Biggs Receives New Endorsements for CD5 Bid

With Congressman Matt Salmon’s retirement announcement last week and immediate endorsement of Senate President Andy Biggs (R-Gilbert), the race is on to secure more coveted endorsements.  As of today, Biggs has endorsements from East Valley leaders including: Gilbert Vice Mayor Jared Taylor, Queen Creek Councilwoman Emilena Turley, and Gilbert Councilman Victor Peterson.  Congressman Trent Franks, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Phoenix Councilman Sal DiCiccio, and Senators Sylvia Allen, Nancy Barto, Judy Burges, Debbie Lesko, Gail Griffin, Steve Yarbrough, David Farnsworth, John Kavanagh, and Steve Smith have all shared their support for Biggs as well. 

Though many assumed that Kirk Adams would run for the seat, Adams announced on Monday that he’ll be staying put for the time being.  Adams served in the State House, ran against Salmon for CD5 in 2012, and is now the Chief of Staff for Governor Ducey.  “As a lifelong resident of the district, former state elected representative, and father of six, I care deeply about the quality of our representation in Washington.  That’s why I join with my fellow voters in looking for a candidate with the capacity to lead and to wield influence on the biggest issues facing our country. It’s not enough to send someone from this district who says the right things but lacks the capacity to actually get it done. Washington is broken, and we need a candidate with who will lead and keep our country safe, create a job friendly economy, and protect the family.”  

It is rumored that Representative Justin Olson (R-Mesa) has said to his colleagues that he is no longer running to be the next Speaker of the House.  If true, this means it is nearly certain that he will run for CD 5 as well.    Though nine Senators have shared their endorsement of Biggs, that leaves plenty of others up for grabs. 

Firearms in Public Buildings Legislation Passes Senate

Legislation that would allow individuals with concealed carry permits to bring their weapons into unsecured public buildings passed the Senate 18-12.  The bill would overturn existing statute that allows buildings to be declared weapon free zones by posting a sign at the entrance and providing lockers for storage.   If the government agency does not want to allow guns, the will be able to put up metal detectors and provide storage.  “People who do not have CCW permits who are homicidal maniacs, robbers, rapists, killers and assaulters will enter that building,” bill sponsor Sen. John Kavanagh (R-Scottsdale) said.  If there are no metal detectors to keep them out, “we need some CCW permit holders in there for protection.”  Democrats opposed the measure based on the costs to the cities for putting up metal detectors and questions about whether the measure would be helpful in a crisis. “We don’t know if an individual who has a CCW permit has the technical skills to operate that instrument in a highly stressful situation,” said Sen. Martin Quezada (D-Phoenix).  The bill will now be heard in the House. 

Empowerment Scholarship Account Legislation Stalled in House

Legislation from Rep. Olson that would allow every child to attend private and parochial schools via an expanded voucher program known as “empowerment scholarship accounts” has hit a wall in the House.    Some Republicans are concerned with the message the bill would send to parents and voters right before the May 17th special election for Prop 123.  Rep. TJ Shope (R-Coolidge) said it is simply the wrong year to do it.   Though he has not taken a position, Governor Ducey’s spokesman Daniel Scarpinato commented that he would be concerned with any legislation that would divert attention or take votes away from Prop 123.  “The governor has made it very clear that the thing he’s focused on every day is the effort that’s on the ballot. It’s his top priority,” said Scarpinato. 

Respected Advocate and Former Tempe Lawmaker Passed Away

Former East Valley lawmaker Laura Knaperek passed away on Thursday.  Laura served in the House from 1995-2006 where she passionately advocated for children, education, and health care.  Most recently, Knaperek helped passed Prop 303 (Right to Try) which allowed terminally ill patients to use drugs that have not yet received FDA approval.