OPINION: Arizona should have an Independent governor

Chip Howard

I, like other middle-class citizens of Arizona, have been abandoned by the Republican and Democratic establishments.  The average citizen on the street is hurting and sees little prospect of improvement in their quality of life, their financial futures or the financial ability to educate their children. Meanwhile, the partisan politicians have proven that they have little interest in the well-being of our citizens.  It is time to abandon the Republican and Democratic parties just as they have abandoned us and to make Arizona work for the citizens, not the establishment special interests.

Elected representatives take an oath to protect the interests and well-beings of the citizens.  There are a few wonderful exceptions, but is anyone delusional enough to believe the primary interest of most politicians is the people?  Besides self-preservation, politicians’ loyalties seem to be to the parties, to the behind-the-scenes power people that control the parties and to the financial beneficiaries that make the parties’ grip on power possible.  Aside from some patronizing fluff, who are partisan politicians least interested in?  Ah, that would be us, the citizens.

What do we, the people, get from political parties in Arizona?  Whether it’s Republicans or Democrats, party attitudes to anyone other than high-rolling donors is, “Let them eat cake.”  But, come election time, political parties are our best friends and saviors.  So, the question to each of us at election time is, “Are we willing to continue with the results (or lack thereof) that we have been getting or do we want representatives that will serve all of the people?”  We have that choice.

Take our Republican governor who won his office by declaring himself as the “education governor.”  What results have improved in the world of Arizona education in the last three years?  He actually cut education funding.  But hooray, he promised our teachers a 0.4% percent raise in pay this year.  Anything else?  No, I can’t think of anything else either.  But, now that re-election season is near, there is another bold plan, not unlike the one preceding the last election.  But, with absolutely no funding designated for the plan, well, more of the same idle words that will deliver nothing.

On the other hand, we have a Democratic mayor who based his winning campaign on finally fixing the public pension system whose unfunded liabilities are about to decimate Arizona cities.  Well, that promise was good until 7 p.m. on election day, after which the mayor has fought against any meaningful effort to save our economic futures by stabilizing the exploding pension liabilities.  But, he brilliantly refinanced the unfunded debt of a single pension program and turned that $2.4 billion debt into a $5 billion debt.  Job well done.

Most pundits believe that the current governor will be re-elected.  Why, because he has made landmark improvements to the state?  You can stop laughing now.  No, because he and his friends will spend a lot of money, just like his last election where a reported $15 million was spent to get him elected.  My naive self refuses to accept that the election of our governor should actually be an auction to the highest bidder.

Unless you have been living under a rock, you understand that there is a revolution well underway in our country, a revolt against the self-serving political parties that have abandoned the American people.  Arizona is not an exception as 34 percent of our voters (59 percent of those recently registered) have expressed their frustration by declaring themselves as Independents, rejecting affiliation with Republicans and Democrats in disgust.

It is time to say “Enough is enough, we want our state to be run for the benefit of the people, not a self-serving and power-hungry few.”  Enough disingenuous promises that have no intention of being fulfilled but rather insult the voters who want to believe.  It’s time for results.  Not idle rhetoric, not meaningless promises, nothing but results.  This will never be produced by today’s political parties.  Results can only be produced by a governor who is Independent of the corrupt parties and their financial beneficiaries.  The time is now.

Chip Howard
Independent candidate for Arizona governor
www.chiphowardaz.com

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