As Democrats Panic Over the ‘Secure the Border Act,’ Republicans Should Keep Their Foot on the Gas

As Democrats Panic Over the ‘Secure the Border Act,’ Republicans Should Keep Their Foot on the Gas

Illegal immigration is the number one issue heading into November’s election, and Democrats have no one to thank but themselves. Over the past three years, the left has single-handedly created an open-border disaster under the neglectful policies of a Biden administration that has completely abandoned its constitutional duty to protect each state from invasion. As ground zero for the current border crisis, the people of Arizona know this all too well.

A surge in illegal immigrants in the Tucson Border Sector along with a dramatic rise in the number of “gotaways” has left our state on edge. Meanwhile, cartel violence has increased near southern Arizona communities, and we’ve even seen a report revealing that thousands of “special interest aliens” from mostly Middle Eastern countries have been apprehended while crossing the border illegally in the past two years. And that’s just barely scratching the surface of the catastrophe that has become our border.

You would think that the governor of a state facing a daily invasion would do something, but Katie Hobbs has proven time and time again that she would rather ignore the problem and hope it goes away. So, after Hobbs vetoed the Arizona Border Invasion Act (SB 1231), which would have significantly enhanced our state’s border security, Republican legislators decided it was time to allow voters to take matters into their own hands through the Secure the Border Act (HCR 2060). And the response from Democrats has been telling.

Immediately after the Senate announced they planned to put a border security measure on the ballot and had a hearing to discuss the issue, Democrats and the corporate media began freaking out. Hobbs responded by putting out a press release begging the business community to rescue her and Democrats from having the Secure the Border Act on the ballot. Most business groups responded to her cry for help by essentially telling Hobbs to leave them out of it.

Other liberal organizations vented their frustration to their supporters, upset that the Republicans would have the audacity to “change the subject” from abortion to immigration. And of course, our local legacy media joined in on the freakout parade with a conveyor belt of poorly written opinion pieces attempting to tear down HCR 2060.

What does that tell you?

The left is not even pretending to hide the fact that they are more upset about how the Secure the Border Act hurts their chances in November than the actual damage being caused by the open border. Democrats created this problem, and now they are angry that Republicans are trying to do something about it and (gasp) even go so far as to make it a campaign issue?

Ridiculous.

Voters in Arizona deserve an opportunity to enact solutions to help solve our border crisis, which is why the legislature should stay focused on this issue with their foot pressed firmly on the gas.   

And if this is about election prospects in November, the Democrats have no one to blame but themselves. Their radical woke agenda has led to a freefall in Democrat voter registrations. Immigration and the economy remain the top issues for voters. And Biden and Hobbs remain the two most unpopular politicians in Arizona.

Now, the ball is in the Republicans’ court. They can spend the next six months playing the left’s game of talking about abortion and fighting among themselves (the dream scenario for Democrats), or they can unite and focus on the issues that most voters care about. The choice is up to them.

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It’s Time to Ban DEI Programs in Arizona’s Universities

It’s Time to Ban DEI Programs in Arizona’s Universities

Racist programs and activities do not belong in our state. But in the name of so-called “progress,” they have taken Arizona’s universities by storm. This isn’t the way it was supposed to be. Back in 2010, our state’s voters passed Proposition 107. This amendment to Arizona’s Constitution banned affirmative action programs in the state that were administered by statewide or local units of government, including state agencies, cities, counties, and school districts. But the left found a loophole and has been working to exploit it ever since.

Using words that sound harmless like “diversity,” “equity,” and “inclusion” (DEI), our universities have been flying under the radar in an attempt to indoctrinate students and bring racial discrimination back to campus.

At ASU, the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication currently requires some of its students to take a course called, “Diversity and Civility at Cronkite.” And the Goldwater Institute recently revealed that more than 100 classes offered in ASU’s Spring 2024 catalog include terms like “diversity,” “equity,” and “inclusion.” The University of Arizona’s medical schools in Tucson and Phoenix have been the epitome of DEI best practices—with DEI offices, requirements to complete six hours of DEI credit, and more. And NAU has launched multiple initiatives to increase the number of Native American and Hispanic science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) graduates, including revising graduate admissions processes to increase inclusivity and diversity.

