LD11 General Election Debate

LD11 General Election Debate


– Good evening and
thank you for attending. My name is Denise McKelvey and I will be your moderator for this evenings
candidate debate. The Citizens Clean
Election Commission is the sponsor for
this evenings event. The Clean Elections
Act is a campaign finance reform measure initiated by Arizona
citizens and passed by voters in 1998. Participation as a Clean
Elections candidate is strictly voluntary. The system provides full funding for qualified candidates
who agree to abide by the Clean Elections
Act and rules. To qualify for funding,
participating candidates must illustrate the support
of their constituents by gathering $5
qualifying contributions from registered voters in
their legislative district. The candidates agree to
adhere to contribution and spending limits and
may not accept money from special interest groups. They also agree to
participate in these debates. As we move into the debate we encourage audience questions. If you have questions,
please print them clearly on the card given to
you when you walked in and hold it up. One of our volunteers
will pick up the cards and deliver them to me. We screen questions for clarity to eliminate
duplications, speeches, or personal attacks
on candidates. If you need another card
just raise your hand. The debate is
scheduled for one hour, so we may not get to all
the audience questions, but we will do our best. There’s an independent
timer who will see that all of the
candidates have equal time to answer questions
and will tell them when their time is up. Our format this evening will be opening statements
two minutes each, a quick lightening
round, two minutes each to answer audience questions, two minutes each
to ask candidate to
candidate questions, and closing statements will
also be two minutes each. We ask that you remain
polite to all the candidates and give them a fair and
un-interrupting hearing, no matter how
strongly you may agree or disagree with
anything being said. This means no applause,
outbursts, or cheers except for now as we
introduce the candidates. This is especially important as closed captioning services
will be made available after this debate
for those individuals that are hearing impaired. As such, I will refer
to each candidate by their full name
prior to each question and I ask that the candidates speak clearly into
their microphones. Tonight’s participates
are Miss Jo Holt, democrat running for
a seat in the senate. Mr. Steve Smith, republican running for a seat
in the senate. Mr. Mark Finchem, a Clean
Elections candidate, republican running for
a seat in the house. Mr. Vince Leech, republican running for a seat in the house and Miss Holly Lyon, a
Clean Elections candidate, democrat running for
a seat in the house. (applause) The order in which the
candidates will speak has been determined
by alphabetical order by last name starting
with the senate and will progress from
that starting point. The closing order
will be determined by reverse alphabetical
order by last name. Miss Jo Holt, will you start
the opening remarks please? – [Jo] Yes, thank
you very, very much. I appreciate everyone
coming out this evening and appreciate Clean Elections for conducting these
very important debates. I am Jo Holt. I am a retired
research scientist. I also spent four years
as a 24/7 caregiver for my husband and I’m a mom and I think those are
the most important things about me, more
important than my party. The reason that I am running
for the state legislature is I’m very concerned
about the direction that our state is taking. I am extremely concerned
about the damage that’s being done to our
state, in my opinion, by the Tea Party
and those who are associated with the Tea Party. We need a strong government that works for
all of the people. The size of the government is secondary to
the important fact of who the government works for. I’d like to remind everybody that the state constitution outlines that every
child in this state it’s the legislatures
responsibility to ensure that every
child in this state has access to a
quality education, regardless of the
circumstances of their birth. I believe that we
have veered far off of that pathway, really,
that we are expected to be on, so that
is the main reason why I am running and
I very much appreciate you being here
tonight, thank you. – [Denise] Thank you. Mr. Steve Smith. – [Steve] Well, thank you to the Clean Elections. Thank you to everybody
who is here tonight. Thank you for all those
who will be watching and of course, I always
give thanks to God for another day of
freedom in our country that we can share
ideas like this. I’m gonna give you a quick
background about myself just so you know who I am and I’ll certainly
get into the issues as the questions progress. Born and raised in Michigan. Graduated with honors from
Michigan State University with a degree in marketing. Moved to Arizona in 2001 and it was actually
after September 11, 2001 that I thought there
was just something that I had to do
different in my life and for one reason or another I believe God led me to politics so here we sit today. I live in the city of Maricopa. About two hours north of here with my wife and
now four children, ages six, four, two, and one. So we’re a busy household. So I love the district. It’s been very good to us. It’s a great place
to raise a family. I got into politics … I never ran for
office ever before. I ran in 2010 for
the first time ever and I ran for senate and I won. I was one of the youngest
senators in Arizona history and I became one of the
first republican senators in my district since statehood. I was then subsequently elected to the House of Representatives and now I’m running for
re-election to the senate. The thing I like to
tell everybody is I had an interesting
thing happen to me earlier this year, I had
a reporter come up to me on the floor after we
had done some voting and he said, “Hey Steve,
do you know that you voted “more against your
party then anybody else “in the legislature?” I said, “Well, good.” They said, “Well, what
do you mean good?” I said, “Just because the
bill has and R next to it “or a D next to it, does not
make it a good or bad bill. “I vote for things
because of the merit “that they have and
it’s that attitude “and that mindset that
I take to the capital “with me everyday.” It’s been an honor to
serve in this capacity. I look forward to the
questions tonight. Thank you. – [Denise] Thank you. Mr. Mark Finchem. – [Mark] Thank you all
for coming out tonight. I’m pleased to see
a growing number of people coming
through the door and attending this
clean elections panel. A little bit about me. 58-years-old, I moved to Tucson after I retired from being
a public safety officer in Kalamazoo, Michigan,
21 years in that position. About half of that
time also a rancher out in a little
community that had about 187 people in it. After moving to Tucson I
went to work for Intuit as a software support engineer. Left there as a senior manager in charge of the
registration department, which basically
helped customers. It was a customer
serving department and one of the requirements
of working there is that you become a certified
six sigma practitioner. After my last trip
