VOL. 17 ISSUE NO. 12   |   MARCH 23 – 29, 2011


Barto’s canned response inflames constituents

‘The unintended consequences from passage of the bills I opposed contain unacceptably high tradeoffs …’

nancy bartoPHOENIX – On March 17, Rep. Nancy Barto, R-Dist. 7, followed up her March 8 vote against SB 1433, a bill aimed at nullification of unconstitutional federal legislation, by, once again, aligning herself with Senate Democrats to vote down four out of five anti-illegal immigration bills.

All five bills: SB 1308, interstate compact, birth certificates; SB 1309, SB 1309, criteria for Arizona citizenship; SB 1405, hospital admissions, restrictions; SB 1407, schools, data – noncitizen students, (Barto voted yes); and SB 1611, immigration omnibus, failed the third read.

Senate President Russell Pearce, R-Dist. 18, expressed disappointment afterwards, stating their constituents elected them to do something about illegal immigration and this was their opportunity.

On March 17, however, a letter forwarded to senators by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce may have been the catalyst that swayed some Republicans to vote with the Democrats on bills relating to illegal immigration.

The letter was signed by presidents, vice presidents, chairmen, CEOs, managing partners and directors of numerous Arizona corporations that are advocates of illegal immigration.

The letter stated, “While we recognize the desire for states like Arizona to fill the leadership vacuum left by federal inaction on immigration, we strongly believe it is unwise for the legislature to pass any additional immigration legislation, including any measures leaving the determination of citizenship to the state.

“We agree with you that our borders must be protected first and now. We also believe that market-driven immigration policies can and should be developed by the federal government that will sustain America’s status as a magnet for the world’s most talented and hard-working people and preserve our ability to compete in the global economy.”

The letter claims there are representatives in the U.S. Congress introducing legislation “aimed at amending the 14th Amendment to ‘deny birthright citizenship’ to those born to individuals living in the U.S. illegally.”

It then goes on to say, “Arizona’s lawmakers and citizens are right to be concerned about illegal immigration. But we must acknowledge that when Arizona goes it alone on this issue, unintended consequences inevitably occur.”

“Let us be clear:” the letter continues with underlining for emphasis, “our dissension with legislative action on the state level does not translate to our being ‘pro-illegal immigration.”

It urges senators to instead join with them “in pressing the federal government for meaningful immigration reform,” adding, “Together we can get results.”

The March 17 cover letter from Glenn Hamer, president/CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, joined by Robert Mills, president of Flagstaff Forty; Todd Sanders, president of the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce; Thomas Franz, president/CEO of Greater Phoenix Leadership; and Ronald Shoopman, president of Southern Arizona Leadership Council, directly addressed the final vote coming up that afternoon on the five bills, identified by number.

Hamer’s letter reurged the exact same points, underlined the same line about how their dissension with legislative action does not translate to their being pro-illegal immigration, and concluded with, “We look forward to working with you in pressing the federal government for meaningful immigration reform, and urge your vote against the five immigration bills.”

The Republican Senators who joined Barto in voting against the anti-illegal immigration bills included: Rich Crandall, Dist. 19; Adam Driggs, Dist. 11; Linda Gray, Dist.10; John McComish, R-20; Michele Reagan, Dist. 8; Majority Whip Steve Pierce, Dist. 1; John Nelson, Dist. 12; and Steve Yarborough, Dist. 21.

Sen. Frank Antenori, R-Dist. 30, voted against SB 1308 and SB 1309, while Sen. Sylvia Allen, R-Dist. 4, voted against SB 1611.

However, after researching the campaign contributions of the 60 or so who signed the chamber’s letter, it appears to be a who’s who of campaign contributors to what many have labeled as RINO (Republican in name only) Republicans.

For example, Hamer donated to Crandall and Nelson. Thomas donated to Driggs, Reagan, Nelson and Crandall.

Then there’s Reginald Ballantyne, senior corporate officer of Vanguard Health Systems, who donated to Barto and Nelson.

Earl Petznick, president of Northside Hay Company, donated to Pierce.

Steven Wheeler, executive vice president of APS, donated to Driggs.

Donald Budinger, president of the Rodel Foundation, donated to Reagan, Driggs and Crandall.

