Ted Simons: Good evening and welcome to this special edition of "Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. Tonight's show is a political debate sponsored by the citizens clean elections commission. We will hear from the libertarian candidates for governor. They are Ronald Cavanaugh, a former drug counselor. Bruce Olson, a former businessman and a member of the minutemen. And Alvin Ray Yount, a college professor and business owner. Barry Hess, a currency speculator. Alvin Ray Yount gets to go first.
Alvin Ray Yount : I want to say I disagree with the president of the United States. I think this is a Christian nation. Moreover, I think Christianity has been the binding elements that have held this country together. I have seven years in county government management including government budget. Five years as a corporate executive, managing 60 apartments with six separate budgets simultaneously. I spent many years as a private business owner as well where I truly learned the real importance of the bottom line. And probably of all of the candidates here, I'm the firmest -- I have the firmest stand on the border. That is, I intend to use the illegal aliens themselves to build the border fence with. Thank you.
Ted Simons: Thank you very much. The next candidate to give a one-minute opening statement is Ronald Cavanaugh.
Ronald Cavanaugh : Good evening. I'm Ronald Cavanaugh. My basic political background is that, well, currently I'm the chairman of the planning and zoning commission in the towns I live in which is Springerville, Arizona, and I've learned a lot about laws, ordinances, what needs to be passed, what can you pass. And as governor, there's a lot of things that need to be passed through legislation, and to me that sort of ties your hands up a little bit because that makes you accountable for things you need to do. We have a lot of issues, this year especially, that are on the table. Discussing immigration. Discussing the budget issues. There is no reason why other people should have to pay back that budget. And I appreciate you listening.
Ted Simons: Very good. Thank you very much. Now Bruce Olson with a one-minute opening statement.
Bruce Olson: Good evening. I'm Bruce Olson. I'm from Overgaard. I got into this because my country is in trouble, my state is in trouble, and it was time. When I first started looking at this, I was advised to listen to a speech given by Ronald Reagan back in 1964. And I did that. Coming away from it, why it was obvious that the same issues that plagued this country then are plaguing us today. The common denominator is the Republican and Democratic party.
Ted Simons: All right. Thank you very much. Finally, we hear from Barry Hess.
Barry Hess: Good evening. I'm Barry Hess. It's good to have you here. I'm currently the vice chair of the Arizona libertarian party serving my fifth term as well as a precinct committeemen. I've been an activist in the libertarian party for well over 25 years. I think my experience in running campaigns is unequaled certainly at this table. I share the distinction with Terry Goddard for being the third time that we're running. We know the ins and outs of Arizona. We've been around the Arizona political scene and understand that what libertarian philosophy offers people is basically a reset button to get all of the stuff off of our Constitution and to restore the very essence of why we have government at all. It's spelled out very explicitly in our state Constitution. It is to protect the rights of the individual and their property. And I mean to do exactly that as your governor.
Ted Simons: All right. Thank you very much. Let's get to the conversation here. Alvin, I want to start with you. The most pressing issue facing Arizona, what is it? How do you address it?
Alvin Ray Yount: The most pressing issue today is, of course, jobs I think. The best way to bring in jobs I feel is to create a tax-free environment for business and corporations. Two things will happen when you do this. One, you do bring in more jobs, but will also bring in a diversity of income. Right now most of our income has been geared towards new construction only. New construction collapses and our economy collapses with it. If we can get this done, then we'll have a diversity of income as well, so if we lose one of these arms, we still have the rest of them and this will not happen again.
Ted Simons: I want to get back to the idea of diversification here. Ron, as far as the most pressing issue facing Arizona, what is it? How do you address it?
Ronald Cavanaugh : I think besides even trying to begin to put a dent in the astronomical deficits we have, that immigration I think is one of the main problems right now that we're having with this state and we have had for many years. Approximately $2.7 million is spent annually on illegal immigrants that come into this country. That's money that can be spent better somewhere else, if it were to be spent at all. I believe in shrinking the government down to a size that is manageable, and you don't need to micromanage your committees. You know, you start a committee to investigate something, then you get another committee to watch that committee. That's ridiculous. Why should you have to micromanage? You shouldn't. If you've got the right people doing the job in the first place, then you don't need to micromanage them. You get the job done.
Ted Simons: Okay. Bruce, what do you think?
