The 2008 legislative session produced a fair share of memorable quotations — some conjuring laughter, some demanding further contemplation, and others that might evoke the same response as would nails across a blackboard.
In all, it was an emotional 166 days.
Following is a progression of quotes from the Capitol crowd, starting in January when the session kicked off:
“This is a temporary dip in our economy, and we will work our way through it.” — Gov. Janet Napolitano, who sent a press release in early January to announce details to a plan she proposed in 2007 to balance the 2008 budget.
“I think a lot of that applause came from members who know how tough it is to put up with me.” — House Speaker Jim Weiers, R-Phoenix, after introducing his wife to lawmakers during the first day of the 2008 session.
“It’s kind of like somebody who has a hangover after partying: The harder they party, the bigger the hangover the next day.” State Treasurer Dean Martin, expressing his doubt that the economy — and the state’s revenue outlook — would rebound in time to fix Arizona’s estimated $1 billion budget deficit.
“I cannot draw any conclusions, but I’ll say it’s curious. (Maricopa County Sheriff Joe) Arpaio hasn’t exactly been happy with me.” — Former Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley, commenting after the State Bar of Arizona dismissed a complaint against him that was filed by one of Arpaio’s top deputies.
“This is not the easiest thing to do, but it’s the right thing to do. It solves everybody’s problems but mine.” — Sen. Robert Blendu, announcing his decision to not seek re-election to the Senate and instead to run for the House. The decision would allow his seatmate Rep. John Nelson to run for the Senate in 2008 because Nelson would not be allowed to run again for the House due to term limits. Blendu, however, was considered a candidate to become the next president of the Senate.
“Early poll results have indicated we can take back this seat.” — Senate President Tim Bee, R-Tucson, after an unverified poll by his campaign in December showed he trailed incumbent U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords by a margin of 30 percent to 36 percent.
“I don’t think it’s very clear.” — A state constitutional expert, who spoke on condition of anonymity about whether state laws allow Senate President Tim Bee to declare himself a candidate for Congress before Jan. 1 while still holding state office, or if he’d have to wait until the end of the 2008 legislative session.
“To give one person sole veto power over water management in an area just doesn’t make any sense.” — Sen. Tom O’Halleran, R-Sedona, commenting on a state law passed in 2007 that tied approval of new development to proof that it will have an adequate long-term water supply. But a county board of supervisors must vote unanimously to adopt the rule.
“I think the OUI bill will be able to get through because we already have the same penalties for those who are driving a vehicle.” — Sen. Linda Gray, R-Glendale, commenting on a bill that would bring the same penalties for those who operate boats while drunk as those who drive vehicles while drunk.
“I don’t think there’s a single citizen in Arizona who would not like this bill. We’ll see if it gets buried in someone’s drawer in a committee or if it’s allowed to move forward.” — House Speaker Jim Weiers, R-Phoenix, commenting on a bill that would require lawmakers to forfeit pay if they miss a vote on the floor.
“If it weren’t for Bill Clinton, she would never even have been in the public eye. Janet stabbed us all in the back.” — Judy Nagle, who served on Sen. Hillary Clinton’s Arizona steering committee, commenting on Gov. Janet Napolitano’s decision to endorse Sen. Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination for president.
“You do have a conflict of interest there.” — Sen. Jim Waring, R-Phoenix, commenting on the value of name recognition that comes from the use of public money for educational advertisements or commercials that feature an elected official.
“The pro-business agenda isn’t a Republican or Democratic agenda — it’s a bipartisan agenda.” — Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry CEO Glenn Hamer, commenting on the willingness of some Democrat lawmakers to support business-backed issues.
“I will, even with the media, try to focus my attention on the session while we are in session. And we will talk other issues at other times.” — Senate President Tim Bee, commenting on his decision to run for Congress while keeping his seat in the state Senate.
“Wouldn’t it make sense to have at least one Republican member of the Appropriations Committee who doesn’t earmark?” — U.S. Rep. Jeff Flake, commenting on his bid for a seat on the powerful U.S. House Appropriations Committee.
