of those precious babies who happened to be born and the doctor and the woman would decide whether they would let the baby die at that point. It’s just revolting to me. It’s murder. It is murder. We need to defend ourselves and elect every Republican on the ballot — all the way to the bottom of the ballot even if it’s the dog catcher. We have to show our communities the Republicans will stand against tyranny.”
She was apparently referring to bills in the Virginia Legislature that would repeal a Republican-passed measure that would require a 24-hour waiting period before an abortion and a requirement that any woman seeking an abortion have an ultrasound and counseling. The package of bills would also revoke a requirement that physicians — not nurse practitioners — perform all abortions.
The Virginia Legislature also passed several gun control measures. A ban on assault weapons failed. However, Virginia did adopt a “red flag” law to allow police and prosecutors to seek a judge’s permission to temporarily take away the gun of someone considered a risk to themselves or others. Other changes would potentially bar firearms possession by someone who is subject to an order of protection, expanded background checks, a law requiring people to report the loss or theft of a gun, training requirements for a concealed carry permit and a measure that would allow cities to ban guns in public buildings.
Barton stressed the need to ensure schools restore Christian moral instruction — as well as ensuring Marxists aren’t allowed to teach in the universities.
“We have to have patriotism. We want to save our state. Save our country ... our education system has created this situation. To uncreate it, you have to go back to the source. ASU has a bonafide Marxist instructor. I don’t think that’s right.
“We need to design our universities to being more American and teaching our young people that America is a unique country. It’s a fabulous country. It is a righteous and honorable country.
“Let’s wake up. We need to fix our schools and that means allowing parents the choice that’s best for their children. Government should not get in the way. Government schools. I’m not happy about government schools.”
She said the Constitution was for a “moral and righteous people. It doesn’t work if you’re not moral and righteous. You get people burning up buildings and rioting. (The Founders) they knew about history and they knew their Bible and they knew their God. Divine Providence created America. Perfect.”