Bruce Olsen: Well, I think it's the border. You're never going to balance the budget in Arizona until you've fixed the border problem. I've spent several tours down there and I'm very familiar with what goes on in the desert and how things take place down there. But you got the border and the budget obviously and then the economy. But, you know, I've been a businessman most of -- all of my professional life. If you're going to try to attract business in Arizona, you have to clean up the border. Who is going to move a company to Arizona with 2 to 300 people and their families and attempt to put them in school with threats of home invasions and gang shootings and this, that and the other? And then the entitlement benefits we pay for illegal aliens is just out of control. If I was a businessman with a company, I wouldn't move my company here under the current situation. No way.
Ted Simons: All right, Barry.
Barry Hess: Clearly jobs is the number one issue. There's no question about it. Jobs is the number one issue because we're in a depression. The truth is, there's no such thing as a jobless recovery. What we've got to do is be able to stimulate the economy. Now, Nancy Pelosi, incidentally agreed with me the other day saying putting spending money in the hands of the average person is the better government initiative in areas of the economy in sectors the government hopes to reach. I agree. She was talking about temporary extended benefits. I'm talking about permanent money. I intend to eliminate all income taxes as well as the death tax and property taxes on the individual. I have an actual plan on our website on Hessforgovernor.com that spells it out clearly. It also regulates spending on all businesses so we have a business friendly environment to invite them here. We've already engaged in conversation with many major employers trying to lure them here. And the essence of it all, they're liking what they're hearing. We can't offer them anything from the people, but we can certainly give them a business friendly environment.
Ted Simons: I want to get back to your idea regarding diversifying the economy. Bruce, what do you think about that? Do you think Arizona needs to diversify in terms of its economy or do you just let the chips fall where they may?
Bruce Olsen: No. We've got a great opportunity here with natural resources. I ran a Senate bill some years ago and discovered that the federal government doesn't own all this land that they say they do. We do. We have a timber industry that could be put back to work and the timber industry would spawn all kinds of related and unrelated businesses off of that. I'll go back to the border. If we clean the border up, all kinds of businesses would come in, technology and so forth. To me, we have got to secure this state.
Ted Simons: Alvin, as far as the border issue, it was interesting you said jobs was your number one concern. Right now just about every politician out there is suggesting that it is the border first, last and always. You mentioned jobs, you mentioned diversification. How would you diversify Arizona's economy without giving government control?
Alvin Ray Yount: If you do have a tax-free status for corporations and private businesses as well to move into the state, then you have a diversity that's going to move in. That's not regulated towards one particular -- one particular wing. Any company could actually move in to Arizona. I'd like to see some manufacturing come in is what I would like to see. Another thing people have talked to me about is maybe the movie industry coming in to Arizona. We have some awesome movie set locations in Arizona. But truly diversify, because, again, right now we have been totally atuned to new construction and it collapsed. The state collapsed. The nation collapsed, and because we're the largest consumer in the world, the world economy is in trouble as well. It's all from new housing construction. You know, we overbuilt.
Ted Simons: Ron, what do you do about that regarding job creation, the economy and how much you try to steer it one way or another?
Ronald Cavanaugh : Well, again, I believe that it goes back to the border issue and one status rectified. Then you can make it a more business friendly state, possible credits allowing new businesses, and I agree wholeheartedly with manufacturing businesses, businesses that could employ hundreds of people. You know, small businesses are great. They are the ones that really hold us all together when everything else falls apart. It's the small business owner that really matters then. We do need some larger corporations to be talked to, talked with and asked to come out, visit our state, see what we've got new for them and invite them to open up their manufacturing companies here.
Ted Simons: Barry, securing the border, is that the number one way to get jobs to Arizona?
Barry Hess: Absolutely not. Securing the border, this whole 1070 nonsense is a distraction from the economy. The reality is, if 1070 was worth its salt at all, all it simply would have done would be to require those people looking for something from government to prove their eligibility and leave the rest of us alone. Because the libertarian philosophy is all about the individual, the right to own yourself and the right to your privacy. That's what I represent is actually the libertarian philosophy is imposed upon the political system. I think the cards should fall where they may. As far as businesses go, I do have a business plan on my website, Hessforgovernor.com. It shows the government without being involved. The best thing we can do to help businesses is to get government out of the way. The truth is, 90% of all new businesses and all new jobs or all new jobs are created by small business. We have got to release the stranglehold of the regulations on the small business owner.