“All I can say to the committee is ‘Thank you. You make my job easier.’” — Don Goldwater, a chief supporter of the employer sanctions law, commenting on the recommendations by a panel of businesses to soften the law and the effect it will have on his effort to place a stricter measure on the ballot.
“Lena is a very intelligent, quick-thinking, warm person — very personable and very popular. I hope to follow the same example.” — Rep. Nancy Young Wright, D-Tucson, who was sworn in to replace Rep. Lena Saradnik after Saradnik resigned for medical reasons.
“I’m not very happy with my federal legislators. They haven’t done anything the past two years besides re-run for office.” — Yuma farmer Doug Mellon, on the federal government’s failure to reform immigration laws and the state’s employer sanctions law.
“I know people have been going through my kindergarten papers, but that’s not why I’m running.” — Sen. Barack Obama, mocking reports that he has planned to run for president since he was a child.
“The (House) Appropriations Committee is a dog-and-pony show.” — House Minority Whip Steve Gallardo, D-Phoenix, commenting on how the state budget will be negotiated behind closed doors, not in committee.
“It was a sad situation. And so we could not wait to get her out of there.” — Jerry Oliver, director of the Arizona Department of Liquor License and Control, commenting on his decision to remove his 78-year-old mother from the Evergreen Foothills Nursing Home. Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System had pulled Medicare funding from the nursing home and had advised residents to move after a government inspection showed the facility posed “immediate jeopardy to residents’ health and safety.”
“One of the stumbling blocks will be a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee.” — Rep. David Lujan, D-Phoenix, commenting on his bill that would essentially remove child-custody rights from parents who engage in the act of marrying children.
“I’m voting to protect the free world by voting to protect sign-walkers.” — Rep. Mark Anderson, R-Mesa, commenting on his vote in the House Environment Committee in support of a bill that would protect the rights of people to hold signs as they walk along the roads.
“Although I’ve never minded the role of an underdog, and I’ve relished as much as anyone come-from-behind wins, tonight, I think we must get used to the idea that we are the Republican Party frontrunner.” — Sen. John McCain, speaking to a crowd in Phoenix on Super Tuesday, the night it became clear he would pull away from the rest of the
“If it goes up or it goes down, that’s the way it is. But I want a fair fight.” — Sen. Jim Waring, R-Phoenix, commenting on a bill that would have repealed a county equalization property tax.
“Next time, we’ll make sure that we do some sort of media advisory before we go.” — Senate President Tim Bee, responding to criticism that his absence to attend a fundraiser in Washington D.C. delayed budget negotiations. Bee said his office would not confirm where he went for several days because “they were just irritated at the hounding.”
“I’ve decided that I want to stay here in the Senate. I just studied it and felt like I could do more good right here in the Senate.” — Sen. Jake Flake, commenting on his decision to not run for U.S. Rep. Rick Renzi’s seat in Congress. Flake died several months later.
“A lot has happened in that one month.” — George Cunningham, the governor’s deputy chief of staff for finance, commenting on the governor’s revised budget plan that addresses a larger budget deficit than first expected. The new deficit estimate is $1.2 billion.
“You can’t take a restaurant, put it in your pocket and drive over the state line. We are a mobile industry. We are not talking about the rotary phone that is stuck to the wall in my mom’s kitchen.” — Joe Farren, a spokesman for the CTIA — The Wireless Association, commenting on measures introduced in the Senate to further regulate the cell-phone industry in Arizona.
“We already contribute a lot through tourism and public safety funds, but I think we should show greater support for the host committee. These suggestions sound very logical and I am in favor of additional support as long as it is within reason.” — Rep. Russell Pearce, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, commenting on the idea that government should pay a larger portion of the bill to bring the Super Bowl back to Glendale.
“After the Holocaust, the world said, ‘never again.’ But that’s not happening. And I will never understand man’s inhumanity to man.” — Sen. Barbara Leff, R-Paradise Valley, commenting on a measure sponsored by all 90 state lawmakers that requires Arizona to divest from companies that do business in Sudan. The measure was sponsored by Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Phoenix, in an effort to put economic pressure on the Sudanese government in hopes of stopping genocide in the Darfur region.
