I can hear you now: "John Kavanagh, for a second week in a row?"

Admittedly, in the post-Russell Pearce era, villains ain't what they used to be, but Kavanagh, a Republican and chair of the state House Appropriations Committee, took exception to some of what I had to say about him in last week's column and nearly talked my ear off defending himself.

So how could I resist another swipe at the piñata? Especially when Kavanagh's aching to move over to the state Senate this year, where he can field more cracked, far-right legislation — you know, like his genius idea to regulate "aggressive" panhandlers, which I discussed last week.

GOPers like Kavanagh and the current crop of Chinese communists have a few things in common.
New Times photo illustration; wikimedia commons
GOPers like Kavanagh and the current crop of Chinese communists have a few things in common.

Chairman K's got a million of 'em. Thing is, some make it into the law books. Like Arizona's bid at becoming a police state — Senate Bill 1070, which Kavanagh sponsored along with his good buddy Pearce back in the day.

Additionally, there are lesser-known nuggets of hostility, including Kavanagh's 2012 bill (now law) criminalizing passive resistance.

Since Martin Luther King Jr. Day just passed, it's worth harking back to Kavanagh's performance as he pimped his bill making passive resistance a class-one misdemeanor before the state Senate Appropriations Committee.

Referring to protesters who go limp while getting arrested, Kavanagh, a former cop with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, explained that he was addressing his own grievance with those practicing civil disobedience.

"I've always been annoyed that people would force police officers to pick them up and carry them around and slow down the process," testified Kavanagh before the committee.

Under questioning by Democrats, he admitted there had been no stakeholder meetings on the subject and that no police organizations were seeking the change in the law, which made passive resistance a form of resisting arrest.

When one Democrat on the committee wondered whether those African-Americans engaged in the civil rights struggle of the last century would have been affected by the statute, Kavanagh had a smart-ass reply:

"No, they would not because this [law] won't be effective until 90 days after the session."

Oh, how the Republicans chortled.

As with his proposed law regulating panhandling, Kavanagh's anti-Gandhi law is unneeded, vindictive legislation, the kind he enjoys moving.

Last week, I mentioned in passing Kavanagh's supposed solution to the crisis involving Arizona's Child Protective Services, which Governor Jan Brewer has since "abolished," reorganized, and renamed.

Whatever you call it, the former CPS could use more money to address the problem of thousands of un-investigated cases.

Kavanagh proposes a referendum that, if approved by voters, would take "at least 25 percent" of the budget of an early-childhood development and services program called First Things First and mandate that it be used "to fund programs and services for children in the Child Protective Services program."

Kavanagh objected to my line in the column about his wanting to "shave off 25 percent of its budget and give it to CPS."

When I accused Kavanagh of splitting hairs, he disagreed.

"I'm not splitting hairs," he said. "Not one dime of that money is going to be spent for case workers, for investigators, for clerical staff. Not one dime of that money goes into the CPS bureau or division.

"It totally stays in First Things First, and they direct it to social and educational programs and drug treatment programs for children under CPS, or who recently were, and their families."

So what Kavagnah suggests will not give money to help with the investigation of child-abuse cases.

Boy, do I stand corrected.

Where is the needed money going to come from then? What about that nearly $1 billion surplus Brewer touted in her State of the State address?

Kavanagh contends it does not really exist because the state still is spending more than it takes in and that without any increases in revenue, Arizona will "be about a half-billion dollars in the red" come 2017.

Here's a novel concept: Why not raise taxes to generate revenue?

"I would not vote for a tax increase, and if you need a two-thirds vote for it, that will never happen," he says. "Not in the foreseeable future, unless there's a tectonic political shift in Arizona."

Thus, the tots suffer and keep on sufferin'. And if some abused kids need services, the funds for some it have to come from another group of needy kids.

Sounds like a scene right out of Oliver Twist.

