October 26, 2009
Host: Ted Simons
- Will Humble, Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, provides an update on the H1N1 virus and the vaccine. He’ll also talk about his trip to Washington, D.C. to advocate for changes to the nation’s food stamps program.
- Will Humble - Director, Arizona Department of Health Services
Richard Ruelas: Last week, the director of Arizona's department of health services was in Washington D.C. try to go convince federal officials to impose nutrition standards on what people can buy with food stamps. Now, DHS director Will Humble is back in Arizona and back in our studio. He also has the latest on the H1N1 virus and his efforts to reform our nation's food stamps program. Thanks for joining us.
Will Humble: Good evening, thanks.
Richard Ruelas: I don't know where to start. Let's start with the H1N1 because I expected more trouble and more people being turned away over the weekend as they (inaudible) --
Will Humble: Yes.
Richard Ruelas: -- only to a select group of people.
Will Humble: Right, because we've only really received about 6% of the vaccine that we expect to receive throughout the whole response, we're really still focusing that initial vaccine on folks with chronic medical conditions, the higher risk kinds of people. And so the vaccine clinics you saw over the weekend were geared toward those high-risk groups. Kids with complicated medical conditions, adults with complicated medical conditions caregivers of infants and the like. And by and large, the folks that showed up at the vaccine clinics were high risk categories and so they qualified and the ones that didn't qualify, actually, we're told, you know, could you wait a couple of weeks? And they would step out of line.
Richard Ruelas: But did you expect it would be a little more troublesome than what we had?
Will Humble: No, I really didn't. because really the vast majority of folks in any kind of an Public health emergency or pretty well any kind of an emergency, folks tend to stick together and understand their place in the response and are willing to help out. So I really expected exactly what we saw, which is a lot of cooperation and smooth sailing. So, you know, one of the things We're looking forward to is getting a lot more vaccine in the next few weeks. I know it sounds like a broken record because we were optimistic we'd have a lot more vaccine by now, but not there yet. And still going after the folks with the chronic medical Conditions. But we'll get to you, we'll get there.
Richard Ruelas: Are we worried yet? are you worried yet about the slow production of the vaccine?
Will Humble: Well, no, I'm not worried about it. you know, to some extent, I think what's happening here is that the CDC got out in front of this and they were giving some optimistic messaging which made it sound like here comes the vaccine in mid October, but that relied on really optimistic production assumptions from the vaccine manufacturers and they had problems with filling and capping and production line issues throughout the process and things didn't go A, B, C, D E, perfectly. And so I think what we're seeing, the fact that things didn't go perfectly in the manufacturing process to deliver on time the full load that CDC had been talking about. So that's kind of -- we're a victim, I think CDC is, of putting expectations out there that maybe they couldn't meet. Or they weren't sure they could meet.
Richard Ruelas: Like a contractor tells us that we'll be done in a may.
Will Humble: The fact is they do rely on contractor information.
Richard Ruelas: We can mark on the calendars -- when would you be worried if we didn't have the full dosages?
Will Humble: I'm never going to be worried I'm more interested in staying flexible and that's the message we give out to the public health system and the public at large. We need to be flexible and be able to adjust because it's going to throw some curves. So far, the virus hasn't changed markedly. We're in good shape there. We're fortunate we have a vaccine. We're going to have 200 million doses of vaccine nationally and we'll be able to cover. Everybody that wants to get a vaccine eventually just that it may not happen until December or January and we have to stay focused on the high-risk populations and throughout November, kids.
Richard Ruelas: And you mentioned people who want the vaccine. Is the state worried about those who believe this is a conspiracy. Or some sort of --
Will Humble: You know, that's a good question. And I always tell my staff this. Look, the thing we have control over in terms of the public health system is removing barriers and logistical problems for folks who want to get the vaccine. So the best use of our time is to make it easy for folks who do want to get the vaccine so they can get it. Make it convenient in time and space, administratively, and logistically. That's the best use of our time. If we start spending our time convincing a handful of people who think there's a problem with the vaccine, that's time we could have spent removing the logistical barriers for those who are waiting for it.
Richard Ruelas: The vaccine sells itself. D.C. trip, what made you want to go? This was your initiative, right?
