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Leo Biasiucci: Turned green to red upon reflection

Rep. Leo Biasiucci (R-Lake Havasu) PHOTO BY KATIE CAMPBELL/ARIZONA CAPITOL TIMES

Rep. Leo Biasiucci (R-

The state has given so much to Rep. Leo Biasiucci, and now, he says it’s his turn to give back.

The freshman Republican from Legislative District 5 said that’s what motivated him to run for office, a decision that led to the ouster of now former Rep. Paul Mosley.

This hasn’t been his first foray into public service, though. He’s been involved in his native Lake Havasu City for years, so much so that he’s been named among the city’s top 30 under 40.

Of course, his run for the state Legislature didn’t hurt in that regard.

“Running for office is kind of a big deal,” he said.

What made you run for the House?

For me, it was about the fact that I was born and raised in Lake Havasu City. … Really, I wanted to have an opportunity to give back to the state. The state’s given me so much. The city’s given me so much, the county. So, it’s always been a dream of mine to give back. It came to a point where I thought I could represent our district well, and I could be a great team player with Gina [Rep. Regina Cobb] and Sonny [Sen. Sonny Borrelli].

You had a somewhat rocky primary, or rather the incumbent you defeated did. Did that color your experience running for office?

No. I mean I knew what it was getting into politics, what it involves. I just made sure to stay my course, to stick to my beliefs, what I wanted to do to help my district, what I wanted to do to help the state of Arizona. I didn’t really get thrown off by any of that stuff. That was one thing I’ve always learned: Just concentrate on what you want to do, what your goals are, your core beliefs, and just drown out all the other noise.

Mosley brought the issue of legislative immunity to the forefront, and now the governor has called for that privilege to be nixed. What do you think of that?

Bottom line: If you commit a crime, you still can be prosecuted after the Legislature is over. So, it has its purpose. You have people who might have abused it or don’t understand how it worked, and unfortunately, that is causing the issue now. I think there’s a way to figure this out and make sure that it’s still in place but you have that knowledge – what is it for, what is it meant for, what is it not meant for – and everyone can be happy.

You once ran for office as Green Party candidate. What made you want to switch to the GOP?

I was very new to politics when I got involved before, so I didn’t understand a lot of things in regards to where I stood, where my beliefs were. And really when I started to run is when I started to dive into politics. It really came down to my core beliefs. I was born into a strict Italian Catholic family. I’m pro-life. I’m a believer of you work hard, you’ll succeed in this life and this country. Gun owner, NRA member. So when I sat there and started to look at who I was and what my beliefs were, it fell in line with the Republican Party easily. And I think that happens. It takes you to really understand politics to understand where you stand. And sometimes your ideas change. Do I believe in protecting our water resources? Let’s say that falls under the Green Party. Of course. But my core beliefs are of the Republican mindset.

Is there any principle that you’ve held onto from the Green Party?

Generally speaking as human beings, we all want to protect our planet. We want to make sure that we leave this planet, that it’s safe and it’s clean for everybody else. I don’t think that ever changes. I think that the way we go about it is really the fundamental difference here. Being Republican, I still have my conservative values. I believe in less regulation, but we don’t want to be pouring nuclear waste into our lakes and rivers. That’s just something I think everybody can agree on. That’s the biggest thing: making sure we’re doing what we can to protect this planet.

You represent a rural area, and there’s always been this metro-rural divide in Arizona. What’s something you think folks in metro Phoenix misunderstand about rural Arizona?

I’m always going to fight for rural first. That’s my district. Those are my constituents. Those are the ones who voted me in. So, I need to worry about the growth in our area and make sure that we’re protected.

They’re trying to do what’s in the best interest of the metro areas. They understand the growth is going to be faster and larger in the metro areas. So, is the argument right that they need water more than we do? That makes sense to them. But at the same time, they need to understand we’re worried about our growth, about our future, about where we’re going to be in the rural areas. … We’ve all got to work together. We’ve all got to respect what our needs are in both areas and find a compromise to make it work.

You’ve been asked about this before: You faced charges of computer program tampering back in the day. I know you’ve said that’s in past, but can I ask what exactly the story is there?

It’s not even an issue.

What’s your number one priority this session?

Honestly, water is one of my biggest [priorities] right now, and I think everybody understands that. … And my first session is about learning. It’s about understanding the process, understanding how things work down here at the Capitol.

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