The state representative also played defense concerning his 2012 trip to China, paid for by an arm of China's communist government, which I also discussed last week, and about a trek I just learned about — to the Republic of Azerbaijan. He and his wife visited the latter in 2013 as guests of a state-owned oil company, Kavanagh says.

"It's not costing the taxpayer one dime," Kavanagh insists. "Admittedly, I'm not a congressperson, but by the same token, it increases our knowledge level about issues. And beyond that, it helps build friendships with foreign countries, so it helps our country overall, too."

Now that's what I call a patriot.

Kavanagh and his wife, Linda, mayor of Fountain Hills, were the only politicians from Arizona on the trip to China.

On the trip to Azerbaijan, there were several state legislators, including Democratic representatives Chad Campbell and Ruben Gallego and Ruben's wife, Kate, now a Phoenix city councilwoman, Republican state Senator Don Shooter, and even Republican state Senator Michele Reagan, whose seat Kavanagh hopes to inherit this year as she runs for Arizona Secretary of State.

Ironically, Reagan is a proponent of tightening Arizona laws regarding gifts to legislators, though she wants to close the loophole for tickets to sporting events. Not the one for travel and lodging.

But Kav seems to miss the gist of last week's column, which pointed out that the kind of mooching he and his colleagues practice is far more lucrative than the "aggressive" street begging he wants to punish in one bill.

"If I accept a trip from something or a donation from a constituent or a lobbyist, I don't harass them to get it," he told me. "You know, they come to me and they want to give it."

Yeah, but the only reason pols like him get the opportunity to expand their horizons through travel is because they're supposedly servants of the people.

"I pay for plenty of my own vacations," Kav said. "I might also add, this is not exactly like a vacation. These trips are extremely structured and regimented. And you spend an awful lot of time meeting with government officials, going on tours of factories. Clearly, they give you fun things to do, too."

They do indeed, as a photo gallery from the Azerbaijan trip on Linda Kavanagh's Facebook page attests. Most of the shots are of the representative and his wife playing tourist at historical sites. There is a shot of Kavanagh in what looks like a meeting.

Azerbaijan formerly was part of the Soviet Union, but it no longer is communist.

China, however, remains a one-party state, where dissent is crushed ruthlessly and state-sponsored capitalism is encouraged.

Indeed, some modern Republicans are a lot like China's newfangled communists. They also crush dissent, encourage capitalism, and enjoy ruling-class perks, peasants and their ragamuffin rugrats be damned.

I'm sure not saying Kavanagh is a commie, even though he took a free trip from commies.

Still, a Mao jacket would suit him.

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You know he has some serious problems when even other Republicans think he is a worthless prick.


I take it you don't care for this guy, neither do I. Fascist would be a good word to describe him.

MaskedMagician1967 topcommenter

I have to wonder if this corrupt fool will follow his daddy twice disgraced, corrupt, narcissistic and mentally sick Pearce and claim he'd reimbursed the trip and would look for the cancelled checks...

Speaking of Pearce, where is that snake in the grass to defend Kavanagh?


What a hypocrite!!!!  Kavanagh is another example of politicians that should be targeted for removal along with Brewer and McCain


This is just more of the Republican  war on Hispanics, seniors, women, medical marijuana patients, and the mentally ill perpetrated by a mean spirited, bitter, and hateful man who really hasn't spent as long in Arizona as have most rest of us.  As the state continues to violate the promises and the trust of those who have lived and worked here all of our lives this relative newcomer wants to play a shell game until the next crisis forces a move of monies to cover that fiasco.  His style of creative financing does not suit our state.  I like the red photo of Kavanaugh.  It is a good portrait of "The New Chairman" who wishes to reign over the masses in Arizona to enlighten us.


Why does he need these trips anyway? It's not like being educated on the Commies' dime is going to help him anyway? He is one one of the too many educated people in Arizona. ANY money spend on Kavan-naughts' education is wasted money. Remember all the "fact-finding" trips Congressmen went on through the years. Like to those resorts paid for by ALEC.