“There was a poll taken last November. We call it an election. The margin of error is zero.” — Rep. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, noting the overwhelming support behind four illegal immigration-related ballot measures passed in 2006.
“Well, just east of the North Pole. You asked for a location, so I gave you one. Sorry, I don’t have the exact coordinates.” — Senate Minority Leader Marsha Arzberger, when asked Feb. 13 where the budget negotiations are at right now.
“Not just no, but hell no.” — Rep. Pete Rios, D-Hayden, voting against H2859 in the House Appropriations Committee. The bill included funding cuts to various health and welfare programs.
“Did you see my silencers in the library amendment?” — Sen. Ron Gould, R-Lake Havasu City, speaking in jest before the Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony on a bill that would allow holders of a concealed weapons permit to carry guns on school property.
“I think the data speaks for itself. We have this image in Arizona as a right-wing nut state. (But) people in Arizona tend to be, by a 2-to-1 margin, in favor of gun control.” — Bruce Merrill, who conducted a survey of Arizona residents that included a question about allowing guns on university campuses.
“These mines used to be in the middle of nowhere. Now there are million-dollar homes right next to these mine shafts.” — Sam Layne, a mine inspector, on how Arizona’s housing expansion has brought residents in close contact with once-remote dangerous open mine shafts and pits.
“I just can’t worry about these kids falling into holes for the rest of my life.” — State Mine Inspector Joe Hart, on the compounded stress caused by residents falling to their deaths in open mines and by his department’s legal and financial inability to fill mines.
“If you want change in Washington, D.C. and if you want to hear a new voice and new vision in D.C., you are picking John McCain.” — Gov. Janet Napolitano, in a speech blunder at a rally for Barack Obama in El Paso, Texas.
“I don’t think the AIMS test has been gutted, but I think it’s been mauled.” — Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, commenting in House Republican caucus on March 4.
“How would it make you feel if you couldn’t get married, you couldn’t file joint tax returns, (your spouse) couldn’t make medical decisions about you if you were dying in the hospital, (your spouse) couldn’t inherit your property — all those things? It would be maddening.” — Sen. Paula Aboud, D-Tucson, commenting on a measure that would give voters a chance to decide whether to ban gay marriage through a constitutional amendment.
“There is no place in the statute that says a retail tobacco store cannot sell alcohol. It’s not there.” — Kraig Marton, who represented Magnum’s Cigar, Wine and Liquor Emporium in a legal battle with the Arizona Department of Health Services over the state’s interpretation of a new law that prevents smoking in most retail establishments, with the exception of tobacco stores. Magnum’s owners argued that the store was essentially a tobacco store and should be permitted to allow smoking.
“Having everybody buy a flat-screen TV from China isn’t going to create jobs in Arizona.” — Rep. Bill Konopnicki, R-Safford, commenting on 2006 tax cuts that he believes were too deep and not targeted to promote job growth.
“What the governor brings to the table is a shortening of the flow of information. It had to … flow up to the governor and then flow back down (to the negotiators). That’s going to be eliminated.” — Senate Majority Leader Thayer Verschoor, commenting on the beginning of budget meetings that included Gov. Janet Napolitano.
“Is it science? No. Is it compromise and politics? At its worst.” — House Speaker Jim Weiers, R-Phoenix, addressing fellow Republicans and discussing how legislative leaders and the governor arrived at revenue estimates for the upcoming fiscal year.
“It has nothing to do with public safety and has everything to do with revenue.” — Sen. Robert Blendu, R-Litchfield Park, commenting on a proposal to expand a photo-enforcement program statewide, which could raise an estimated $90 million in new revenue next year.
“But we have to opt out to find out if the feds are even going to withdraw the money, then we can backfill.” — Rep. Eddie Farnsworth, R-Gilbert, commenting on a bill that would make Arizona the first state in the nation to opt out of the federal No Child Left Behind program.