to India I decided that that would be
my last trip to India and decided to work for myself. Now I’m a Realtor with a
major firm here in Tucson. The reason I’m running
for this is I love my kids and the country
that I grew up in almost doesn’t exist anymore. I’m tired of seeing
the status quo to go along, get along politics. Our opposition has talked about they don’t like to see bickering and they don’t like
to see argument, but frankly that is the
business of government to make sure that
all ideas are heard, so that everyone
has a open hearing around those things that will essentially control our lives. I’m for small government. I’m for shrinking government. I’m for maintaining taxes, but growing the capability
of paying for education. I want to see ethical
behaviors in the legislature. To this point there
are some folks who have focused on
rederick as opposed to actually getting things done and I believe that
me and my teammates have the capability
to work together with the other
people in the aisles, doesn’t matter what side, to actually get some things
done in this coming session. So I look forward to answer
the questions this evening and again, thank you for coming. – [Denise] Thank you. Mr. Vince Leech. – [Vince] Thank you
everyone and thank you to Clean Elections and
thank you to the time keeper right in front of us. Thank you all for
coming and being with us and asking your questions of us. That’s important as we reach
out in this election season. You find out about us and
we find out about you. A little bit about
my background. I’m from Wisconsin. I’m a cheese head. We fell in love with the
desert a long time ago. It took a little while
longer for my wife to become familiar and
love the brown color, but once she did
we came out here as soon as we could. I got in politics,
I became an activist almost immediately as I
ran into the bureaucracy of the Arizona
Corporation Commission. Two days, literally,
two days after I changed my registration and not to go into all
the details of that story, but two-and-a-half years later through the help of
many in the legislature and many people on the
ground here in Arizona, we changed a law and the
Governor signed the bill on April 21, 2011. I am a pro-life candidate. I am a pro-school
choice candidate. I am a second
amendment candidate. I am a pro-jobs candidate. I am against common core. I will do everything I
can to send common core back to Washington DC and I’m against
medicaid expansion, both of which are unfunded
mandates on our state costing us a lot of money and the most important
thing that we need to do is balance our budget and
get jobs back together. Thank you again for
all coming this evening and I look forward
to your questions. – [Denise] Thank you. Miss Holly Lyon. – [Holly] Well, good
evening to everyone and thank you all
for being here. Thanks to Clean Elections and also to PCC
for hosting us here and we appreciate that. Those of you who
watch this online thank you very much
for watching this also and learning a little bit more about the candidates in LD11. I am a retired
colonel, US Air Force. I went into the Air Force after
teaching school for a year. I taught public school
math and it was so tough that I went into the Air Force. I was in the Air
Force for 26 years. I retired out of the Pentagon as a communications and
computer systems officer. At the time I had about
90,000 people worldwide whose education and
training I influenced from that position. I stayed in the
northern Virginia area and worked for a couple
of different corporations for a while and then
finally moved out to Arizona to be closer to my
mother who has been down in the Green Valley area,
south of Tucson since 1976. She was getting to the
point where she was having some potential health issues and I wanted to be
closer so she could maintain her independence
as long as possible and I could help her out. I got into this race because I believe I can bring my
more than a quarter century of leadership skills
to the legislature to get people talking to
each other a little bit more. Doing some of that
sharing the ideas. I think it’s great that
we have different opinions and we always will. I believe in building
up the infrastructure and public education
to bring business in because we absolutely
have to get some good businesses into and
grow some here in Arizona. I also believe very strongly
in ethics legislation. I don’t think that
the legislators ought to be able to
take gifts of any kind. So I would be honored to
be your representative in the legislature
and I’m Holly Lyon. – [Denise] Thank you. Now we’re gonna move on
to the lightening round. In an attempt to lighten the
mood for tonight’s debate we are gonna do a
quick lightening round of this or that. This will allow
us to get to know the candidates a little better. Candidates, please just
answer with one word. We’ll start with
Mr. Steve Smith. Droid, iPhone, or Windows? – Droid. – [Denise] Mr. Mark Fenchem. Droid, iPhone, or Windows? – iPhone. – [Denise] Mr. Vince Leech? – iPhone. – [Denise] Miss Holly Lyon? – iPhone. – Miss Jo Holt? – Droid. – We agree, (laughing)
there you go. – [Denise] Thank you. We will now move into
our audience questions. We will start with
Mr. Mark Fenchem. If elected, what will
your top priority be? – [Mark] I think before
we can do much of anything we’ve got to figure
out how we’re gonna pay for what we’ve already spent. We have a budget deficit of, depending upon what
office you talk to, $1.1-$1.6 billion for 2015 and that includes a court order that is in discussion right now for restoring some
payment of cost of living, basically cost of
living increase to education of $317 million. We still need to
pay for the things that we’ve already purchased and then we have to start
looking at what are ways that we can not
only grow tax base, but let’s talk about growing
an out as opposed to up. Some folks don’t
like the Tea Party. Well, it stands for
taxed enough already. I mean, that’s, at
the end of the day you can’t get blood
out of turnip. When people have
no more to give, they have no more to give, so the fact that
we have a situation where the Federal
Government has refused to give us the lands that
were promised to us in 1912 so that we can use those lands in order to generate tax base when we’re competing with
states like New York, has 93 percent of it’s
land in production. Arizona has 16 percent. It’s kind of like a
watermelon and a walnut. Mathematically we can’t compete, so we need to press
the Federal Government, specifically
Congress, the SCOTUS, the US Supreme Court has
already ruled on this and said, “Congress, you
can’t get out of doing “what you promised
to do in 1912.” So when we see timber
that rots on the ground, when we see minerals
that are in the ground that we need to have
for clean energy, for clean technology,
sitting in the ground and we can’t pull
it out, we’re behind the eight ball already. So we need to grow the pie,
not just grow the taxes. – [Denise] Thank you. Mr. Vince Leech. – [Vince] At the last report
of the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, we were
$1 billion in deficit over the budget. Not bad compared to where
representative Smith was just a few short years ago
