In a time of extreme partisanship, national division, and increasing intolerance toward others, Scottsdale Representative Jay Lawrence is proposing a bill, HB2032, which would INCREASE the animosity and tribalism in our local communities by requiring local elections to be partisan. He feels there is no middle ground, that everything should be partisan – even potholes (which he thinks can only be fixed by Republicans). Is this the kind of thinking we need from our community leaders?
His fear is that liberals will “sneak in to office.” Why, because it’s difficult to find out a person’s party affiliation? He thinks that all positions in the city should be filled by conservative Republicans. Making decisions inside an echo chamber is a terrible idea. This has been proven so many times I don’t need to repeat it, but I will.
He wants people to say: “Here’s who I am and here’s what I believe.” And he thinks one’s identification with a political party is what does that; people are as simple as being a Democrat or a Republican, with no middle ground or nuance in between. Now that is scary. The world better not be that black and white, or we are all in serious trouble. We need leaders who will bring us together, not drive us further apart.
Jay insists: “There are certain things a Republican believes.” I would love to have a discussion with Jay about what he thinks those things are. I’m clear on what Jay believes, having seen his voting record and the bills he has proposed. He works for an employer who he continually disparages, believes that women deserve no constitutional rights other than the right to vote (at least I’m hoping he approves of the 19th Amendment), that private schools should be able to use public tax dollars to make profits with no oversight, that every citizen should have access to any type of weapon with no regulations, and that it’s OK to deprive poor children of health care and other necessary services to keep taxes for corporations low. Jay is crystal clear about who he is.
He says: “Lack of a label allows people to get elected who do not represent the people who put them in office.” I strongly disagree. The last thing we need is more labels. I think if many of the people who voted for Jay knew the things he stands for with his Republican label, he would not be re-elected so easily. He wants voters to identify the “true conservatives.” I wonder how Jay defines “true conservative,” and why he feels that is what best describes Scottsdale voters? Someone who wants to go back to America during slavery and before women had the right to vote or exist separately from their husbands, and conserve the system of inequality and inhumanity? Jay, are you this kind of “true conservative?” I don’t believe the majority of voters in Scottsdale, regardless of party, share these views with you.
Representative Lawrence thinks Scottsdale is a great example of needing to be more partisan because of the DDC/Desert Edge Project. He says a “liberal cadre” wants it built. Almost everyone on the Desert Edge team is a Republican, and many of the loudest protesters are Democrats. This is a patently false statement that can only further incite and divide people. Desert Edge is actually a perfect example of a nonpartisan local issue. If Jay was more connected to the community he tries to represent, he would understand that. He says a partisan council would never approve the plan. All seven members of the City Council, including the mayor, are Republicans. Jay Lawrence wants candidates who will “declare their loyalty to Trump.” An oath of loyalty to Trump before one can run for a city council position. Does anyone else find this disturbing?
— Tammy Caputi lives in Scottsdale with her husband and three children. She is the president and owner of Yale Electric West, an electrical supply business located in Scottsdale.
The views expressed in guest commentaries are those of the author and are not the views of the Arizona Capitol Times.