By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
Hey, Guv: If Albo's not doing his job, fire him. If not, show him your support--and tell those cops to buzz off.
The Water-Down--As a grandmother, it's only natural that Granny Hull's centerpiece issue is medical care for indigent children. But when she introduced KidsCare, legislation that dedicated state tobacco tax funds in order to receive more funding from the feds, conservatives called her Hillary Clinton. Gasp! They tried to recruit Congressman Matt Salmon to run against her. Arrrghhh!
In the end, KidsCare passed, and Salmon passed on the governor's race--but only after Hull bent and swayed to the pressure levied by House speaker Jeff Groscost and his merry band of right-wingers. The final version of KidsCare will only help about 60,000 kids. There are more than 200,000 kids in Arizona on AHCCCS, the state's indigent health care plan--and that doesn't include scores of other children whose parents are on welfare but aren't poor enough to qualify for AHCCCS.
Under the Carpet--Hull has also received a lot of credit for resolving the state's long-standing school finance reform issue. But she only sprang into action when it looked as though inaction would cost her the election.
If you'll recall, school finance reform had two go-rounds this year. The first reform package, passed in the final seconds of the regular legislative session, was widely regarded as a failure. Even Hull staffers acknowledged that the legislation wouldn't stand up to the scrutiny of the state Supreme Court. No matter, they said. The judges will be kind enough to hold off on their decision until after election day. Bad call. The legislation was struck down almost immediately, and Hull had to scramble to put together an acceptable package. To her credit, she did--briefly demonstrating that when she wants to, she can still flex some muscle.
Read Her Lips--Another must-do on Jane's list this year was a tax cut. She got one, saving citizens and businesses $180 million. Again it was a do-or-die issue. Hull knows her legislative record is peppered with votes to increase taxes. Even in good economic times, voters are unlikely to elect a politician with a track record of picking their pockets.
The whole package spells out the difference between the two Jane Hulls. Big Red would have gotten her tax cut, as well as a bigger cut for poor, sick Arizona kids. She would have made sure that the school finance reform package was acceptable the first time, never gambling that the court would let it sit until she was safely reelected. She would tell the voters how she really feels about abortion, and let the chips fall where they may. Would she fire Russell Rhoades and Joe Albo? Maybe, maybe not. But be sure: She'd make a decision.
Arizona's voters will be asked to decide--first in September, then again in November--who their governor will be. They'll choose Granny Hull. Maybe they'll get Big Red.
Contact Amy Silverman at her online address: email@example.com