when we were $3 billion short, but we are $1 billion short
on our operating budget. This state, through
the last budget crunch, went out and borrowed
money to the tune of $8.6, actually it was $9.6, we’ve
paid some of that down. $8.6 billion, we are in debt. Talk to ways, you
can go to any site. Go to the State Treasure site. We’re $8.6 billion in debt. The big number that we
should all be concerned about is debt, we’ve all
probably had debt. We’ve worked out of
debt, some debt is good, but in the state of
Arizona we pay just short of $1 million a day on interest
in servicing that debt. I think we have a lot of
other places that we could go with that money, whether
it be HURF funds, whether it be education,
whether it be whatever it is. We have been there before. We’re gonna have
to work hard again to look at budgeting. I am suggesting and
I’ve already suggested that we go to zero
base budgeting that will force us to
look at every line item and go through it carefully
and look for items that we can carefully
reduce as necessary. Mark is correct, we
need to grow the pot. We don’t need to
reinvent the wheel and as we’ve got Red Rock
Project right up north of us that’s been
waiting for years to go. We have the Rosemont
Mine right south of us. We have the Resolution Mine. I was with a company today
that’s in Oro Valley. They would love to expand. They would love to expand
in this particular area. The jobs are here. All we have to do is
get the government out of the way and give
them a chance to grow. – [Denise] Thank you. Miss Holly Lyon. – [Holly] Well, this
seems to have turned into a little bit of a
discussion about budgets, so let me start there, I
agree with about everything that’s been said so far. We need to stop deficit
spending so to speak. We need to stop borrowing and we need to
pay off our bills, but what’s been happening
for the last four years is that the legislature has
just been ignoring the bills and not paying some of them and now they’re coming
back to bite us. We have, as we all know,
hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars
in education funding the courts have
required us to pay back. We have money, $400 million
in the public safety retirement fund that
the courts have ordered the legislature to
pay and the debts are just getting
worse and worse. I totally agree, we need to
go line item by line item. I have done this. I have sat in the Air Force
Planning Budget Committee and sat there everyday for
about 14 hours for a month and gone line item by line item through the Air Force budget and discussed it and figured out where we could make cuts. I have also sat in on the
operating budget committees day-to-day changes
and figured out where to make cuts and savings and also where to spend
the money that we had. So I’ve done this and I
think it needs to be done. Secondly, in terms of
money, I think we need to restore the HURF funds. I would love to
hopefully to do that so that we can start
building our infrastructure. That would have
to be on the table and I would also
like to, of course, put the money back
into public education because between infrastructure
and public education, those are the two biggest items that will entice businesses
and grow businesses here in Arizona, so
that’s where we need to focus and going forward the next thing would
be ethics legislation. I’m gonna pound
that one all night. We need to bring ethics
legislation to the legislature. – [Denise] Thank you. Miss Jo Holt. – [Jo] Well, I think
that we have to focus on growing business
here in Arizona. You can cut all
night and all day until the cows come home
and you’re not going to be able to make
this up without having an increase in business
and business revenue in this state. We could also have a discussion, which we very, very
rarely hear about in this campaign or any
other campaign in Arizona about revenue and about the fact that not everyone in Arizona
pays their fair share and that that could make a
big difference in revenue, but when you get down to
talking about business and I belong to the three
major chambers of commerce here in our legislative district and I do that so that I can talk to small business owners
and so that I can hear what the economic
planners and developers are saying in Oro Valley and
in Marana and in Maricopa and they don’t talk
about state taxes and cutting taxes
and tax credits. They say what the
small businesses and other businesses, larger, that are thinking
about coming to Arizona or thinking about
leaving Arizona, what they want to know
is about infrastructure. What they want to know
is about workforce. What they want to
know is about why do we have such a poor
reputation in this state for public education? Now, we don’t want
to deficit spend it certainly, not to the
extent that we are right now, but you know what? Our children can’t wait. They’re growing every year. We have to do something
for our children now. We have to concentrate on our public school system first. Thank you. – [Denise] Thank you. Mr. Steve Smith. – [Steve] Well,
when the question is what’s the singular issue or what, in our opinion,
is the most important issue or the first issue
we’re gonna work on. You know what, for me it starts
and ends with the border. Here’s why, when I take an oath as I’ve done in the
senate and the house, when anybody who’s
elected to office takes an oath, their
oath is to defend the Constitution of
the United States and to defend the
Constitution of Arizona and to protect the people. When you see what is
happening on that border, the drugs, the
violence, the gangs, the murders, the killings. 60,000 murders
along that border. When you say, “Well,
what about the economy?” Well, do you know what happens when you solve
your border crisis? The State of Arizona
spends, by all estimates, $2-$3 billion with AB per year on three areas
for illegal aliens or because of that
non-secure border. Healthcare, education
and imprisonment cost. Our state, you and I,
spent $2-$3 billion on free services for people
that shouldn’t be here. You want problems fixing
your education system? How about class size,
let’s talk about that. Look at your class sizes. How many illegal alien children are you and I paying
for in our classrooms? You know after we passed
this bill called SB1070 a few years ago, do you
know that the class sizes actually went down, why? Because illegal
aliens, by and large, a lot of them left this state. So whatever way you
want to look at, we want to grow the economy. Well, how about
record unemployment that this state and this
nation has been a part of? Over 20 million Americans under or out of employment, yeah? Well, how about we
get those people back to work first
before we start getting non-citizens the
jobs in this state? So what I did, because
the Federal Government wasn’t securing the border, and because the state didn’t
have the money to do it I went out personally and raised a few hundred thousand
dollars to do whatever I could to put the assets
on the border, why? Because if nobody’s gonna
do it, somebody has to. Thank you. – [Denise] Thank you. Our next question, we’ll
start with Mr. Vince Leech. What is your position on
the recent court decision requiring the legislature
to repay the funds that were withheld from
the school districts? How do you propose