“The whole premise of buying and betting that somebody is going to die just seems inherently wrong to me.” — Rep. Bill Konopnicki, R-Safford, commenting on a bill that would ban individuals from allowing a stranger to buy them a life-insurance policy and then collect after the individual’s death.
“Would I prefer that people be married? Yes, I would. But the bottom line is that a lot of people in our society today are not married, and I don’t want to see the children of that relationship to suffer because the benefits are not put in place.” — Sen. Tom O’Halleran, R-Sed
ona, after the Senate voted against a bill that would have blocked benefits for domestic partners of state employees.
“I don’t believe that we can get to the truth unless we can shine the light of day on what any government agency is doing.” — Rep. Jonathon Paton, R-Tucson, commenting on a bill that aimed to open up some Child Protective Services records to the public.
“You can’t have a deficit of $40 million on roadways — and at this point we have absolutely no plan to deal with that — and arbitrarily cut taxes.” — Sen. Tom O’Halleran, R-Sedona, commenting on a bill that aimed to permanently repeal the county equalization property tax this year, which would have meant a loss of $250 million in state revenue.
“He’ll hear it, but he’s not happy.” — House Majority Leader Tom Boone, commenting on Rep. Russell Pearce’s decision to hear a bill in the House Appropriations Committee that would provide money for Arizona’s English language-learner program.
“Our mainstream happens to be the English language-learner population. Implementing the model may be easier here.” — David Martinez, superintendent of Cartwright Elementary School District in west Phoenix, on the need for many school districts to find extra space and buy additional curriculum to teach students who speak a native language other than English.
“They kind of quit hanging out.” — Gary Maughan, a franchise holder of the sports bar Famous Sam’s, pointing out that he noticed an estimated 25-percent drop in liquor sales after a ban on smoking in bars went into effect this year.
“It was painful. It was emotional. But we felt we had no choice in the matter.” — Sheridan Bailey, of Phoenix-based Ironco Enterprises, after he had to fire roughly one-third of his 40-person production unit to avoid sanctions from the state for having illegal workers on his payroll.
“This year I co-sponsored six bills that addressed the concerns of the ad hoc committee. Several of these key concerns are not addressed in Rep. Pearce’s bill.” — Rep. Theresa Ulmer, D-Yuma, who wrote a commentary in the Arizona Capitol Times about a bill sponsored by Rep. Russell Pearce that would clarify the state’s employer sanctions law that passed last year.
“There are moments when a specific bill speaks to you and you have a connection with an issue. I really wanted to sponsor this.” — Rep. Jonathan Paton, R-Tucson, commenting on a bill that aimed to pull state investments in companies that conduct business tied to Iran’s oil and energy industries. Paton is an Iraq war veteran.
“What would stop (Tom) Clancy from being held accountable?” — Sen. Ken Cheuvront, D-Phoenix, after the Senate voted against a bill that would have held responsible the producers and distributors of obscene or violence-provoking material if it causes another person to commit a violent crime.
“If we do not put this forward, it will be a tax increase on businesses, homeowners and others.” — Sen. Ken Cheuvront, D-Phoenix, after he cast the swing vote in favor of a Republican plan to repeal a key property tax.
“I know that this was a hard vote for him, and I know that he had tons of pressure from the Governor’s Office and his own caucus. I think it was a very courageous vote.” — Sen. Karen Johnson, R-Mesa, commenting on Sen. Ken Cheuvront, D-Phoenix, after he broke ranks and cast the swing vote in favor of a Republican plan to repeal a key property tax.
“All of us in the audience — which was beginning to dwindle in size because it was getting late — were shocked an offended by Lacey’s words. It was a grim reminder that racism can surface suddenly, even in the most inexplicable of venues.” — Andrew Leckey, director of the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism, wrote in an e-mail to the Arizona Capitol Times after Phoenix New Times Publisher Michael Lacey dropped the “N” word in reference to a former employee during a speech at an awards banquet sponsored by the Society of Professional Journalists.
“I like Arizona. I want to live here the rest of my life. And I don’t want it to become the basket-case that California has become, with its anti-business rules and regulations.” — Rep. Nancy McLain, R-Bullhead City, commenting in general terms about the Golden State, where she grew up.