But it’s not just students who have been affected by DEI programs.

Last year, the Goldwater Institute issued a report that Arizona’s public universities were compelling job applicants to pledge support for progressive, racialized notions of DEI-based terminology in order to be hired. The report showed that as of the Fall of 2022, ASU required diversity statements from approximately 81 percent of job applicants. NAU required diversity statements from 73 percent of job applicants. And the University of Arizona required diversity statements from 28 percent of job applicants.

It’s no wonder why our state’s universities appear to grow more woke every single day! It’s literally been a requirement just to apply!

While all three universities eliminated the use of diversity statements for job applicants in August of last year after Goldwater’s report, that hasn’t stopped them from trying to enforce conformity with their DEI agenda. ASU itself mandates that employees complete inclusiveness training every two years, which includes topics like:

    • Affirmative action
    • Diversity in the workplace
    • How to strategically address social justice matters in the workplace
    • Implicit bias and microaggressions
    • Implicit bias in recruitment
    • Tackling implicit bias and microaggressions

This is what your tax dollars are being used for—multiple required trainings for university faculty on microaggressions. It’s outrageous.

Thankfully, Goldwater is suing on behalf of a popular ASU professor who objects to these trainings, and while that is critical, it’s equally important to prohibit DEI and other race-based programs at our state universities through Arizona’s Constitution.

That’s why SCR 1019/HCR 2056 are the perfect solution.

Sponsored by Sen. Anthony Kern (SCR 1019) and Rep. Steve Montenegro (HCR 2056), these bills would refer to the ballot an amendment to Arizona’s Constitution that would prohibit the state from forcing someone to endorse giving preferential treatment to or discriminating against anyone based on race or ethnicity as a condition of any hiring, promoting, or contracting decision.

But perhaps most importantly, these bills would put the issue of DEI in front of voters and give the people of Arizona a chance to make their voices heard. And just like they did back in 2010 with affirmative action, there’s no doubt that Arizonans would make it clear that they want DEI out of our state universities.

America was founded on the principle of the inherent and equal dignity of every person as an individual. But the left doesn’t believe this. That’s why they’re trying to stop this crucial ballot referral. It’s time to end the indoctrination and racial discrimination that come with DEI policies on our university campuses. Let’s give voters the chance to prohibit these racist policies for good.

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Katie Hobbs Has Turned the Governor’s Office Into a Jobs Program for Her Political Friends

Katie Hobbs Has Turned the Governor’s Office Into a Jobs Program for Her Political Friends

For the past three years, the people of Arizona have been forced to deal with the fallout of a struggling economy, rising prices, and an inflation rate that, at one point, was the highest in the country. With this in mind, Republicans got to work, delivering the largest tax cut in state history and following that up with a budget that included tax rebates for Arizona families.

But Governor Katie Hobbs clearly has much different priorities when it comes to your hard-earned money. True to her 10-year history of pulverizing Arizona taxpayers, Hobbs announced during her State of the State address in January her desire to—you guessed it—massively grow the size of state government. And judging by the executive staff hiring spree that Hobbs is on as governor, it’s clear that this isn’t just empty rhetoric.

Last month it was discovered that in just over a year Katie Hobbs has expanded her office staff by approximately 40 employees, a whopping 40% increase over the previous administration. Among these new hires are:

    • Six people working in the newly created Office of Resiliency.
    • Four new employees in the Office of Tribal Relations.
    • Three new in-house attorneys, bringing the total number to four

That’s right. The Arizona Governor’s Office now has six people working on “resiliency,” a department Hobbs created to further push the Green New Deal agenda on our state. What a joke.

So, how much is all this costing Arizona taxpayers? According to the report, in addition to 40 new staffers, the average salary under Hobbs is $10,000 more than it was under former Republican Governor Doug Ducey. All added together, the Katie Hobbs jobs program for her political cronies, paid for by Arizona taxpayers, has increased executive employment costs by over 50%!