Rik Nelson
Rik Nelson

Did he take his Az. state gun with him?

dennis20 topcommenter

So what is next for Kavanagh? Perhaps a paid trip to North Korea to learn better ways to secure our border? 


" When I accused Kavanagh of splitting hairs, he disagreed."

LOL... when you (or I, or anyone) accuses Kavanagh of anything, he disagrees.

Occasionally, he's correct when he disagrees. But not necessarily often. So, he's got a head for numbers. He does NOT have a leadership mindset. He does not have a GROWTH mindset. He's all about cutting. Not investing, just cutting.

Does he have any idea of what it takes to construct a civil society?

I doubt it.

Cozz topcommenter

Hopefully the nutcase stays there


Greetings comrade...from Communist China...Thank you Comrade Kavanagh...remember...you always have a place close to our hearts here in mainland China. Anytime...you would like to come here and stay would be great but...we just need for you to do a little bit more for us in our future communist colony of America. And...if you're interested we will be reserving Arizona as your district to run as you see fit.

With regards...

Chairman Mao  :)



Our democracy is a fiction. We seek to maintain this fiction to keep you passive. Should you wake up, we will not shy away from draconian measures. I believe we can meet high expectations. Together, let us chart a way forward that secures your complete subjugation, the iron rule of our corporations and our power elite—at least until we make the planet wholly uninhabitable—while we continue to snuff out the liberties that once made our nation worth fighting for.

Thank you. May God bless you. May God bless Corporate America.  Chris Hedges -truthdig

Don Blank
Don Blank

My, how those "commies" waving cash in his face changed his attitude.


Paid for by the "Commies". My how times and someone waving a bundle of cash in his face can change attitudes. 

TommyCollins topcommenter

"...a Mao jacket would suit him..."

Clever play on words, intended or not, Mr. Lemons.

I don't care for Mr. Kavanaugh.

As a professional law enforcement officer I worked with a number of people he reminds me of, and I didn't care for them either. 

I think he has simply drank from the Tea Bagger tap a few times too many.

Not to mention the circle of 'friends' he keeps.

Just another Arizona concubine for the party.


Did you hear the latest? Now this asshat says the universities in this state don't need any more money, because we have too many people with college degrees already!!!!


Seriously, the only reason that worthless bags of human excrement like Kavanagh get elected in this shithole state is because we have too many ignorant, uneducated fools who vote, not too few. Then again maybe that's why Kavanagh opted to leave New York and run for office here; he probably couldn't get a job scrubbing toilets at the New York state legislature, much less get elected to office!!! Only the brain-dead, knuckle-dragging voters of Arizona are stupid enough to elect the likes of Kavanagh, Russell Pearce, Joe Arpaio, Andrew Thomas, Jan Brewer, Fife Symington, Ev Mecham....need I go on????

eric.nelson745 topcommenter

His being a former NY-NJ Port Authority cop makes him suspect from the get-go.


Chairman K like most Republicans is all for cutting other people's benefits as long as he gets his free stuff. Disgusting.


He will need to study the private gulag industry in North Korea. If we could just lock up political critics here, sigh.

MaskedMagician1967 topcommenter

Lol if people are graduating from college and have a degree, where are all the jobs pols like Kavanagh keep promising?

Simple fact is that people attend college in order to better themselves. Pols like Kavanagh are uneducated fools and are doing everything in their power to stifle job growth and innovation by refusing to award schools money.

I think in order to award tax cuts to businesses, the business has to show that they are investing in folks with college degrees and people without college degrees. Simply cutting corporate taxes isn't enough to create jobs.


@arizonaeagletarian@FRONTERA yes,he might spray too much starch in his writings,but  the link , I D LIKE TO make to this article is the average person cant compete wiyh KAY street 12000 plus lobbyist. Or Kavanagh taking money from red China....Corporate lobbyist have seized control of power,.....don't get me wrong im glad for  all who have done well,,,but I think this thing gonna end with "CIVIL UNREST''....

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