Will Humble: Yes. So here's the thing. In October -- October 1st, we transitioned our state WIC program -- women, children and infants program -- to a brand new menu. Which is much healthier than the menu we had under the WIC, program for a number of years. We cut out a lot of the cheese and high-calorie stuff and sugar drinks and transitioned it more to fruit and vegetables and healthier blend of food products and we were so successful, I started to think, the food stamp program is three times bigger than WIC. it's called SNAP NOW. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. But it's three times bigger than WIC. There's a lot of groceries going onto folks' shelves that were not really high-quality foods And so the fact of the matter is we've got an obesity epidemic in this country that gets worse every single year. It's getting worse across the country and getting worse every year that passes. we've got to do something to make a dent in this obesity epidemic and we've got a public health intervention right at our fingertips with the SNAP, or Food stamp program. We need to set a criteria so that folks have a clear understanding of what's a healthy food and what's not a healthy food. And we'll buy you a healthy food but if you want a candy bar or a donut that has little nutritional value, that has to come out of your pocket. By doing that, we'll start moving consumer choices, at least those in the food stamp program, toward healthier foods. Therefore, making a dent in the obesity epidemic.
Richard Ruelas: It doesn't seem that radical of an idea, but you're getting pushback already?
Will Humble: Well, the reception in D.C. was polite. They were interested in what we had to say. The USDA, they had other fish to fry you could tell.
Richard Ruelas: That chemically laden fish.
Will Humble: I'm not sure there's a lot of folks who want to take on the food processing lobby. The folks who make the foods that aren't good for you. But we've got to do something that makes good common sense. This is like you just said, this Is really a no-brainer. It's not rocket science. We're -- you know, the food stamp program is delivering a lot of groceries to Arizona shelves and we're paying for those as taxpayers and the obesity epidemic is costing a fortune in terms of Medicare and Medicaid. And in terms of public health and quality of life. All we have to do is set criteria and we can make a dent in this thing. By switching over to a healthier menu, that's not going to do it in and of itself, but it's a pretty good start and we can implement in a short period of time.
Richard Ruelas: Arizona has done a little bit with WIC. Has there been a response from customers saying they miss some of the processed food?
Will Humble: Our focus groups say the same thing. Moms want to know what they can do with these new foods. I've never made garbanzo beans. I don't know what to do with that. And so we're focusing a lot of effort in setting up recipes. So parents can present the spinach and beans in a way that kids will eat it.
Richard Ruelas: We'll look for that on the "Horizon" website, possibly. Director Humble, thanks for joining us this evening.
Will Humble: Thanks.
- State Senator Russell Pearce (R) discusses his request for a special session to deal with illegal immigration.
- Russell Pearce, State Senator
Richard Ruelas: Good evening and welcome to "Horizon." I'm Richard Ruelas filling in for Ted Simons. In today's headlines, a Pinal County drug trafficking organization is out of business. It's the result of an eight-month investigation by the federal drug enforcement administration, the Arizona Attorney General and the Pinal county Sheriff's Office. Details were released at a press conference this morning. ... Officials say the investigation led to 21 indictments, 13 arrests, and the seizure of nearly 4,000 pounds of marijuana and more than $400,000 in cash. Last week, law enforcement Officials gathered at the state Capitol to support a special 2 Session on illegal immigration. Leading the charge is state Senator Russell Pearce, who joins me now to talk about his Push for new state laws to fight Illegal immigration. Not your first fight doing so Senator Pearce.
Russell Pearce: No.
Richard Ruelas: Thanks for joining us this Evening.
Russell Pearce: No, it's not. It's not a new state law. It's just removing the political Handcuffs from law enforcement That prevent them from doing the Job they've always (inaudible) To do.
Richard Ruelas: I want to get to what the Special session would cover and The three-pronged approach you Mentioned during the news Conference, but first, I have to Ask you, are you going to be the New head of the department of Public safety?
Russell Pearce: You know, it's certainly an Honor to be considered for such A position. There's some impediments to do That. The governor would have to hold The position open. Any other elected official you C=can resign and take another Position. With the legislature, the way it's worded, I would think That's difficult to do.
Richard Ruelas: Meaning you'd have to resign And the job would have to be Vacant for I think up to a year?
Russell Pearce: No, my term has to be filled. I would have to finish this term before I could take that Position. That was the case -- beyond That, I love what I do now. I mean, the battle is great. We have a huge deficit. Major challenges in the state. We have states' rights under Attack every day. I'm part of a liberty caucus That is trying to focus on States' rights and recognize That the sovereignty of each State is paramount and created By our founders in the Constitution and recognized In -- you know, in family values And second amendment rights and limited government. The things that kind of our Country is founded on and our job is to protect life, liberty and property. Not give you stuff. And I'm focusing on major, major issues, I think. And work with groups all across the nation and so it would be Hard to step away from that battle that I think is critical to the survival of this Republic. It doesn't mean there's not other jobs you can do and it doesn't mean there's not people That could fill this job just as well.
