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January 10, 2011

Host: Ted Simons

Congresswoman Giffords

  |   Video
  • Before being elected to Congress, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords served in the Arizona State Legislature. Former State Senator Ken Cheuvront and Senator Linda Lopez, who served with Giffords at the State Capitol, talk about their colleague and close friend.
  • Ken Cheuvront - former State Senator
  • Linda Lopez - State Senator
Category: Government   |   Keywords: giffords,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: Before being elected to congress, Representative Giffords served in the state legislature. Former state lawmaker Ken Cheuvront and senator Linda López served with Giffords at the capitol. Earlier today I talked to them about their colleague and their friend.

Ted Simons: Thank you for joining us on "Horizon." I know this is uncomfortable but I want to make it as cathartic as I can. You were former colleagues of -- you were more than colleagues of hers. You were friends.

Linda López: I first met her when we were first running for the house here in Arizona and after that, when we got elected we moved in with Ken and roommates with Ken for two years and Gabby and I rented a house from Ken for a year and there was a building that Ken had renovated from former senator Andy Nichols and we rented an apartment there for two years. Not only being roommates we were best friends, we still are best friends. We traveled together in other countries across the United States and she's a very close friend.

Ted Simons: Indeed, and a close friend for you as well. Talk about the relationship and how you met.

Ken Cheuvront: It was interesting, at the time, I was running for the leader of the democratic caucus and I found out about Gabby because she went to college next to my alma mater and Linda, and went down there and tried to help them with the campaign and typical of Gabby, she was very frugal and pulls up to this location in an old beat up pickup. I know their family owned El campo tires and it wasn't until later that I realized she was cheap. She was never going to spend money on a nice car

Linda López: She always bought her clothes at the used clothing store. She didn't believe in buying anything new. She wasn't into like putting herself together. She loved jewelry and big clunky jewelry, but no -- and the reason she looks good today is because one of her staff members who was shot in the incident on Saturday, Pam Simon, does all of her shopping for her. So Pam puts her together.

Ted Simons: Really? To this day, it's still tough to spend money on clothes.
Linda López: that’s exactly right.
Ted Simons: Now you mentioned El campo, is that a tire store in Tucson?

Ken Cheuvront: It was a tire store that her grandfather started back in Tucson I don’t know back in the thirties. Something well known. She was the face of El campo tires and did commercials for them and really, I think -- you live in Tucson.

Linda López: Yeah, we saw her all the time. The buck stretcher. I remember that. The commercial for El campo tires.

Ken Cheuvront: And, of course, we made fun of her all the time about that.

Ted Simons: I'm sure. As far as the legislature and dealing with her in the legislature, personal stories are fascinating and I want to get back to those as well. But as a lawmaker, talk to us what she emphasized. The things that were of concern to her then and did you see that moving over to the United States House of Representatives.

Linda López: I would say the things she worked on a lot in the Arizona legislature have carried over. The environment and energy and those were big issues for her in Arizona and continued to be in Washington. You know, I have to say, she's one the hardest working legislators I ever met. Unlike me, I go to bed early, she stays up late and gets up later in the morning than I do, but works hard and excellent in working with her constituents.

Ted Simons: Was she always like that?

Linda López: Absolutely. Hard worker.
Ted Simons: is that what you saw as well?

Ken Cheuvront: She's amazing; I got tired just watching her.

Linda López: Yeah.

Ken Cheuvront: She would, you know, work endlessly. One of her mentors was Senator Nichols who she adored until he passed away and then she took his seat. But I was one of those person who could I could read something, and then just move one I ran two companies, but she was incessantly talking to constituents or working on issues nonstop.

Linda López: I would tell her, she would spend long periods of time meeting with people, I would say, Gabby, when are you going to take care of yourself? You need to shut it off a little bit. You need to get on to the next thing. And to this day, she's still that way, never sees a stranger. She talks to everybody. Will listen to all of their concerns and whatever they want to talk to her about. Always has a smile on her face. So --

Ken Cheuvront: She is in politics, this is something I noticed about her. She really wants to make a difference and that's what got her involved in politics. When I first met her, I don't think she was a natural politician.