In the meantime, Arizona is running a budget deficit while Hobbs tries to scapegoat school choice and our state’s historic tax cuts. But neither of these are the problem. The problem is spending. It’s always been spending.

Just five years ago, the legislature enacted a budget that included $10.1 billion in ongoing spending, plus $500 million in “one-time” expenditures ($10.7 billion total). By FY 2023, that number had exploded to nearly $15 billion in ongoing spending. And while the most recent budget negotiated with Hobbs kept ongoing spending at a lower trajectory, it included “one-time” outlays that brought the total budget cost to $17.8 billion!

But instead of reining in this spending, especially in the midst of our challenging economic times, Hobbs would rather blame tax cuts—ignoring the fact that despite these cuts, tax revenue has continued to climb largely due to the decision in 2019 to start taxing online sales.

Then, there’s Hobbs’ favorite target—the wildly popular Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) program. Hobbs and her buddies in the teachers’ unions will tell you that ESAs are costing the state hundreds of millions of dollars and diverting funds from district schools. But the reality is the opposite. ESAs represent only a tiny fraction of all K-12 school spending, and taxpayers actually save money when a parent decides to leave a district school for a charter or private school. On top of that, what Hobbs and the teachers’ unions won’t tell you is that Arizona taxpayers are giving district schools more money than ever before. In fact, public school funding has soared to $15K per student, up from $10K just five years ago. Now, according to the Chief Financial Officer for the Arizona Department of Education, our state’s public schools have over $1 billion in surplus.

If Hobbs really cares about making sure Arizona is “resilient,” she would start by making sure that the people of our state keep more money in their wallets. But she’ll never do that. Hobbs would rather flex her power as governor to create a multi-million-dollar program so her political friends can do phony baloney jobs and reverse the policies that have positioned our state as the envy of much of the nation. Now, it’s up to lawmakers to make sure the next state budget keeps her in check.

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The Resignation of Gilbert’s Digital Government Chief Is a Big Victory for Independent Media

The Resignation of Gilbert’s Digital Government Chief Is a Big Victory for Independent Media

Government leaders must be held accountable. That’s supposed to be the job of the mainstream media. But somewhere along the line, this changed. Many journalists employed by traditional corporate media started to twist facts to drive home a particular narrative. Others began disguising their own opinions as news. And some just stopped doing any real investigations altogether—choosing to protect our elected officials and government bureaucrats from any sort of real accountability.

Now, with fewer people trusting in the mainstream media, our nation has seen a rise in independent news media. We have a great one right here in Arizona called AZ Free News that has shown it is willing to do real research and investigation into what is happening in our state. And their latest investigative report shows exactly why independent journalism is critical for the future of our state and nation.

AZ Free News Exposes Gilbert’s Orwellian Office of Digital Government

In January, AZ Free News released an investigative report on the Town of Gilbert’s Office of Digital Government (ODG). For over a decade, the ODG, which is made up of approximately a dozen employees, has been working to ensure that Gilbert’s 30 official digital accounts—along with the personal online posts of all Town of Gilbert employees—align with a progressive, liberal agenda.

This concerted effort to control conservative speech costs Gilbert taxpayers $1.1 million each year in salary alone with Chief Digital Officer Dana Berchman making over $200,000 annually.

When asked about the allegations in the investigative report, the town doubled down on its censorship efforts, stating that it “will not tolerate divisive, offensive or culturally insensitive posts from employees purporting to represent the Town.” But as we so often see with leftist government bureaucrats: “Rules for thee, but not for me.” After all, Berchman, who interned for Hillary Clinton’s 2000 Senate Campaign, regularly used her personal social media profiles to promote then-presidential candidate Joe Biden while urging people to vote out then-President Donald Trump.

How is that not divisive? Shouldn’t Dana Berchman be held accountable for her online speech just like the rest of the Town of Gilbert’s employees?