the state pay for it? – [Vince] I’ve answered
this question in many forums and I will answer it the
same as I’ve answered it in every other forum. We should go forward
with the court case and see what the court
has to say about it. It’s being presented as
a straight $1.2 billion that we need to come up with and that may well be,
but when you go back and you look at what
the case is all about, it’s actually a
balance of in the years that we paid over the
mandatory two percent, all we’re asking and
making the case for is that those overages
be figured in. Now, if the court has
a different opinion, then the court will
have a different opinion and we will have to plan
accordingly at that time, but to stop that court case
at this particular time would not be in
the best interest and the Governor
now agrees with that as does the legislature. – [Denise] Thank you. Miss Holly Lyon. – [Holly] Well, I
kind of think that what we ought to do is sit down with the representatives
on the other side of the lawsuit and see
what we can negotiate. We owe anywhere
from $1.2 billion to $2.6 billion dollars
depending on how it gets calculated and
there will probably be a lot of different calculations. The school districts, or actually the school
representatives, offered to forgive
the legislature what it had not paid if
it would just start paying as the lawsuit started
to make it’s way through the courts
and the legislature refused to do that. They were so confident
that they just went right ahead and pushed
through the lawsuit and now we’re stuck with
this great big bill. I think what we need to do is we need to go back
and we need to talk to those representatives
on the other side and figure out how
we can pay this bill and over a period of time. We can’t do it in a
year or two years. It’s just not possible. It’s going to have to
take a long period of time and that’s what we
ought to work on. – [Denise] Thank you. Miss Jo Holt. – [Jo] Yeah, I think that
we’re all more or less in agreement on the fact
that it’s not possible for Arizona to pull out
$1.2 or however many billions of dollars
and pay back the money that the state owes
to the public schools. You understand that this
was a voter initiative that has been ignored
for the last five years by the state legislature and that’s what the
court had ruled on. Yes, we will have to negotiate. I am so tired and fed
up with the court costs that this legislature
is running up and taking every single thing, even their own
attorney’s tell them this is not constitutional
and they will send it through anyway. Let the courts decide. Let’s save some money here and let’s stop spending
it on the lawyers and the attorneys working
in these court cases and just follow the
law as it’s laid out on the books, thank you. – [Denise] Thank you. Mr. Steve Smith. – [Steve] So, the
lawsuit for those that might not be
familiar with it, basically just says had
the State of Arizona looks like they have to
pay about $317 million for this back
funding of education. As Vince Leech pointed out, what the lawsuit that the
legislature and the plaintiff is moving forward
with is just saying, “Well, wait a minute,
if we did pay extra “in certain years,
don’t we at least “get a credit for that?” The example I try to
give everybody is, and you and I as own household, I got two car payments. Sometimes, and the same
thing with credit card bills, some months I’ll
pay more towards it to reduce the balance above
the minimum payment due. That in some ways is
what the state did. Some years they
actually paid more than what was required
and all we’re asking is in those years, that we
get the credit for it. No difference if you
paid a little extra in your car insurance,
or a little extra, right, in your credit card bill, if you’ve paid towards it,
you outta get credited for it. That’s the idea of the lawsuit, so maybe that number actually
comes down a little bit maybe it goes … We don’t know, but it’s
certainly worth pursuing. If you really want to
talk about what the state actually owes, well
then let’s figure out what we actually owe,
so I agree with that and I certainly welcome
that pressing forward with the lawsuit. Let’s find out what
the actual bill is. On a larger note, when
it comes to education, I’m proud to say that the
legislature’s increased especially in K-12 funding,
the last three years. The state now, is that
near record levels for funding for education. The states portion is
nearly at record levels. So when we talk about
funding education, listen, I’ve got
children in our schools. Many of us have kids or
grandchildren in our schools. We want a good education system. You’ve got to spend
the money wisely and that’s what I’ll
say, so thank you. – [Denise] Thank you. Mr. Mark Fenchem. – [Mark] I’m sorry, I
thought there was a request for folks to be quiet
so that we could give our answers uninterrupted. I think it’s gonna end up
being a negotiated settlement and I’d like to be very clear. In every single voter
that I’ve talked to, knocked on doors and
called on telephones, nobody wants to whip
out their checkbook. I don’t think there’s
anybody in this room that wants to whip
out their checkbook for $1000 bucks a piece tonight. We don’t get to print money. We have been overspending
in almost every area of our budget. Now it’s true, I’ve got
the graph right here. We can talk about the
increase in spending. We’re on a track. We didn’t get here
overnight folks. We didn’t get here in
the last year or two. We got here over this … This has been a 10 year track. We’ve lived through
a massive recession. So balancing the
budget on the backs of every single state department, on every single county,
when you’re looking for dollars an pennies to
try and balance a budget at home, you’re pulling
money from everywhere to pay the bills. Now, moving forward,
we’ve got the opportunity to unwind this, do it
in a methodical manner. Let’s stop spending
money on programs that the state should
not be engaged in. We have three responsibilities
to state government. Lands and infrastructure,
education, public safety and
border security. Now I would advocate,
if there are programs that this state has
got it’s fingers in that are outside of
those three roles, we have to stop and
ask ourselves why and can we afford it? We’re giving money
to organizations like Planned Parenthood and PR. Everybody wants to
educate children. Why don’t we educate
children with that money instead of giving
it to organizations that are fully capable
of raising money in the private
sector themselves. Thank you. – [Denise] Thank you. Our next question. Do you support an increase in the minimum wage in Arizona? Miss Holly Lyon. – [Holly] Well, I would
not want just Arizona to raise the minimum
wage, that’s for sure. At the same time I think we need a living wage for everyone and what it is right now, it
is just not a living wage. I have actually met people
who work up to four jobs to try to make ends
meet and none of those are they considered
a full-time employee, so they don’t get benefits. They’re working their
tails off just to make … People like that who
work two or three jobs don’t have a lot
of luxury of time to, for instance, take
their children to the best school in the local