Ted Simons: I was going to ask that. Do you consider her a policy wonk?

Ken Cheuvront: Yes. I was more of a politician; she was a policy wonk and has become a great statesperson.

Ted Simons: Is that how you see it?

Linda López: Definitely. I've seen such growth in her since she went to congress. The speeches she gives now and her ability to communicate her ideas, really phenomenal.

Ted Simons: Back to the State legislature, Talk to us about the district she represented. What kind of area is this. What are the folks like? For those not familiar with Tucson and that area.

Linda López: It's central Tucson, you know --

Ken Cheuvront: But the original district she won in was a little different.

Linda López: That was up on the northwest side of town, but then she -- the district she was elected from was central Tucson and more the -- like down Broadway area where there's a lot of businesses. Kind of a middle income. Middle income, to upper middle income area. I'd say more progressive. More liberal in terms of the folks that vote there. But not -- a little close registration in terms of DNR. That sort of thing.

Ted Simons: We talked about whether she was a policy wonk or politician and you mentioned she was into details. Did you see that evolve into someone who maybe had more ambition as the years went by, or was that ambition always there?
Ken Cheuvront: She was always a nerd and always had a lot of ambition. The things she had done. Grad school and living in Mexico for a year with a German- I forgot the group. We both traveled in different parts of the world with her, and her mother, because she's extremely close to her family. Adores both of her parents.

Linda López: Definitely. She's really connected and attached to them and does everything she can to make sure they're comfortable. She's had a rough couple of years the past couple years. Her father was bitten by a rattlesnake and has had all kinds of complications from that and a lot of medical problems on top of that. She's very, very concerned about him. The light of her life now is her nephew.

Ted Simons: Oh, really.

Linda López: Her sister Melissa had a baby and all of us were surprised by that. [Laughter] But she had a baby and so Gabby is really -- I can remember going shopping with her in the store, congress, for her new nephew.

Ted Simons: Interesting.

Ken Cheuvront: Her husband, too, he's a wonderful, wonderful man. I mean, we were -- we were talking earlier, with her through a lot of her boyfriends and I got to the point, Gabby, I'm not going to meet anymore. So I wouldn’t meet Mark, I think it was eight months before I met him and when I met him, he was an amazing man and she was so in love, is in love, and it was wonderful to see she finally found someone her true equal and they're both amazing people.

Linda López: I was a brides maid at her wedding and she asked me to give a toast and I talked about Mark and how when she came home talking about Mark, that I knew that this was the one. Like Ken, I had heard about all of them. And met some of them, but this was different. Mark was different. I knew it was -- this was the one for her.

Ted Simons: And only friends can know those sorts of things.

Linda López: Exactly right.

Ken Cheuvront: It's interesting; he has an identical twin brother who is also an astronaut. And at the beginning, she couldn't tell the difference. I don't know if Mark knew that. Mark had a mustache so it was M for mustache Mark had a mustache.

Linda López: And then he switched.

Ted Simons: Sounds like a bad sitcom (laughs). We heard her described in the media. I want your assessment as a conservative democrat or moderate democrat in a tough district, in terms of 50/50 splits and these things. Is that something she wasn't always and has become -- was she always that kind of politician? Looking at it left-right here. Sounds like she's straight down the middle as far as people's perceptions. What about yours?

Linda López: I would say centrist. Not real far to the left. Not really conservative. I would say the thing she does best is represent her constituents as a district and so she is always taking into account how her constituents feel.

Ken Cheuvront: Gabby, like I grew up as a Republican and I think that's why we had an affinity. Linda, who was in Berkeley in the '60s.

Linda López: Yes.

Ken Cheuvront: There are a couple of things that surprised me about her. She was into the military. She had a commission where she would fly with the jets on refueling missions and in the reserve guard or something.

Linda López: Yeah, she -- very, very closely connected to Davis-Monthan air force base, I cant remember the name of the group, but still a part of that and they're crazy about her.

Ken Cheuvront: We used to give her a hard time about it.

Ted Simons: What are you hearing now? From friends, other friends, family? Give us a sense what it's like for you here these past few days.