“We’re working hard to coalesce the Republicans around my candidacy.” — Sydney Hay, president of the Arizona Mining Association, on her decision to become a GOP candidate in Arizona’s First Congressional District.
“My idea to begin with is that it would be possible to get a limited authorization from Congress for, say, a quota of guest-worker visas. If the state then constructed and administered a guest-worker program … then we could have a pilot program for a state — an Arizona-only guest-worker program.” — Senate Minority Leader Marsha Arzberger, D-Willcox, on her plan to help employers fill job gaps left when the state enacted the employer sanctions law.
“I’m vetoing it this morning. You’ll have my veto message soon thereafter. I think that bill is untimely, untenable. It’s unwise.” — Gov. Janet Napolitano, commenting on a tax-repeal bill passed by the Legislature that would have eliminated $250 million in state revenue.
“The pace has been despacisisimo.” — House Minority Leader Phil Lopes, D-Tucson, using a Spanish word that means “very, very slowly” to describe the progression of this year’s legislative session.
“I feel that I am on their side, in that I don’t want to see other families going through what they’re going through.” — Flagstaff businessman Dan Frazier, commenting on a lawsuit filed against him by a Tennessee couple whose son was killed while serving in Iraq. Frazier sells T-shirts that state “Bush Lied, They Died” and carry the names of thousands of soldiers who died in Iraq.
“We ask that any of you who are attempting to flaunt your own agenda: be it the Limbaughs and the Hannitys of the Right, or the Olbermanns and Bill Mahers of the Left, respect our wishes and not use our son as a red flag to fan your personal prejudices.” — Parents of Brandon Read, asking for the media to stay out of their legal fight against Flagstaff vendor Dan Frazier, whose anti-war T-shirts include the name of their son, who was killed by a road-side bomb while on his second tour of duty in Iraq.
“I think we might see her back here sometime soon.” — Rep. Steve Farley, D-Tucson, speaking on the House floor May 6 about former Rep. Lena Saradnik, who resigned in January after suffering a stroke last year. Saradnik’s doctors had recently given her clearance to start driving again.
“By the time we found out about it, it was practically being turned in to the Secretary of State.” — Former Arizona Game and Fish Department Commissioner Mike Golightly, commenting on his department’s lack of input regarding the TIME initiative.
“I think the amendments will kill the bill.” — Sen. Ron Gould, R-Lake Havasu City, after he tried to attach up to 14 amendments to a measure that sought to create a guest-worker program that would allow citizens of foreign countries to work temporarily in Arizona.
“We’re going to have to fight that stuff one of these days like it’s World War III.” — State Mining Director Joe Hart, commenting on methamphetamine use, which he blames for leaving scores of people ineligible for well-paying jobs in mining.
“It’s another example of judicial activism. It’s another
example o courts making the law instead of enforcing it.” — Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Gilbert, referring to the May 16 Arizona Court of Appeals ruling that a pair of school-voucher programs violated the state Constitution.
“One of the stories was that they were taking our publication, taking the cover off, and selling it as their own. I think that is one of the reasons our reports are now copyrighted.” — Arizona Geological Survey Director M. Lee Allison, commenting on the animosity between the Geological Survey and the state Department of Mines and Minerals. A proposal to merge the two agencies failed this session.
“Imagine buying the lot for your dream home and afterward being informed by the Arizona Department of Real Estate that you can’t use, build on or sell your lot.” — Bill Sandry, who wrote a commentary to the Arizona Capitol Times explaining the plight of several Maricopa County landowners who have been tied up in a legal battle with the state for the past three years over the rights to build on their land.
“We’re going to fight to get it back. But if we don’t, I’m not going to change anyway.” — Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, commenting on an order by Gov. Janet Napolitano that redirected money away from a task force focused on enforcing illegal immigration laws and toward a new task force that will track down tens of thousands of fugitives in Arizona.
“This was a law enforcement decision that was brought to me by the director of the Department of Public Safety.” — Gov. Janet Napolitano, commenting on her executive order that redirected money from Sheriff Joe’s illegal immigration task force.