area or a lot of other things that they might be able to
do if they had some time. So we do need to, I think,
get people a living wage, but it has to happen all
the way across the board. If it just happened in Arizona then the businesses
would all close down and everybody would
flood out of the state, so it has to happen
on a wider scale and very, very
incrementally, very slowly in increments as we go along. That’s assuming that we are
able to do that nationwide. – [Denise] Thank you. Miss Jo Holt. – [Jo] I think the reason why we really need to consider
raising the minimum wage here in Arizona is because
of what has happened to working families
in this state and in all the other
states in this country. By and large, the middle-class
as we used to call it, has been squeezed, squazzed,
from all different directions. Everybody in this
room is probably aware that wages have
stagnated for decades. We make no more in
Arizona than we did on average in 1995 or 1985. It doesn’t matter at this point. Prices go up, costs go
up, wages do not go up. The last thing you want
to do is take more money out of the middle-class. Take more money out of the
pockets of working families. Raising the minimum
wage actually affects that group of people, you know? We always think of minimum wage as being people who
are maybe very young, or are not very educated,
something like that, but this is affecting a very
wide swath of the population and it’s a way of
boosting our economy and it’s called an investment
and what that means is that you pay the money, you spend the money,
you get more back than what you put in. That’s a positive
investment, so yes, I do support increasing
the minimum wage. – [Denise] Thank you. Mr. Steve Smith. – [Steve] Well, thank you, and I couldn’t disagree more. This is just something
where my opponent and I aren’t gonna see
eye-to-eye and here’s why. It is not an investment. It does not increase
the economy. Let’s take a little
economics 101. If you are a business
owner and you are paying somebody $7.75 an hour
and then the state now tells you, “Well, you’re
gonna pay these people.” Pick a number, $10 an hour, whatever they want it to be. Where do you think that business is gonna get that money from? Do they just start
pulling it out of thin air just writing more checks? No, the cost of goods go up. When your costs go up,
guess what happens? You’re gonna share that
cost with your end user. So if you wanna go
to a McDonald’s, if you want to go to,
wherever you want to go when that business is
forced, mind you, forced to pay more for the same
output, for the same work, where does it come from? When I talk to business
owners they say, “Wait a minute, when I
used to be able to hire “two or two-and-a-half
employees, “now I can only hire
one-and-a-half or two employees. “I just can’t keep
hiring more people. “You all made me pay them more. “Where am I gonna
get the money from?” You know where they’re
gonna get it from? They’re gonna increase
their cost of goods sold. So no more dollar menu
when you want McDonald’s. They’ll probably be
$1.15 now, $1.35. Whatever it is, they’re
going to pass the cost on. Money just does not
appear out of thin air. What you want is good
old American competition. When you and I go to
our jobs everyday. I don’t care if you’re
a minimum wage employee or you’re making six figures, if your performance deems that you outta be paid more, you will be paid
more by that person, or you will find a commencer job that will pay you more
based on your track record and your work history,
not because of what the government tells
you you’re worth. Thank you. – [Denise] Thank you. Mr. Mark Fenchem. – [Mark] I would agree
with representative Smith and emphatic no. I’ve heard this investment
argument garbage since 1962 in LBJs
great society. In 1903 we had a dollar. Do you know what that
compares to today, 2003, 100 years later? Three cents. You cannot print money
that is a fiat currency. When it’s not linked
to something of value you have hyper-inflation and that’s where we’re at folks. Lay on top of that 20
million illegal aliens now in our country that
are going to be competing for the
exact same jobs that the people
here in this country are trying to get. So, at $15 an hour,
I started working at Bonanza Steakhouse
in Kalamazoo, Michigan. A buck 25 and hour, 1974. Think about that for a moment. I was getting minimum
wage at the time. What you are seeing
is inflation. You are seeing runaway spending by a government that is
absolutely out of control. If all you’re going to
do is increase the wage, we have a finite system folks. There’s only so
many real dollars and unless we start pulling
some of the bad dollars out of that market,
we are headed for a very rough row to hoe. So I would be against
a $15 minimum wage. That is not meant … That’s an entry job. That’s meant to start
teaching skills. That’s not meant
to be a career job. That’s not meant to be
long-term employment. Yeah, I know a lot of
people that are working three and four jobs, why? Because of Obama Care. They had to quit
their full-time job or their employer tanked
their full-time job and made them go to 29 hours because they couldn’t
afford the healthcare cost. Now if you believe this
hogwash about Obama Care, you better start doing a
little bit more research because it’s gonna
bankrupt this state. Thank you. – [Denise] Thank you. Mr. Vince Leech. – [Vince] So Mark,
why don’t you tell me about that buck-and-a-half
you were making? (laughing) I started out at $0.75 an hour. – [Mark] That’s for baling hay. – [Vince] I wished
that I’d known that. I would have come
across the lake. Mark is right, in
1964 we started this great experiment and
we have spent billions and billions and
billions of dollars on the great society
that never materialized and we continue to have
bills that come forward raising the minimum wage
and we still come back every two years, three years
and we do the same thing. Yet, at the same time,
in the last 18 months going up and down
the roads in LD11, we have Raytheon that
right now is looking for 2500 engineers, okay,
that they can’t bring in. We have Sanofi
right down the road. Right down the road here,
I met with them today. They are looking for
people bringing in. Securaplane right
across the road is looking for
people, all right? You go to Hayden
Mines up at Winkelman. They are looking for
all kinds of people from tradesmen on
through engineers. It’s the same thing
at Green Valley. Folks, the better
paying jobs are there, but you have to apply
yourself to get there. So if you’re going to be … There’s a reason, probably,
that you’re a $7 employee. If you want $15, then make
yourself a $15 employee. Steve hit it on the head. Businessmen and NFIB,
National Federation of Independent Businesses,
which by the way, all three of us are
endorsed by the NFIB, will tell you exactly that. Do the research. Thank you. – [Denise] Thank you. At this time each
of the candidates will have the opportunity
to ask a question of their opponent. Before the debate, each
house of representative candidates randomly
drew the name of another house candidate and will have the opportunity
to ask that question now. We’ll begin the first
question from Miss Jo Holt for Mr. Steve Smith. – [Jo] So, Steve.