Ken Cheuvront: When it happened. I drove down to Tucson because I wanted to be with Linda and Elaine Richardson who is also a close friend and David Bradley and we didn’t have a chance to talk to her parents, but we're concerned about her father, because she was the --

Linda López: Apple of his eye.

Ken Cheuvront: And her mother, amazing woman. But she's the stronger of the two of them. And mark, I'm sure, his brother is up in the space station, it's tough for him also.

Linda López: Exactly. Yeah, you know, I called her mom yesterday and left a message for her. I don't want to intrude upon them. I know right now is an extremely challenging time for them and I think once we see some stability and know that things are on the mend, I'll go and see with them and talk with them. But sometimes I know that folks kind of want to be to themselves. I don't want to intrude upon that, but as I told her on the phone, we were really thinking about her and all of us are very upset about it.

Ted Simons: We understand that and that's why we don't want to intrude too much on you, this is a very difficult time. But give us one final thought what we should know about Gabrielle Giffords and what kind of person she is and just -- just a -- general thoughts about the situation.

Ken Cheuvront: She's the most giving and thoughtful person. I don't think we've heard her say anything bad. The two of us would, but she would not say a word when we were talking about different people. She's the hardest working person I know and that someone would do this to her, is unconscionable. I don't get it. I just -- it's incomprehensible for me.
Linda López: I got to tell you, she's the best friend you could ask for. I know she would do anything for me and the feeling goes the other way. With the other stuff going on, with her election and -- I -- I got married the day after Thanksgiving and when I told Gabby I was getting married, she said I want to have a bridal shower for you. It was two days after the election. The fourth of November and she went all out. She and Elaine both. It was a fabulous time. And she and Elaine and I sat up until 1:30 in the morning after everybody else left at 10:00.

Ted Simons: That's what friends are for. And we thank you both for joining us. I know it's difficult but I hope it helped to talk about your friend. Thank you so much for joining us.

Consuelo Hernandez

  |   Video
  • A conversation with the sister of Daniel Hernandez. Daniel, an intern for Congresswoman Giffords, is credited with helping save her life by administering first aid on the scene.
  • Consuelo Hernandez
Category: Government   |   Keywords: congress, giffords,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: We wrap up the show with a conversation with a conversation that I had earlier with the sister of Daniel Hernandez, an intern for representative Giffords, Hernandez is credited for helping save Giffords life by giving her first aid on the scene.

Ted Simons: Consuelo, thank you for joining us on "Horizon."

Consuelo: It's a pleasure.

Ted Simons: Talk to us about your brother. The rest of the world, he's called a hero.

Consuelo: He didn't like the fact that he's being called a hero. He did what was right.

Ted Simons: How did you hear about the shooting incident.

Consuelo: He called my mother and let us know that he was ok and Gabrielle Giffords had been shot.

Ted Simons: Your parents must have been worried sick.

Consuelo: Oh, yeah, it was a quick phone call. Just let us know he was ok. Probably less than a minute.
Ted Simons: And he didn't have a chance to say too much at that time.
Consuelo: No, he just hung up the phone and we heard it on the news and we got worried so we headed to the hospital.

Ted Simons: Have you had a chance to talk to him much.

Consuelo: Not really, he told us everything, basically what everybody knows and hasn't had the chance to have a chance to breathe.

Ted Simons: Yeah.
Consuelo: Because of everybody overwhelming him.

Ted Simons: I was going to say --

Consuelo: At least from my point of view.

Ted Simons: That's a concern, because he hasn't had a chance to sit down and reflect on what just happened, has he?

Consuelo: No, everything is surreal for everybody. For Gabrielle Giffords' family and Gabe's family. Everybody.

Ted Simons: Tell us again about your brother in the sense of, obviously very interested in politics and got involved at a relatively young age. How did he get involved in you'll of this?

Consuelo: First he was going to premed and then suddenly changed. It was a school trip, I believe, and he came back from Washington D.C. and he just -- he was more interested in politics. It just shifted for him.
Ted Simons: He got the bug, didn't he?

Consuelo: Yeah. [Laughter]

Ted Simons: And working with representative Giffords. I understand, you're at the U of A.

Consuelo: Correct.

Ted Simons: And he's at the U of A, too.

Consuelo: Correct.