Linda Hunt, president of St. Joseph’s Hospital, supported Reagan and Driggs.

Jim Click, owner of Jim Click Dealerships, supported Tony Bouie’s senate run. Readers may recall, Bouie was the life-long Democrat who registered as a Republican five days before registering to run in District 6.

Click also opposed the E-verify bill that passed a few years ago.

Debbie Johnson, president/CEO of the Arizona Hotel and Lodging Association, supported Reagan, as did Shelly Esque, an executive with Intel Corp.

Vince Roig, chairman of board of the Helios Education Foundation, donated to Nelson, Driggs and Crandall.

Michael Kennedy, an attorney with Gallagher and Kennedy, supported Reagan, Nelson and Crandall.

Doug Pruitt, chairman and CEO of Sundt, donated to Driggs.

Marty Laurel, vice president of Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Arizona, donated to Barto.

Lee Hanley, CEO/chairman of Vestar Development, donated to Crandall, Driggs and Reagan.

William Coats, president of the Leona Group, supported McComish.

Thomas Sadvary, executive vice president of Scottsdale Healthcare supported Barto and Reagan. He also donated to Rep. Heather Carter’s, R-Dist., campaign.

Peter Fine, president and CEO of Banner Health, supported Barto and Crandall.

John Graham, president of Sunbelt Holdings, supported Reagan, Driggs and Crandall.

Drew Brown, chairman of DMB Associates, donated to Reagan, Driggs, Nelson and Crandall.

Robert Delgado, president/CEO of Hensley & Company, as in Cindy Hensley McCain, supported, Barto, Driggs, Reagan, McComish and Crandall.

Philip Francis, CEO of PetsMart, supported Crandall. He also donated $5,000 to the Arizona Democratic Party.

Flagstaff Forty donated $10,444 to the Yes on 100 campaign to raise Arizona’s sales tax by one cent.

Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Arizona, the Leona Group and Sundt donated $10,000 each, while Scottsdale Healthcare kicked in $25,000, for the sales tax increase.

The Arizona Chamber of Commerce donated $130,000 toward the $2.3 million campaign to raise our sales tax.

Many other signers of the chamber letter also tossed in substantial contributions to raise our sales tax through Prop. 100.

And, by pointing out how unintended consequences inevitably will occur, without any specificity, it sounds as though the signers of the letter were making a thinly veiled threat to senators that their main source of campaign contributions could dry up as a result.

Barto, meanwhile, has been responding to angry constituents.

One woman wrote, “It was a sad day for Arizona when our senators stand with Mexico and NOT with the people of Arizona … Our state is broke, the cartels are already here and too many of you sat on your hands and gave this state over to these criminals. When are you going to start protecting me, a legal citizen of Arizona?”

A District 7 Precinct Committeeman wrote to say she called Barto’s office that morning urging her to support the bills and saw that Barto voted against four of them. She stated, “I am beyond words for your voting record. I have heard in the past that you are not a true conservative. I gave you the benefit of the doubt. However, I now see that the rumors are truth. You have a conservative constituency and yet you insist on voting your progressive ideology … I will go to work now to make sure you are voted out of office in 2012.”

Barto sent the same defensive, testy, canned response to all, beginning with, “Did you read the bills?”

She stated, “In my duties as an elected state senator I attempt to judge each piece of legislation on its merits, not as an ideologue who is bullied into voting for something that either will not have the intended outcome, is unconstitutional or both or that abridges the rights of Arizona citizens.”

Barto used boldface and italics to emphasize specific words and phrases.

Further going on the defensive, Barto exclaimed, “My main concern is for the rights of citizens – not illegal immigrants!” and stated, “The unintended consequences from passage of the bills I opposed contain unacceptably high tradeoffs of those rights in order to address this issue.”

In conclusion, Barto stated, “As I explained on the floor, I agree with the goals of the bills and have supported employer sanctions and 1070 among numerous other pieces of immigration legislation over the years. Having said that, not all immigration bills, despite the wishful thinking of some, are created equal.”

While Barto questions whether her constituents have read the bills, she doesn’t state that she herself has actually read them.

Barto neither specified what she found objectionable about the bills nor did she offer any amendments. 

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