– [Steve] Jo. – [Jo] How are you this evening? – [Steve] Wonderful.
– [Jo] Oh that’s wonderful. – [Mark] That’s the question. (laughing) – [Jo] That was it,
yeah right? (laughing) My question has to do
with poverty in Arizona. As you may have read in
the last couple of weeks the US Census Report
that showed that the rate of poverty
in the United States had decreased for the
first time since 2006. Unfortunately for children
in the state of Arizona the rate of poverty
continues to climb. I’m wondering,
Steve, how expensive do you think that is to
all of the rest of us? What can we do about that? – [Steve] Well, boy, isn’t that the million dollar question. How do we solve poverty? I think the best answer
is provide them a job, provide them a career. People are not meant to
stay on unemployment. People are not meant
to stay on food stamps. The social services
that this state and country provide,
the gold plated services that they are, which is
one of the many reasons why many people
want to come here is supposed to be
more of a crutch and not a wheelchair, okay? When times are tough, your government, your state,
your federal goverment has programs in
place to help you. WIC, food stamps,
unemployment insurance, things like this. It is not meant to
be permanent income. It is not meant to
now adjust your life to that standard. It’s a crutch to help you
get back on your feet. So this kind of runs
akin to the last question we had with the unemployment. You know what’s
really interesting? North Dakota. When you look at North Dakota, what did North Dakota do? They started, well my gosh, they started fracking oil. They started going
in and coming up with your own natural resources. Do you know what the
economy looks like in North Dakota? Less than four
percent unemployment. Do you know what the minimum
wage is in North Dakota? It’s at about $7.50 an hour. Do you know what a
Subway has been reported to offering pay minimum
wage to people there? $15 an hour, do you know why? Because there’s such
a boom in the economy. Unemployment is going so low. There is such a demand
because of these jobs that have opened up that
your lower level jobs, your quote, minimum wage jobs, they can’t find anybody to work, so they, in this good
old fashion American, you know, this
thing we talk about with the minimum
wage, they are now self-increasing the
minimum wage to hire people because they can’t
find anybody to work. That’s what I would answer. The best way for somebody
down on their luck, the best way for
somebody to achieve whether they are on
government programs, the best way they can
achieve un-poverty is to get a well
paying job and career. – [Denise] Thank you. The next question will
be from Mr. Steve Smith for Miss Jo Holt. – [Steve] Well, I won’t
say how are you doing Jo because that will count
as a question, so. Now, Jo and I were on
the radio the other week and we were talking about, well, one of my favorite
issues, the border and the issues on the border and Jo, you said something, I didn’t really get a
chance to speak about too much on the radio,
but I think the question was akin to, what’s the
biggest problem on the border? My answer was
something like drugs, violence, gangs,
illegal immigration. We have our own FBI telling us there’s alive and well
terrorist element on our border. Yes, we’ve seen it. But your answer was the
biggest problem was trade. – [Denise] Mr. Smith,
please ask your question. – [Steve] That’s what
I was getting to. Your answer was the
biggest problem was trade, so I’m wondering, why
do you think trade is the biggest
problem on our border as opposed to any of the
things that I mentioned. – [Jo] Okay, yeah, thank
you very much Steve. Yeah, I do feel that the
border problems that we have are multi-generational,
been going on for a long, long time. What do you think the
fundamental driver of those problems are? It’s the difference
in the economies between Mexico and
the United States. As we continue the
process, right or wrong, of globalization on
the face of this earth, Mexico has the 14th
largest economy in the world now, it is booming. Programs, bills like SB1070
did tremendous damage to this state and really
held us back economically. You go to businesses, you
go to chambers of commerce, you talk to them and they say, “Cross border trade.” We have to get our
piece of that pie here in Arizona, California and Texas are certainly going
to take theirs, right? We need to work in
cooperation with Mexico. Canada, United States, Mexico, is working together,
can compete much better with Europe and
in fact with China than we can alone, so
we are talking about billions and billions
of dollars of trade that is available to Arizona if we prep for it,
if we recognize it, and we understand it. Thank you. – [Denise] Thank you. – Now we’ll go to the house. Mr. Mark Fenchem
will ask his question for Mr. Vince Leech. – [Mark] I’ll try
not to make this a softball question, actually
it’s gonna be difficult. How do you see us
minimizing the use of food banks and
other assistance beyond just creating jobs? – [Vince] Well, jobs
is the key, all right? So what you have to do is, it all drives off of jobs. So when you say
that without jobs, the government in and of itself, we have a responsibility
for public safety. All right, a clear
responsibility for public safety in the state of Arizona,
so if the question is designed would I consider
government intervention in that type of care and
forcing people off that? Absolutely not, because I
believe that public safety is one of the key things
that we have to direct, but the going back to that,
it is at the jobs level and now when you get
to the jobs level, we may need to have
encouragement for those folks that I’m sorry, I went through
a major salary reduction twice in my career. It’s not fun, but
I wanted a job. So if somebody comes from a job that’s paying $85,000 a year and that job goes
away and is no more, and wants to be on
extended benefits for a long, long time
in various programs for a long, long time,
that person may have to be encouraged to take
a $45,000 a year job. Thank you. – [Denise] Thank you. – Mr. Vince Leech,
will you please ask your question
for Miss Holly Lyon? – [Vince] I would be
