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Rep. Paul Mosley on lawmaker cousins and repealing compulsory education

Cap Times Q&A

Freshman Republican Rep. Paul Mosley of Lake Havasu City has a big family.

Besides his wife and large crop of children, he says he is related to everyone in the Legislature.

He and his wife Brynley have seven kids, all under the age of 10: Sam, Cosette and Lydia, who are twins, Eliza Jane, Brielle, Portia and his youngest, David Teancum, who was born right at the start of the Legislative session.

And as a genealogy enthusiast – he even has a genealogy app on his phone – he traced his family tree back to more than a half-dozen lawmakers at the Capitol.

Rep. Paul Mosley, R-Lake Havasu City (Photo by Rachel Leingang, Arizona Capitol Times)

Rep. Paul Mosley, R-Lake Havasu City (Photo by Rachel Leingang, Arizona Capitol Times)

Why’d you decide to run for office? You hadn’t sought any public office before, right?

Correct. My wife encouraged me to run after finding out there was an open sea. And she said it would be easy because we have a house in Phoenix. We have two houses here, actually, but they’re both rented out so I’m staying with my parents.

Was she right? Was it easy?

I won first place in my election, which I was very happy about. But I did invest a lot of time and money in coming down to Phoenix to get the support I needed to win the election.

Which has been harder: running for office or being in office?

I mean, I was going out for days and pounding signs into the ground – I had 300 signs that were four-foot by four-foot – in the second largest geographic district in the state. I would say this is much more enjoyable than pounding signs. But that was a necessary evil to get name recognition, and it worked.

What’d you think of your first hundred days?

I love every bit of this political environment. I love working votes, and killing bad bills, and working with the 90 legislators. It’s fun. Every day is different. I get to meet with special interests, and as soon as they sit down I sometimes tell them I’m a no vote. And they ask, can we talk to you?’ And I say well, you’re here aren’t you. So I listen to everyone and I respect everyone and I want to become friends and be an open ear to everyone. But at the same time I need to respect why I was elected, which is to shrink the size of government, to repeal more legislation than we pass, which I found is pretty much impossible.

I used to always ask candidates, If you could repeal one law, what would it be? And they usually gave me a blank stare.

The bill that I passed is a repeal. It repeals the isobutanol limit in gasoline. It’s an additive in fuels. All of our fuels have ethanol in them. And what isobutanol does, it makes it so the ethanol is less harmful to an engine. Ethanol eats car parts, it’s bad for cars to sit with ethanol in the tank. So people with classic cars want this isobutanol.

What else would you like to repeal?

The number one thing I would like to repeal is the law on compulsory education.  And let me explain to make it very clear why I want to repeal this. When my son was five in kindergarten, he missed 18 days. My son is a very brilliant kid, he gets straight As. The truancy officer called and said, “Hey, your kid missed 18 days.” And I said “So what? He’s five.” The law is compulsory education from six to 16. And he’s like, “Well, this is just a courtesy call.” And I was actually pretty upset about getting a call from a policeman, because if I remember correctly, it’s a $400 fine and a misdemeanor for the parent. Whether the absences are excused or not. All 18 of these days were excused. The schools get their funding on daily attendance. This is why I believe the law is not a good law. Because education used to be a privilege. People used to believe getting an education was something you had to be privileged to get, that you had to work hard to get. Now we basically force it down everybody’s throats. There are ways around it, of course. Arizona has some of the most lax homeschool laws. You just sign a waiver. But most parents aren’t going to do that. I believe education is still a privilege, and the kids who don’t want to be there are a larger distraction to the kids who do want to be there. We’re telling kids they have to go to school, and we put fences around the schools to protect them now, and we give them a meal or two and sometimes send a backpack of food home with them. So now schools are not only tasked with educating our children, but also feeding our children. What happened to the personal responsibility of a parent to feed and educate their kids?

So do you homeschool?

We homeschool our children but we will be putting them back in school because we have seven and it’s difficult for my wife while I’m gone at the Capitol. She doesn’t get a break. So they will be enrolled in school, my wife has told me, in the fall.

You’ve got seven young kids and you live three hours from Phoenix. I’m surprised your wife encouraged you to run for office.

I always tell people that if I wanted to make a difference in the lives of my children, I had to do it now while they’re young. If I ran after they’re grown up, what kind of difference could I make?

You’re big on genealogy too. I remember you showed me your genealogy app and said you’re related to all the Latter-day Saints lawmakers.

No, I’m related to all the lawmakers. But I can trace how I’m related to the Mormon lawmakers. I’m third cousins two times removed from David Farnsworth. I’m fifth cousins one time removed from Warren Petersen. Sixth cousin one time removed from both Sylvia Allen and Rusty Bowers. Seventh cousin to Michelle Udall. Eighth cousin one time removed from Doug Coleman, who is now addicted to Relative Finder now that I showed him it. Bob Worsley is my ninth cousin once removed. And Drew John is my tenth cousin.

And you still haven’t got Eddie Farnsworth to tell you how you’re related?

It’s not “tell me.” He has to log on at the same time and connect with me. But no. He doesn’t want to know how we’re related.


  1. Compulsory education was a grave error. As Paul Mosley says, it crowds schools with children who don’t want to be there. It also reduces the incentives of everybody to make school a place where children want to learn. Lastly, it wastes an enormous amount of time. When children are motivated to learn, they do so very quickly. Sudbury Valley reports that it is common for children to learn six years worth of arithmetic in just 20 hours. If children learn that much, they’re well ahead of most high school graduates, and they can then work on more advanced skills, from a solid foundation.

    Instead, most children learn to hate and/or fear math. We’ve been doing it wrong, trying to force-feed education to children who are actually hard-wired to learn in a more natural, agreeable fashion.

  2. Terry:
    smart children do not learn well in captivity.
    With good reason.

    Nor should they.

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