Ted Simons: You both went to Sunnyside High School in Tucson. That high school helped to prepare him for this incident.

Consuelo: Most definitely. There's a program, a medical-related program. And the teacher gives us opportunity to take a nursing assistant program and a CPR program, that's what we have to take, our senior year, and we both took advantage of it. And he did also. And he also took -- he's a phlebotomist as well.

Ted Simons: my goodness it sure did. He's been interviewed and been everywhere and asked the same questions and responded in the same ways, and I think all of us have been taken by how calm and professional he seems to be. Especially at that young of age. Are you surprised by that?

Consuelo: No not really, he's always been that kind of man, I guess. Ever since he was little. He's always been well composed and taking care of other people and just not worried about anyone else besides him.

Ted Simons: Do you think this incident will change his priority, his direction in any way?

Consuelo: No, I believe he has his priorities set, and he's going to keep going toward everything.

Ted Simons: How about you? Does it change you much?

Consuelo: I don't know, it's surreal to me and my family. But no, just helped us see we all need to come together as a community and not -- there's no hate in this -- hate is not a word in this new year.

Ted Simons: I was going to say, last question. I'm not going to ask if you're proud of your brother. That would be a silly question. But when you sit back and realize what happened and what your brother did, how does it make you feel?

Consuelo: I'm proud of my brother. He's always doing the right thing. He's like a 50-year-old to us. He doesn't enjoy himself. He's always out doing things that help others or for the community and public service. But I'm proud of him, it's just he did the right thing. I don't consider him a hero because he -- he -- I mean, I don't know how I would -- I would have reacted but he did the right thing and that's all that matters. So being called a hero doesn't matter to me.

Ted Simons: Consuelo thanks for joining us and talking to us about your brother.

Consuelo: Thank you.

Democrats' Press Conference

  |   Video
  • Following the Governor’s speech, House and Senate Democrats address the shootings and call for a more civil tone at the legislature.
Category: Government   |   Keywords: democrats, governor,

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Senator David Schapira: I really want to express my appreciation to the speaker for doing what he did over in the house today in not having points of personal privilege and, instead, in honoring the victims and the victims' families in Tucson. And I also want to show my appreciation to the governor for putting aside politics for the day and for delivering a state-of-the-state focused on the mood of today. And with that, I'll turn it over to Senator Landrum Taylor.

Senator Landrum Taylor: We will always have this as a day that we will remember. And what happens from here, which direction we go, we set the course. We set the -- the roadmap of that direction.

Chad Campbell: It's been a reflective time for me these past 48 hours and given me a new appreciation for being a public servant, as well as being blessed enough to be born and living in this state and country. And I hope we can all keep that in mind as we move forward. Thank you.

Ruben Gallego: This is still a loving state. This is a state that I moved many years ago after my service to my country, to move to raise a family. I think it's indicative we look at who rushed to the scene to help. People of all different color, all different walks of life and religions, there to help out the congresswoman as well as the other victims. We need to remember that in light of what's said. Let's not remember what one lone gunman did. Let's remember what almost every Arizonan did on that day at that mall. They all reached out and tried to help out our victims. As well as through their prayers and through their calls, they did reach out and we have come together as state. So please remember that, especially in these tough times. Thank you.

Albert Hale: This is, for us, a time of reflection. Reflecting on how we got here as a people. All the reflection has to go back to all the campaigning rhetoric and all the things that have been said. Our elders teach that once you say something you can never take it back. So I hope in these times we're careful about what we say about one another. It's time for healing, time for good words, words of peace, words of love. Thank you.