Ted Simons: Alvin, let's get to education real quick. We have to keep moving. How would you look at Arizona's education system now and how would you change it?
Alvin Ray Yount: Right now getting our numbers right is the most important thing we have to do. Prop 100, I voted no on Prop 100. I think it was a noble cause, but I'm saying not now. We're in a time of fiscal crises. No new programs right now. But to answer your question more directly, take a look at Santa Barbara, California, for example. High-tech industries locate very, very close to the University of California at Santa Barbara. You find the same thing at Silicon Valley up in the Bay Area. Certainly we have to take our education and push our education in the high-tech direction. I'm just saying, not now. Let's fix our money first. After we get it fixed, that's one of the first things we should have done.
Ted Simons: Can we afford to wait on education until the economy gets better?
Ronald Cavanaugh: No. I believe that -- I spoke with an individual who's on the school board in brown valley, Arizona and asked her what is the biggest complaint of the educational system? She says that they're teaching to the test. By that she meant that teachers weren't having an opportunity to teach the subjects that they went to college to learn how to teach -- the basics of history, mathematics, sciences and so forth -- that they had to teach only so that the students could pass this AIMS test which I felt belonged in a triangular cut shredder because they're not learning anything. They're being sent out into our society from high school with absolutely no knowledge. Not every high school graduate is going to go to college. The AIMS test is basically a college preparatory test. What about the person who is just going to go out and maybe is going to work at Sears or something, you know?
Ted Simons: Got you. What do you think, Bruce?
Bruce Olsen: Traveling all over the state, several teachers told me we've got to privatize schools. Several teachers told me the funding system has to be totally changed, the way we fund education. And I have some ideas on that. But one thing that's really bugged me recently is Obama came out and did take over the student loan program. Within 15, 24 hours, every university and college around the country decided it was going to raise the tuition rates 17 to 30%. Throwing more money at education is not the solution. So, we've got to get rid of the legacy costs, the unions -- I would work with every governor across the country to say to the federal Department of Education, you are out of here. I want school boards taking control of schools.
Ted Simons: Agree with that, Barry?
Barry Hess: In part, actually. That surprises me. Because I want government completely out of education. We had in 1964 a 94% literacy rate in this country without the uniformity they've imposed. Now we have like a 40% literacy rate. Obviously the uniformity doesn't work. I want competition in schools. I want to go away from all the standardized tests. My concern as governor is going to be the educated population. I want to see a competency test. Standardized tests tell you what you've done. You put a butt in a chair for 180 days for so many years, I want to see a competency test. That shows what a child can do. I'm looking towards the future. I'm more concerned about the progress of the individual student than I am about preserving the administrative process of education. With a one-on-one administrator/teacher ratio, this is absurd. We've got to get a hold of it. In speaking with the AEA, they weren't happy with what I said. Afterwards, privately the teachers understood. The teachers, they have their own kids in private schools.
Ted Simons: We got you. You want to talk, Alvin?
Alvin Ray Yount: I want to expand on what Barry is saying. Right now we have a G.P.A. system. That's a real good indicator of how the student is doing already without the standardized testing. I attended a speech in Pueblo, Colorado, Jack Kemp gave it. Awesome guy. I loved him. The Dolan camp, had they been elected, promised to shut down the United States Department of Education and move those facilities down to state and local level. I endorse that totally. I want to see that happen.
Ted Simons: We only have -- please.
Ronald Cavanaugh: Perhaps I was misunderstood. I don't mean that the government is to get involved in this. More so is what I mean is that the curriculum needs to be turned back over to the teachers and the educators and not the legislatures of the state, because the teachers, they're on the frontline. They know what needs to be taught. They know how to do it. That's why they went to school. The educators in higher educations and universities, the same thing. You're right, absolutely. The government needs to step back from that and leave it to the people who know what they're doing. Those are the educators.
Ted Simons: We only have a couple of minutes before closing statements. I do want to get this in here. The state has cut over $2 billion here and more is likely on the way. How much more can Arizona afford to cut in terms of services?
Bruce Olsen: Look, the state budgets over the past two decades have been built on a false economy. The tech bubble had no equity, no liquidity under it. We developed all of these businesses and agencies and bureaucracies on a false economy. When I first looked at this, friends of mine in the legislature said, you've got to understand that Napolitano increased budget and scope every six years she was in office. There's your starting point right there. My view is, government needs to be reduced at a minimum of 60%. You can do that through attrition and a variety of ways. We're broke. The state is broke.
