Legislature Confirms Jay Heiler's Appointment to Board of Regents -- and AZ Dems Are Pissed

The Arizona Legislature yesterday confirmed Governor Jan Brewer's appointment of Valley PR honcho/charter school advocate Jay Heiler to the Arizona Board of Regents to replace outgoing ABOR Chairman Fred DuVal -- and Arizona Democrats aren't happy about it.

"Arizona's universities serve as an economic engine for our state," Arizona Democratic Party Executive Director Luis Heredia says. "Rather than select someone qualified to lead our universities on the Arizona Board of Regents, Governor Brewer and the Tea Party Republicans have done the opposite by selecting lobbyist Jay Heiler."

Dems are in a huff over Heiler's "questionable past" -- which, they say, includes referring to homosexuals as "queers," and an "aberration."

In their criticism of Heiler's appointment, Dems reference a 1993 New Times article about Heiler's rise from the newsroom at Arizona State University's State Press newspaper to becoming a powerful Arizona politico.

From our article:

The daily campus newspaper, the State Press, was doing little to discourage ASU's image. It was controlled by a few students who had dubbed themselves The Force. For the most part, no one paid much attention--either to the students or the newspaper; the editors tended to spout the liberal musings that had been common to college campuses since the 60s.

At first, few took note of the quiet coup staged at the State Press by Jay Heiler, Matthew Scully and, later, Len Munsil, three postpubescent Reaganites who took it upon themselves to put ASU on the right course--the far right course. By 1985, ASU had established itself nationally as a hothouse for a virulent strain of conservatism that would have made Joe McCarthy smile.

With blitzkrieg swiftness, Heiler, Munsil and Scully succeeded in making ASU famous for something other than football, keggers and righteous tans.

As editor of the State Press, Munsil refused to print meeting notices for the ASU gay and lesbian union. As a student senator, former editor Heiler supported a move that cut funding to student groups whose agendas were seen as unsavory. And columnist Scully helped to launch a national hate movement against a professor whose views he found objectionable.

"We need leaders who will promote a spirit of inclusion, rather than tarnish Arizona's image with divisive rhetoric that alienates investors and kills jobs," Heredia continues. "Not only is Mr. Heiler a big-money lobbyist who has fought tribal sovereignty, Mr. Heiler has failed to fully explain remarks in his past that are unbecoming of a high-ranking public official. I hope that Mr. Heiler will apologize to the GLBT community for the hurtful things he's said in the past."

In addition to his work as a lobbyist, Heiler served as chief of staff to indicted former Republican Governor Fife Symington, and recently served as communications director for Congressman Ben Quayle's Congressional campaign.

In their criticism, Democrats cite Heiler's ties to Symington and an editorial he recently wrote declaring "war against our tribal communities."

See Heiler's editorial here.

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