Richard Ruelas: Is it a job that you would Like? I mean, you've been in law Enforcement much of your life.
Russell Pearce: I have. You know, out of fairness, it's A job that's appealing, I have To admit. I mean, I at one point was going To run for sheriff of Maricopa County. You can't get law enforcement Out of your system. I have two boys in law Enforcement and I was at Sheriff's office and the former Chief deputy. I mean, tent city was one of the Things I helped bring online and, in fact, initiated, going And taking the R and Questionable movies out of the Prison and giving them movies That I think are more appealing To the clientele.
Richard Ruelas: (Inaudible).
Russell Pearce: Disney, G-rated and movies That helped people with an Entrepreneurial capitalist kind Of go out and work hard and you Can make something out of yourself. And part of many, many major initiatives, both statewide and otherwise in law enforcement. So there's battles and I love Law enforcement and work hard and I think public safety is our Number one responsibility in government. To protect, again, your life, liberty and your property. That's government's number one Role and so it's always been something near and dear to me.
Richard Ruelas: Do you think the Department of Public Safety could do more Or -- and if you thought about taking the job, under your watch, would it do more about Illegal immigration?
Russell Pearce: I think they have a major role. Again, once they cross the border illegally, it's our neighborhood, it's our healthcare system, it's our Education system. It's our criminal justice System. They're our citizens and we have A constitutional right to expect The laws to be enforced. And it's law enforcement's duty not to sit on the sidelines and Be a spectator, and be in the Front of that battle and Preserving the liberties. And we're a nation of laws. The rule of law does matter and You want to do it -- like I tell People all the time. We have an obligation as elected Officials to enforce the law. With compassion. But without apology. I don't apologize for Recognizing the damage to America. I just was attending a couple Days ago another memorial service by Shane -- for Shane Figuerro, who was killed by illegal aliens. Phoenix police officers, they hung the sign on a lamppost on Rosier and 19th. And it brings it back and I've attended the funeral of officer Adkins and the funeral of Officer earthly and my heart Breaks every time. And citizens -- Chris miller and The mom from Gilbert who was Killed by an illegal alien Fleeing from Mesa P.D. And the list goes on. And Officer Glidewell, who got shot in the chest. My own son shot three times by An illegal alien while executing homicide watch for people Involved in drug trafficking. And even if you take the good People, so-called, that are here Still breaking the law, just After jobs -- not all of them Are criminals in terms of a culpability. They don't come here to be really bad guys and I understand that. But still, they're taking jobs From the Americans and Suppressing wages. We need to stand up for the American worker. 26-year high in unemployment. Record foreclosure of houses. We're a nation of laws and I demand those laws be honored and supported and enforced.
Richard Ruelas: Last thing on the DPS. Under your watch, you would envision the DPS being as aggressive as we see the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office?
Russell Pearce: Well, everybody has their Style. I just believe the laws ought to Be enforced and that's one Traffic stop at a time. I just believe we don't turn a Blind eye. When you have a legitimate Contact, like any other crime. You have a legitimate contact And it leads to information that Would lead you to believe There's other violation of law You investigate those.
Richard Ruelas: (Inaudible).
Russell Pearce: And you reach to the point of Probable cause, you arrest. Well, not entirely. I think DPS and I've talked to The current director and I think They've stepped up a long way And I think the get 'em program Which I've been the champion of Both when it was started under Governor Symington. In the last four to five years I've made major efforts to improve and expand that program going after both illegal aliens that are here illegally Involved in criminal activity. Like the ones you just had with my good friend Paul Babeu, the Drug trafficking and home Invasions. Arizona is number two in Kidnappings in the world and carjackings and enough is enough. And so there's more we can do. There's always more we can do and that's what I advocate. The dignity. That we don't sit on the Sidelines. We can't be a spectator to the Destruction of our neighborhoods Or the destruction of the rule Of law. And we do it -- I hope I never Sound mean spirited about it. I'm just firm. I know right. I know my duties and I have an Oath of office and that's to enforce the law and defend the Constitution and I do it without apology. And I demand that others do it Too if they're in that position. Or don't take the oath.