Ted Simons: So we can cut more, you say up to 60%?
Bruce Olsen:We have no choice.
Ted Simons: Can we cut 60%?
Barry Hess: we can easily cut 60%. That's not even a question. We're in total agreement. Simply by getting rid of the nonconstitutional agencies. The problem is, the governor in this prop 100 nonsense, they overhired. That was the problem. Now they want to preserve that and that's absurd because we are literally in a depression that is not going to bottom for awhile. People do understand it. They're not stupid. She's playing them like a fiddle. We don't need more taxes. We need less taxes so people can have money in their pocket. By eliminating the income tax, they can afford to educate their own children in the way and manner they choose.
Ted Simons: How does the state survive with 50, 60 even more percent cuts to education and such?
Alvin Ray Yount: The first budget I prepared for Santa Barbara, California immediately followed proposition 13. It was devastating to the state budget. We had a mandate. Here is last year's bottom line. You take this percent, whatever the percentage was, I don't remember, off of it before you submit this year's budget proposal. That's how we handled it. Right now if the legislature does not handle me a balanced budget on time when they're supposed to, that's exactly the approach I'll take.
Ted Simons: Real quickly. I want to get you in on this as well. Remember, we're dealing with human beings out here. Can the state afford it?
Ronald Cavanaugh: I believe they can, absolutely. I don't know personally. I'm not that familiar with the numbers. I would bow to them, that they know 60%. I see no reason why not. Like I said, I've looked at it and I've seen that everything is doubled or tripled. People doing the same jobs, repetitiveness within all the government departments. I think that you could just start -- as I'm saying on my website, we take the giant shock back, start cleaning up.
Ted Simons: With that, we'll end the conversation and get to closing statements. Time now for each candidate to give a one-minute closing statement. Going in reverse order, start with Barry Hess.
Barry Hess: It's been a pleasure for this opportunity. It's really I think kind of absurd that a libertarian would be in a clean elections debate in the first place. Really getting the idea of what we stand for as the option that is not the Republican, Democratic party because they are the same thing. We stand for the individual. We want maximum liberty and minimum law. That's what it comes down to. I want to return our state government to be our state servant government, for you, to protect the rights and property of the individual is my highest priority because that's the whole reason we established this concept that they call government. And I want people to remember, the only wasted vote is the vote not cast in good conscience. If you keep voting from the same old in-bred political gene pool, we'll have to change the state song to, dueling banjos.
Ted Simons: Next up is Bruce Olsen.
Bruce Olsen: We have a process going on in the federal government that's coming after private property, even in the Supreme Court. If I'm elected governor, I intend to get with all the governors, at least in 38 states, and solve that issue. Barry mentioned property taxes. One of the things that I think we have to do is go to the low deal title system where you absolutely own it. It's not a fee simple system. You own the property and you own it from the surface to the center of the earth. That will stop any incursion by the federal government on private property. One of the things I'd like to do is also remove property taxes from primary residents that are free and clear. You have to be free and clear to get the low deal title system. I want to thank y'all for inviting us down here. It's been great.
Ted Simons: The next closing statement will be given by Ronald Cavanaugh.
Ronald Cavanaugh: First, I'd like to thank you for having me here. Basically I'm like most people in this state. I work hard for a living. I have calluses on my hand. I drove a truck across this country for 25 years, coast to coast, border to border, talked to thousands of people, created different opinions. I believe what we need as a governor is a person who is used to working hard and doing their best job that they possibly can and they're not a cookie cutter politician. That's really all I have to say and I thank you again for having me.
Ted Simons: Thank you. And now Alvin Ray Yount will give the one final one-minute closing statement.
Alvin Ray Yount: Thank you. Yes. I want to thank channel 8 and thank clean elections for bringing us all together, giving us this opportunity. I want to make a statement about career politicians. Career politicians have a handicap. That handicap is their career. The governor is the executive manager of the state and they're required to make difficult decisions. If they tick off people making those decisions, then they have to find a new career. I'm not a career politician. I've never served in a paid elected position before. And keep that in mind. Now, our website AlvinRayYount.com, please go there. There are links to our Facebook page who are on Facebook as well. Thank you, again, for having me.
Ted Simons: Thank you as well. Thank you, candidates. And thank you for watching this clean elections debate on a special edition of "Horizon."