more than glad to. So, Holly, throughout
the campaign you have talked about,
and we’ve talked about it tonight the $317
million for the schools. $1.2 billion maybe in total by the time we get it all done. You have spoken about
the need to restore HURF funds, which we’ve
started to do that. The need to do
something on the border and not the least
of which has been the investment discussion
in our infrastructure. The question is, how
are you going to do that in the next two
years given the fact that we’re spending $1
million a day on interest. We have $1 billion
dollar deficit and our credit worthiness
will be going down if we don’t take
care of our budget? – [Holly] Well, first
of all, I’m not sure I said anything about
spending money on the border, but beyond that you’re
right about the education and the infrastructure,
et cetera. I’ve already kind of
commented that I think we need to go line by
line through the budget. We need to figure out
what we’re paying for and what we need
to stop paying for and that might include perhaps
some corporate loopholes. Some say that up to
$2.2 billion a year are lost in Arizona through
corporate loopholes. Those aren’t new
taxes, but they are closing the hole
for some old taxes. That’s one possibility,
but I really think we outta just start
with a clean slate. Just go item by
item and figure out what our priorities are. I personally think
the priorities are infrastructure and education, so that we can get
businesses in here and oh, by the way,
train and educate some of those people
for some of those engineering jobs
that Securaplane and Raytheon want
instead of just leaving people to
their own devices who don’t have access to
some good quality education because the public schools
have been cut so much. – [Denise] Thank you. And the final candidate
question will be asked by Miss Holly Lyon
for Mr. Fenchem. – [Holly] Mines a little
bit shorter, Mark. (laughing) Only three states need to ratify the equal rights amendment in order to become
the 28th amendment to the US Constitution
and have our nation fully recognize women’s rights. If you’re elected, and
ratification of the ERA comes to a vote, would you
vote to ratify it or not? – [Mark] Three states have not and Arizona I assume
is one of them? – [Holly] No, only
three more are required. – [Mark] Only three
more are required, okay. I probably would. – [Holly] Thank you. – [Denise] Thank you. We will now begin the
candidates closing statements. First closing
statement will be given by Miss Holly Lyon. – [Holly] Well, again
thank you very much for attending and for
listening and watching. I appreciate the questions
from the audience. A couple of stark
differences between us, you notice the two ladies
at the opposites ends of the table and the
gentlemen in the middle and the gentlemen all
seem to want to point to the individuals as the
blame for why they aren’t able to do things
that they need to do. They also talk about
hyper-inflation and all of these scary terms. I’m not worried
about getting scared. That’s not what this is about. This is about sitting
down and fixing problems. Working with each other. Nobody has all
the right answers. I think some of their answers are absolutely wonderful. Some of their ideas,
we need to take everything into consideration because we need to get
serious about fixing the problems in Arizona
and the divisiveness that has separated us so
that we can’t get there from here has just
been terrible. These folks want to
basically continue down the same path to
go ahead and ignore some of the bills
that need to be paid and force the rest of
us to pick up the tab basically in the long run
for some of the problems that, for instance, let
me use a good example. If you drive down the road enough times around
the city of Tucson you’re probably going to
damage your car, right? Because the roads are so bad. To me that’s like a hidden tax. Having to get your car fixed. Having to transport your
child to a good school if you happen to have the means to educate them
at a good school, that’s an additional tax. If all of those
things were to go into the government and
into the things that Arizona is required
to do for it’s people then we could get
there from here, but we need to be open minded and we need to work together. I’m Holly Lyon and I
would appreciate a chance to do that for everyone in LD11. – [Denise] Thank you. Mr. Vince Leech. – [Vince] So my
name is Vince Leech. I’m running for the Arizona
House of Representatives and I hope that you
found this evening helpful in making a decision. If you haven’t already
put your early ballot back in the mail as many
of you probably have. Yes, there are stark differences and it’s interesting
that some four weeks ago or three weeks ago
we started this traveling program out
and we started at the Arizona Daily Star and
my opponent on the left, her first project that
she was going to do was gonna be ethics reform. Well, tonight it
was gonna be budget. Mark and I talked
in that same forum about going through
a line item budget and make every
department accountable. It came out in the paper
that Miss Lyon said, “Well, that would
be way too much work “and we probably
wouldn’t get through it “and it would be wasteful
spending for people “to have to negotiate
every couple of years.” So I’m not quite sure and
when I hear pro-growth from both people on both
ends and then you look at they’re endorsed
by Sierra Club, the number one job killer in
Arizona, I have questions. I am pro-life. I think you’ll find
that a major difference among the candidates up
here on the other side. I am pro-school choice. You will see on their signs
it says public schools. It doesn’t say public education. It says public schools. Public schools have
over 50 percent staff, not teachers, we’re
in a state where our classroom spending has
gone down tremendously, tremendously while
increasing money to schools. We need to put money
back in the classroom. We differ there tremendously. We differ on job growth. They think it should come
from government spending from investing, taking
money out of your pocket, taxes to put in roads. We would much rather do it
through private business. Thank you. – [Denise] Thank you. Mr. Mark Fenchem. – [Mark] I’m not