“I’m not going to tell you what was discussed at the lunch.” — Gov. Janet Napolitano, commenting on her lunch meeting with Sheriff Joe prior to the announcement that her administration had redirected more than $1 million from his task force.
“Who is she?” — Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, responding to a reporter’s request for reaction to criticism leveled against him by Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox.
“President who?” — Rep. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, when asked if he was going to the McCain fundraiser May 27 to see President Bush.
“The budget last year offended me. I should have had it sent to Rules.” — Rep. Steve Yarbrough, R-Chandler, commenting after Democrats had used an obscure rule to have a measure they opposed sent to a committee for deliberation.
“No, he hasn’t. And he’s declining comment.” — Arizona Attorney General spokeswoman Andrea Esquer on whether Attorney General Terry Goddard, a Democrat superdelegate, had decided to endorse Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.
“I think the actions today, and frankly the actions of the end of last week, imply or suggest that the common courtesies afforded to members have gone away and that the relationship that needs to be in place here at the Legislature to get our work done is crumbling.” — Sen. Debbie McCune Davis, D-Phoenix, after the Republican-controlled Senate adjourned May 27, following several hours of recess and despite appeals from Democrats to finish deliberations on legislation.
“It’s absolutely wonderful that Tucson is controlling Phoenix for the foreseeable future.” — Rep. Jennifer Burns, R-Tucson, commenting on the University of Arizona’s involvement in NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander.
“In any campaign, the elected official needs to have confidence in the folks who are running the show. I’ve not been an FOJ (Friend of Janet), and I think she has the right to choose who she wants to choose.” — Chuck Coughlin, president and founder of the consulting firm HighGround, after Ziemba Waid Public Affairs took over the TIME Initiative campaign.
“My focus right now is on the budget, and we will worry about ballot measures (after).” — Senate President Tim Bee, commenting on a languishing measure that would allow voters to decide whether to amend the state Constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman.
“This is a defining issue for me. If I do not get an opportunity to vote on this referendum, I’ll be disappointed.” — Sen. Jack Harper, R-Surprise, commenting on the measure that would allow voters a chance this November to effectively ban gay marriage in Arizona.
“I’d say it’s pretty dicey. I think that’s a good word to use.” — Senate Majority Leader Thayer Verschoor, describing the prospects of leftover legislation as absenteeism hit his chamber.
“I put my hat in the ring, and here I am.”— Sen. Sylvia Allen, who replaced the late Sen. Jake Flake on the ballot in the upcoming election and took his seat for the remainder of the session after his death on June 8.
“I support the Arizona Tax Revolt, and you don’t see me using my office to promote it.” — Sen. Ron Gould, accusing the Arizona Department of Transportation of improperly promoting the TIME ballot measure.
“The media was in love with Obama, and in hate with Hillary — hands down.” — Gloria Steinem, a pioneering feminist, commenting on Sen. Hillary Clinton’s defeat in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.
“Will you be working on the budget?” — Sen. Jay Tibshraeny, R-Chandler, asking Senate President Tim Bee if he’ll be in town to attend negotiations on the state budget later in the week. Bee, though, was headed out of town for a fundraiser in Washington D.C. to raise money for his congressional campaign.
“It must be remembered that a lawman’s duty is to protect the innocent, as well as to apprehend the lawbreaker. It’s a difficult task, but one that is paramount to preserving our American way of life.” — Dan Saban, candidate for Maricopa County Sheriff, who wrote a commentary to the Arizona Capitol Times on June 6.
“Maybe it’s the one good thing about taking Thursdays off.” — Rep. Rich Crandall, R-Mesa, speaking about the high cost of gas and his daily commute to the Capitol.
“I told the majority leader (Rep. Tom Boone) that I’ve been with the majority of Republicans on every budget I’ve voted on down here. He wasn’t too happy with that.” — Rep. Steve Yarbrough, R-Chandler, commenting on the budget process this year and recalling last year’s budget vote, in which he and 21 of the other 32 House Republicans voted against a budget supported by leadership.