Richard Ruelas: Given today's bust that we saw, what looked like a major marijuana operation, the law Enforcement busted today and Given the limited resources of Law enforcement, where do you Think the attention should be Versus, say, a carwash versus a marijuana bust?
Russell Pearce: Well, see, that's the left Loves to use that carwash Landscaper. The truth is, you know, the guy that killed officer earthly, ok The guy that shot officer Glidewell. The guy that killed officer -- You know, [inaudible], what kind of jobs do you think they had? Where do we wait? Do we wait until they kill somebody before we act? What about they're illegal? What part of illegal do people not understand? We allow more people in this Country legally than every other combined civilized nation. Every other combined civilized nation. We allowed 1.4 million into the Country legally last year. There has to be limits. And you have to come here the right way. We have a right to know. We have reports from the FBI. I have them sitting on my desk about terrorist groups crossing that border coming into the Country. Do we wait until they destroy America before we act? And again, we're a nation of laws.
Richard Ruelas: I want to get to the special Session, but you mentioned that Only a certain percentage are -- Come over here with malicious intent, a criminal element.
Russell Pearce: [inaudible]
Richard Ruelas: Right, you mentioned.
Russell Pearce: One million gang members according to the FBI. Most of them illegal aliens.
Richard Ruelas: Is there something inherent in those who are, say, working in the carwash/landscaping job? Is there something that makes them more prone to criminal activity, in your opinion?
Russell Pearce: Well, I think when you start off breaking the law, and that's what you're doing. When you have disrespect for our laws and cross the border clearly it makes it more prone. Does the shoplifter, is he more prone to commit a burglary once He's willing to steal? Absolutely.
Richard Ruelas: Ok.
Russell Pearce: So certainly, there's a direct correlation. The nexus is there. But again, I'm cautious to make every one of those folks sound like they're really a bad guy. Some of them are probably as good of a neighbor as you can ask for. But you still can't break my laws. We have a way to come to America and that's the legal way, the right way and I accept no other way.
Richard Ruelas: Speaking of laws, you want a three-prong approach to Immigration enforcement, a special session? How likely do you see a special session?
Russell Pearce: Let me be fair to the governor's office who I've had a lot of contact on this, and they're very supportive of doing something. It might be more prudent to wait until we're in regular session when everybody is there. You know, because I don't have a lot of votes to spare. I have the votes in both the house and the senate, I believe. But not a lot of votes to spare. If you have a special where people are still on vacation and people are gone and you miss a vote or two, it could have an impact. I'm willing to wait and maybe either the first week put this bill out. I'm going to drop a citizens' initiative to make sure if something does happens, the citizens have the last say. And we know they'll pass this BY 75-85%. We know that. And then we'll have the last say and again, sanctuary policies -- that's what we're talking about are illegal. They're illegal under 8 USC 1644 and 8 USC 1373. You cannot have a policy that restricts law enforcement. Yet we have them all over. My good friends in Houston had their third police officer killed. San Francisco just had their third police officer killed. You know, any time you --
Richard Ruelas: (Inaudible).
Richard Ruelas: They stay focused --
Russell Pearce: They love to tell the lies to convince you otherwise but it's an absolute lie. When you have policies that tell a police officer you cannot ask under certain circumstances that's called a sanctuary policy. And we do it for no other law. Richard, tell me any other law where we put condition on you when you can ask and when you can act. No another law. Only this law and people are killed and injured every day because of it. The impact, in the billions of dollars. We spend about a billion a year just in K-12. The cost to the American people is huge. I get calls from all over the nation. How do we follow Arizona's lead? What can we do to make a difference? And we are making a difference. And we'll continue to make a difference.
Richard Ruelas: It seems like the toughest One, and it's always the toughest one, is going after employers. Why is the business community so tough on not wanting to increase sanctions? And we only have about a minute left.
Russell Pearce: You can take two groups -- It's about profits over patriotism. Or about anarchy, open border groups. They don't care about anyone else having an agenda. And they ignore the damage and the cost to America. They've joined heads on the back side and it's corruption on both sides. It's about political power or cheap labor. And it's profits over patriotism while they ignore or watch the destruction of the very country we all love. This great republic. I consider myself a patriot and I refuse to stand by and watch this nation be destroyed or injured and the rule of law ignored until we become a lawless nation with no regard for those who obey the law abide by the law, while we disregard those who ignore the Law.
Richard Ruelas: We could probably do the entire half an hour with you, Senator. Probably wouldn't even need me to do the entire half hour. Thank you for joining us.
Russell Pearce: Sir, thank you.