sure that we’ve been at the same panel
because I have not heard anybody accuse anyone
of being at fault for being unemployed. I’ve heard about loopholes, but I have a question
for those of you who may be receiving a pension. Where do you think your
pension funds are invested? They’re in corporations. They have to make
a profit in order for you to receive a pension. As for the utilization
of lawsuits that the legislature
may be involved in. I’d like to remind everybody that frankly it’s the
duty of our legislature to stand up for the people. When you have a government,
a federal government, county governments, that
over reach their authority it’s the job of the
legislature to see to it that people are held
accountable for their behaviors. When the US Government,
US Forest Service, and The Sierra Club
are proven to collude in a sue and settle case where the Arizona tax
payers are gonna have to pay the result of the suit, where the Arizona tax payers
were not even represented. Arizona legislature has a
responsibility and a duty to intervene to
protect Arizonians. Now Maggie Thatcher said
that socialism is great until you run out of
other people’s money. I think people who talk
about paying your fair share in this day and age, I
don’t know too many people who are not paying
their fair share. I know I certainly am. I know the gentlemen
and the ladies to my left and right are. I’m pretty sure that you are. This government has
to begin to understand that we are not an
unlimited well of money. We have to start living
within our means. There’s a reason that
we’re in the financial predicament that we are in. It’s called overspending. We have a spending problem. We don’t have a taxing problem. We have a spending
problem, thank you. – [Denise] Thank you. Mr. Steve Smith. – [Steve] Well, of course again, I want to say thank you
for coming out tonight. It is important that
we’re all educated about where we stand and
who is going to be your elected officials. I would just leave
you with this. I can say a lot of things, we can all sit up here
and say a lot of things. Maybe things that some
people want to hear not want to hear. I give you the unabashed truth and any question that
you’re gonna ask me you’re gonna know clearly
where I stand on every issue. But the other thing you’re
gonna know about me is I’m not somebody that
just says something. I actually am the
only one up here that has a record
that can back it up. What I mean by
that is, when I say I’m a fiscal conservative. I’m a limited
government kind of guy. What did Thomas Jefferson say? A government big
enough to give you everything that you ever wanted is what, big enough
to take it away. I’m a very limited
government guy and that’s why the
Gold Water Institute ranked me as the number one
legislator in the state. When I say I look out
for your and my money, our tax dollars,
Americans for prosperity, non-partisan national
organization, scours your bills, all
the bills that you vote on everything that you pass. They’ve ranked me champion
of the tax payer, why? Because I look
out for our money. It’s our money, it’s
not government’s money. It’s our money. When you look at other
organizations, NFIB National Federation of
Independent Businesses, the voice of small businesses, the engine of our economy named me guardian of
small business, why? I don’t count out
of big business. I cater to the
small business owner because those are the people
that drive our economy. I’m A+ rated by the NRA. Like Vince said,
pro-life, pro-family. Vince, Mark and
I, I think will be a very good representation
for this district and at the capital I can
just want to tell you how honored I am for
these last few years to serve in our
capacity to represent this great district. I ask for your
continued support. Steve Smith for senate. Vince Leech and Mark
Fenchem for representatives. Thank you all again
for being here tonight. God bless you. – [Denise] Thank you. Miss Jo Holt. – [Jo] You know, I’d
like to thank everyone as well and once again our host and the people who have
set this up and run this. You know, it’s really
great, isn’t it? That we can see things
so differently up here at this table and still
have a conversation about, “Well, here’s the way I think.” “Well, here’s the way I think.” You know, I was cautioned
a lot (laughing) when I first considered
to run for public office back in 2012. That I’m a scientist. I’m accustomed to
working with data that I consider to
be pretty hard data. We even have error
limits on that data, wow. And I’m accustomed to
working with molecules that don’t have
political agendas. They just go and they
do their job, right? So I was cautioned and say you’re gonna get
into a situation where economics is no longer
economics, it’s spend. You know, very, very
different perspectives and I tell ya, I still
feel that at the end of the day the money
goes somewhere. It comes from somewhere,
it goes somewhere and you don’t have to
believe this or believe that, the tooth fairy, whomever. There are finite
solutions to the problems that this state faces
that were created by human beings and human
beings can work together to fix those problems,
but it has to be one of your highest priorities. Is the desire to
work with everyone and hear everyone’s perspective. That’s what we do in science. It works. That’s what we need to be doing here in Arizona,
thank you so much. I appreciate your
support, thanks. – [Denise] Thank you. To our candidates,
we thank you so much for participating in
our forum tonight. (applause) We want to thank you
who took time out to come and inform
yourselves before voting. We encourage you
to find out more about Clean Elections
and the candidates running for office by visiting www.azcleanelections.gov A link to the video
of this debate as well as other Clean
Elections debates will be posted on that site within 72 hours of
a scheduled debate. We also ask that you fill out your debate evaluation
form you received as you entered this evening and return it to our volunteers. Your feedback is very
important to the commission. Thank you all for coming and have a safe trip home.

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