As a devout leftist, Berchman probably figured she could get away with it, but after the AZ Free News report exposed her hypocrisy, she decided to hide, making her Twitter profile private to avoid any further backlash. (Katie Hobbs would be proud.)

But the damage was already done.

Gilbert’s Chief Digital Officer Resigns

In response to the AZ Free News report, Gilbert residents flooded the next town council meeting to demand justice for the ODG’s First Amendment violations. And later in the meeting, Councilman Jim Torgeson proposed that the council review the mission, purpose, and future existence of ODG. That review is set to take place on March 5. But it will no longer affect Dana Berchman.

Why?

Because earlier this week, Berchman emailed her resignation to the town council, effective March 7. And while the now-former head of Gilbert’s ODG didn’t specifically cite the pending town council review, it is interesting timing, isn’t it?

This is certainly great news for Gilbert residents, but it also shows the importance of real independent journalism. Had it not been for the investigation and reporting of AZ Free News, the town’s citizens would’ve been kept in the dark about this blatant government overreach. But armed with this information, the people were able to push back and hold their government accountable.

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Arizonans Must Protect Their Gas Devices From Extreme Government Mandates

Arizonans Must Protect Their Gas Devices From Extreme Government Mandates

“Do as we say, and not as we do.” That is typically how it goes with government. In this case, the “do as we say” means you giving up your gas stoves and cars. The “not as we do,” well, the Vice President of the United States still openly enjoys her very own gas stove, and don’t expect the President to give up Air Force One or his large fleet of gas limousines and cars anytime soon. Also, you probably shouldn’t sit in anticipation for the activists to give up the private jets they fly into climate conferences to scheme about how to limit your access to gas devices, or their yachts. Remember, it’s do as we say, not as we do.

Normally, the left will try to hide and subvert their goals. That’s what they did with their efforts to ban gas stoves: have the media tell everyone it was a conspiracy theory, and that no one wanted to take them, meanwhile having several agencies draft complicated rules to basically regulate them out of existence. Now, however, they have become more emboldened to just come right out and say it: we are coming for your gas cars.

Seriously, at least 25 countries have already announced or enacted bans on gas cars. Here in the U.S., California took the lead to ban the sale of gas cars by 2035 through regulatory fiat (no vote of the legislature, no signature of the governor, just one regulatory board passing one regulation), and at least a dozen have since followed suit.

Don’t think Arizona is in the clear either. After Biden’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found Maricopa County to be in “noncompliance” with the Clean Air Act’s ozone standards, the bureaucracy tasked with developing solutions to lower emissions basically produced a carbon copy of the California plan to ban gas cars, gas stoves, gas leaf blowers, and other lawn equipment, among hundreds of other draconian ideas.

If they don’t submit a new plan to the EPA soon, the federal government might come in to foist a federal plan on us anyway. Plus, right now they are considering new tailpipe emission standards that would effectively result in a ban on gas cars, which has been opposed by nearly 5,000 car dealerships across the country as well as several national and local organizations.

That’s why HCR2050, introduced by Representative Gail Griffin and co-sponsored by 30 of her colleagues in the House, is one of the most important measures this session. If passed by the legislature and approved by the voters in November, it would amend the constitution to prohibit the government from restricting the use, sale, or manufacturing of devices based on the energy source. In other words, no gas stove bans, and no gas car bans.

It should go without saying, but banning gas devices would be catastrophic. Every step of the way, gas devices are used to manufacture and to transport goods. An outright ban would inflate all of these costs and deprive Arizonans of their right to own and use them.

Additionally, the US grid isn’t even close to being able to support the forced total electrification being pushed by the left. Rates would skyrocket, and at the same time, reliability would plummet. Need to travel in the snow? If your power was miraculously still on when you left, good luck relying on your electric vehicle to provide heat and still have the range to make it to your destination. And kiss goodbye air conditioning on a 115-degree August day in Arizona.

The truth is that these ideas are dangerous and would create a real public health crisis in Arizona, not the made up one to fearmonger against the use of energy sources, including fossil fuels, that have led to immense human flourishing and saved countless lives.