“I think what you have is an agency providing expertise, but they are not conducting the campaign or leading the campaign at all.” — Gov. Janet Napolitano, commenting on the Arizona Department of Transportation’s involvement with the TIME Initiative campaign.
“At the very essence, it’s a citizens’ initiative. You and I could take the same information and run our own ballot initiative.” — ADOT Director Victor Mendez, commenting on his department’s involvement with the TIME Initiative.
“It confirms my postulate that whatever happens in high school, happens at the Legislature.” — Rep. Pete Hershberger, R-Tucson, after his fellow Republicans walked out on a June 26 caucus when he and Rep. Jennifer Burns, R-Tucson, began to explain the budget bills they had helped negotiate.
“What’s your point, Sen. Gould, a question I’ve asked myself a number of times.” — Sen. Jim Waring, R-Phoenix, after Sen. Gould called for a point of order during Senate debate of the budget bills in the early morning hours of June 26.
“It’s the worst form of tax we could possibly use. It harms the poor and the unwise.” — Rep. Steve Yarbrough,
R-Chandler, speaking in opposition to a component of the budget that uses the State Lottery to repay $1 billion in bonds that will be sold to pay for the construction of new university buildings.
“It’s unfortunate we continue to have traitors among us in the Republican caucus.” — Rep. Warde Nichols, R-Gilbert, after several Republicans in the House and Senate voted for a budget that was opposed by most Republican lawmakers.
“We’re going to try to exact our pound of flesh out of it.” — Sen. Ron Gould, R-Lake Havasu City, commenting before a floor debate during which he and Sen. Jack Harper would spend four hours trying to block a vote on the state budget.
“These people are not interested in reasoned debate. Their name says it all." — Goldwater Institute attorney Clint Bolick, on members of By Any Means Necessary, a group accused of disrupting signature collections for the Arizona Civil Rights Initiative.
“Don’t come near me, turkey.” — Sen. Paula Aboud, D-Tucson, warning Sen. Jack Harper, R-Surprise, to keep his distance after Harper used a controversial tactic to cut her off during discussion and force a vote on a measure that will allow voters to decide whether to amend the state Constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman. Aboud and Sen. Ken Cheuvront, two openly gay senators, had tried to stop the passage of SCR1042
“There’s no difference between him and Gabby Giffords, other than party affiliation.” — Rep. Warde Nichols, R-Gilbert, criticizing Senate President Tim Bee for agreeing to a budget deal opposed by a vast majority of Republicans.
“I am extremely disappointed that it has melted down to this level.” — Senate President Tim Bee, R-Tucson, commenting after Senate Republicans used controversial tactics on the final night of the 2008 legislative session to force a vote on a proposal to amend the state Constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman.
“It appears he struck his wife one or more times. She sustained minor lacerations on the inside of one of her lips.” — Phoenix police spokesman Joel Tranter, commenting on the June 27 arrest of Rep. Mark DeSimone, D-Phoenix, on charges of domestic violence.
“He was in a very good position to keep that seat, and I think he would have.” House Minority Leader Phil Lopes, commenting on the arrest of Rep. Mark DeSimone, D-Phoenix. DeSimone had indicated he would remove his name from the ballot.
“If things really start deteriorating fast over the next couple months, I think it will happen sooner rather than later.” — House Majority Leader Tom Boone, speaking about the possibility of a special session to correct the budget approved by lawmakers in late June.
“The Republican Party is toasted. They simply don’t have the support that they once did.” — Political consultant Bob Grossfeld, president of The Media Guys, commenting on the advantage Democrats have going into the 2008 election cycle.
“Being an elected official is like standing naked upon a stage. People watch what you do and are sure to comment on every action you take. Your mistakes are broadcasted to the world, while your accomplishments may be silently approved but are more often ignored.” — Sen. Karen Johnson, R-Mesa, delivering a farewell speech on the Senate floo
Louder than the rest
The 2008 legislative session produced a fair share of memorable quotations — some conjuring laughter, some demanding further contemplation, and others that might evoke the same response as would nails across a blackboard.