Monday, August 29, 2011

GOP sinks Arizona credit rating to third worst in the nation

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Under the GOP rule, Arizona now is tied as the state for the third worst credit rating in the nation.

State economists say California and Illinois only have worse credit ratings than Arizona, which is tied with Michigan, New Jersey and Kentucky for third worst in the nation.

“With Republicans in complete control of state government, this isn’t a surprise, but it still is disheartening and disappointing for our economy and for Arizona families,” said Assistant House Minority Leader Steve Farley.

The Joint Legislative Budget Committee’s monthly report (see PDF) summarized the state’s credit rating in the wake of the recent federal downgrade. Arizona experienced its own downgrade a year ago. Arizona’s credit rating is AA- from Standard & Poor and Aa3 from Moody’s. While this rating is investment grade, only two other states have a lower Moody’s rating than Arizona.

“Under GOP rule, our state has lost under their extreme fiscal mismanagement,” Farley said. “Arizona clearly isn’t better off today under Gov. Jan Brewer and the Tea Party. Arizona families are flooding our emergency rooms with no health care, kids are packed into crowded classrooms and jobs are no where to be found. Republicans need to be held accountable for driving our state into the ground.”

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Campbell urges stop to deadly private prison expansion



STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – House Minority Leader Chad Campbell sent a letter today to Gov. Jan Brewer urging her to stop the plan to build more private prisons until the Department of Corrections does its job and completes the cost-benefit and security analyses required by law.

Campbell also asked for more security and enhanced training to be implemented before moving forward.

“After prisoners escaped from MTC last July and murdered two people, you promised that a thorough review of security and monitoring of private prisons would be conducted,” Campbell wrote. “There are still, however, lingering concerns about the security, training and contract monitoring of the existing private prisons after over a year since innocent victims were murdered by escaped convicts.”

Department of Corrections director Chuck Ryan and Brewer illegally ignored completing reports and analysis that would have provided valuable information on how private prisons in Arizona compare to state-run prisons on safety, quality and security. (See the Arizona Republic’s story.)

“…The state has paid more than $3 million to Management & Training Corp. (MTC), the company that runs the Kingman facility where the murderous prisoners escaped last year, for empty beds!” Campbell wrote in the letter. “This is unconscionable and certainly is not justification for expansion of these costly contracts.”

Campbell asked Brewer why she would allow this to happen and asked for an immediate stop to the plan to build more lax-security private prisons in Arizona.

“Gov. Jan Brewer and Republican lawmakers continue to hand over control of our prisons to private corporations that are more interested in profits than public safety,” Campbell said. “These private prisons — which house murderers and violent criminals — have guards who are barely trained and have been exposed for repeated safety violations. Brewer and her Republicans are more interested in doing what’s right for the lobbyists and special interests rather than for Arizonans.”


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Thursday, August 11, 2011

McCune Davis recognized by U.S. Defense Department


STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Rep. Debbie McCune Davis, D-Phoenix (District 14), has been awarded a certificate of appreciation from the U.S. Department of Defense for her leadership on military issues.

McCune Davis this year sponsored HB 2381, a bill that protects military service members from predatory lenders.

“Please accept our appreciation and that of the service members and families residing in your state for your dedicated effort towards improving their quality of life,” said Edward Kringer, director of State Liaison and Educational Opportunity in the Office of the U.S. Under Secretary of Defense.

The bill aligns Arizona law with federal requirements to protect military families from auto-title lenders by enforcing a maximum 36 percent interest rate.

McCune Davis said she was honored to receive the recognition for her work.

“Our military service men and women put their lives on the line every day to protect our country,” McCune Davis said. “This is one small battle we can fight for them.”



Wednesday, August 10, 2011

House Democrats: ‘Health-care ruling another blow to state’s recovery’



STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Assistant House Minority Leader Steve Farley released the following statement today on the Maricopa County Superior Court’s ruling that upholds Gov. Jan Brewer’s and Republicans’ massive cuts to health care:

“The court's ruling on cutting health care is unfortunate because Republicans’ actions undermined the will of the voters and directly violated the Voter Protection Act. This ruling couldn't have come at a worse time — the economy is tanking again and Arizona families are hurting and struggling to get by. Gov. Brewer's cuts now will make life even harder for these families by kicking them off of health care. All of Arizona will suffer from this ruling; the more than 100,000 people cut off of health care by Gov. Brewer will flood our emergency rooms looking for care that could be handled by physicians. These cuts are not the solution and today’s ruling is not only disappointing, it’s another depressing and harmful blow to our state’s recovery.”





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House Democratic staff rakes in awards and achievements

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Although the every-day talents of House Democratic staff are well known around the state capitol, several staffers were appointed to local civic organizations and won outstanding awards this year.

“We are extremely lucky to have such valuable advisers on our staff who provide knowledge, research and hard work that helps us best serve Arizona,” said House Minority Leader Chad Campbell. “Often our staff works long hours away from their families and partners and do so to help build a stronger future for Arizona. We couldn’t do it without them.”

House Democrats honored the following staffers for their accomplishments:
Cynthia Aragón, Community and Constituent Liaison/Policy Advisor on the Environment Committee
-Received the Phoenix Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 award
-Completed the Anti-Defamation League Glass Leadership Institute

Elvy Barton, Senior Policy Advisor on Agriculture & Water and Energy & Natural Resources committees
-Appointed to the City of Phoenix Environmental Quality Commission, which identifies and addresses environmental issues affecting the City of Phoenix

Chris Kotterman, Senior Policy Advisor on Appropriations, Education and Higher Education, Innovation & Reform committees
-Selected for the Valley Leadership Institute, an organization that provides growth and learning opportunities for emerging and existing leaders to benefit local communities


Lawrence Robinson, Staff Attorney/Policy Advisor on Government and Military Affairs & Public Safety committees
-Selected for the Valley Leadership Institute, an organization that provides growth and learning opportunities for emerging and existing leaders to benefit local communities
-Joined Equality Arizona board

“I’d like to thank our entire staff for their hard work and dedication to getting Arizona back on track and helping hold government accountable,” said House Democratic Chief of Staff Keely Varvel Hartsell. “I’m honored to work with the best team at the capitol.”

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Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Campbell calls on DOC to do its job on private prison safety



STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – House Minority Leader Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix (District 14), released the following statement today:

“It is an atrocity that the state Department of Corrections ignored requirements to compile and analyze data on how private prisons in Arizona compare to state-run prisons on security, safety and quality. Without this safety information, our state and the safety of its families are at risk. (See: Arizona Republic story)

“After last year’s private prison escape and murder of an innocent couple traveling in New Mexico, it’s outrageous that private prisons in Arizona still haven’t been held accountable. These required evaluations are the least state officials could do to improve the safety of private prisons, but they were ignored completely.

“Gov. Jan Brewer and Republican lawmakers continue to hand over control of our prisons to private corporations that are more interested in profits than public safety. These private prisons — which house murderers and violent criminals — have guards who are barely trained and have been exposed for repeated safety violations. Brewer and her Republicans are more interested in doing what’s right for the lobbyists and special interests rather than for Arizonans.

“I call on the state Department of Corrections to do its job regardless of the majority Republicans’ threatening power, and to do what is right for the safety and security of Arizona families.”

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