That’s why other state legislatures have started pushing back. Last year, the Wisconsin legislature passed, with a strong coalition in support, AB 141, by a 2-1 vote, to prevent discrimination based on energy source. Unfortunately, it was vetoed by their governor, who said it would diminish their “ability to help combat climate change.”

Now, Arizona has a unique opportunity to lead on the issue. Lawmakers can and should swiftly pass HCR2050 this session so that voters can protect their devices from misguided, unpopular, and dangerous energy discrimination, and be free from infringement from federal, state, or local governments to use the stoves, cars, and equipment of their choice.

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As Democrats Panic Over the ‘Secure the Border Act,’ Republicans Should Keep Their Foot on the Gas

Katie Hobbs’ Silence on the Texas Border Fight Is Deafening

If all else fails, run and hide. That seems to be the motto for Katie Hobbs anytime she’s confronted with a challenge. We saw it during her 2022 gubernatorial campaign when she refused to debate Kari Lake. We saw it when she ducked reporters asking for her reasoning behind refusing to debate Kari Lake. We saw it when she hid in a restaurant bathroom after another reporter asked her why she didn’t like discussing politics. And now that she’s governor, it should come as no surprise that Hobbs has chosen the same approach when it comes to the border crisis.

During the last three years, the Biden administration has completely abandoned its constitutional duty to protect each state from invasion, and Texas had enough. The state moved to defend itself from an unprecedented flow of illegal immigration due to the federal government’s negligence. And it has so far been supported by governors from 25 states who signed a joint statement standing with Texas.

Given Arizona’s dangerous situation at our own border, you would think Governor Hobbs would sign on or at least have something to say. But once again, she has chosen to run and hide. Meanwhile, our state’s Republican-led legislature joined in support when Arizona Senate President Warren Petersen and House Speaker Ben Toma signed onto a different letter with more than two dozen state attorneys general to urge the Biden administration to enforce our nation’s immigration laws or allow Texas to do so. And Republicans have also introduced legislation to provide local, county, and state law enforcement with support to defend our border. But Hobbs would rather ignore the problem and hope it goes away.

Keep in mind that Hobbs’ silence comes at a time when the situation at our state’s border continues to grow more volatile. In just the past few months, we’ve seen:

    • report of suspected armed “gotaways” traveling with a migrant group about 70 miles from Phoenix.
    • report revealing thousands of “special interest aliens” from mostly Middle Eastern countries apprehended while crossing the border illegally in the past two years.
    • dramatic rise in the number of “gotaways,” who have escaped detection from law enforcement.
    • major fentanyl bust at Arizona’s southern border.
    • surge of illegal immigrants in the Tucson Border Sector.
    • The apprehension of 21 sex offenders at the southern border.
    • flood of illegal immigrants at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport during the holidays.
    • report of 10 IEDs discovered along the Arizona/U.S.-Mexico border.
    • An increase in cartel violence near the Lukeville Port of Entry.
    • An assault against a Border Patrol agent who was arresting several illegal immigrants near San Luis, Arizona.

And then of course, there was Hobbs’ initial failure to deploy the National Guard to the border during the Lukeville crisis back in December—a decision which she had no choice but to reverse just a few days later.

The reality is that all of this reflects Hobbs’ record of open borders. She advocated to remove the shipping container barrier at our border, she vetoed bills like HB 2675HB 2469, and SB 1408, which would have protected Arizona’s families from drugs and crime, and she pushed for $40 million in state funding to pay for illegal immigrants’ college tuition.

Now, Arizona is ground zero for the crisis at our southern border, and we cannot afford to hope it just magically disappears. It requires action. It’s time for Governor Hobbs to step up, put partisan politics aside, and ensure the security of Arizona’s southern border. Unfortunately, she’s probably hiding in a Rally’s bathroom.

Help Protect Freedom in Arizona by Joining Our Grassroots Network

Arizona needs to have a unified voice promoting economic freedom and prosperity, and the Free Enterprise Club is committed to making that happen. But we can’t do it alone. We need YOU!

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