Senator David Schapira: Senator Kyrsten Sinema.
Senator Kyrsten Sinema: We're all incredibly grieved about the tragedy that occurred on Saturday. We're worried, we're hoping and praying for the nine individuals who are still today fighting for their lives and we mourn the loss of the six lives that occurred on Saturday. Our hearts go out to their families, to their friends. Our hearts go out to those individuals present at that Safeway Saturday morning who either witnessed or victims of that tragedy and in particular, grateful for the many, many people who despite their own injuries, despite the fear and chaos, reached out to help their fellow individuals and, indeed, we believe saved the lives of, certainly, Gabby Giffords and perhaps others in that very morning. We have an important task in front of us here in Arizona, and that's to obviously continue to hope and pray for those who are fighting for their lives today and help them along as we recover. And as we do that, think we have an opportunity to help our state recover, our nation and indeed the world, who is suffering and grieving as we all are here today. And we have an incredible chance and opportunity to reach forward and create -- an incredible chance to create a different politics here in Arizona and in the country. And I have seen a great display of that start here today on the grounds of the Arizona state capitol. I think David Schapira said it well when he called for the healing of the world. And I can tell you that Democrats of today pledged to begin that process and to heal our state and country and the world. Thank you.

Steve Farley: I first was thrust into this when my campaign manager, Daniel Hernandez, called me from the ambulance where he was holding Gabby's head in his hands. Running toward the bullets instead of away in order to save her life. We found him covered in blood in the driveway to the hospital. We went in with family. My 11- year old daughter, my 16-year-old daughter, set a example for me that I've been trying to follow since then. Gabby's mom just arrived and the rest of the family had not. My daughters knelt at her feet and took her hand in theirs. And for the next hour, they held hands and Gloria stroked their hands and looked deeply into their eyes and they did what they could to help her feel better. We must all do, as leaders now despite our personal pain, is we must band together and we must make people feel better about what happened. Which seems impossible at first, Because it's such an unspeakable act. But that candlelight vigil that night, after having spent a horrifying day with the family in the hospital, coming out, there was word that's came to me that morning that I repeated to the crowd about 200 or 300 people holding candles. It was beautiful. Said you can't stop hope with a bullet. The crowd started chanting and singing that and the spirit of love and reconciliation was rising above the crowd. There was no anger. It was everybody no matter what their beliefs were, coming together and asking for love and reconciliation and that's the spirit over Tucson right now. Over all of southern Arizona. Over the entire United States, at this point. And I believe that we will move forward from this terrible moment and look back and see we've crossed a threshold, a threshold in a new day of politics in which we do not trash one another on either side, where we work together, where we follow in Gabby's model for how you work with people you don't necessarily believe with. Where you work with people and understand that we're all working toward a common goal of creating one state, one nation, together. Making this a better place for everybody. We may not agree with the ways to get there, but we do agree with the goal. And I was so encouraged by the words of Speaker Adams, majority leader Tobin today, the governor today, because I believe they'll be partners in this goal. I pledged the governor today. And if I have ever said anything hurtful or hateful in spite of my best interests, they would call me on it if I ever do that. I will never say anything hateful or hurtful again about somebody else I have a disagreement with because we must break this mold. We must move forward. We can here in Arizona show the rest of the nation how to govern in a civil manner and work together as a society.
Senator David Schapira: Daniel Hernandez is a name known around the world today. Because he, instead of running away from bullets, ran toward them in order to help to save his friends and perhaps has saved the life of Congresswoman Giffords. And I would like to introduce him. [Applause]

Daniel Hernandez: I come today wishing I was here under different circumstances. I speak today with a heavy heart. Congresswoman Giffords was not just a boss. She was someone I admired greatly for years and someone I considered a family friend. For years, I had followed her career and when I finally got the opportunity to work with her in 2008 on the congressional campaign, I was excited and when I had the opportunity to work with her again in 2010, I continued to be excited because Gabby’s one of those who is the most endearing, most kindhearted and most approachable politician you'll ever meet, but above all, she is just a kind heart and that's what I want to emphasize. She is still with us. She's a fighter. We know Gabby has been fighting for southern Arizona and all of Arizona in congress for the last couple years, but she is now fighting for her life and we need to make sure we're sending our thoughts and prayers to her. But we know that Gabby would want us to make sure we're sending thoughts and prayers to those who lost family members on this horrific day. Those in the hospital because although the Congresswomen is the one getting the most media attention there were other victims and I know that she would want us to honor these victims and making sure we pay our respects to them and their families. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is someone who will continue to fight and I know she'll pull through it and I look forward to being able to work with her again.

Giffords and the 50th State Legislature

  |   Video
  • Before the November election, Rep. Giffords appeared on Horizon where she talked about the need for politicians to work together on contentious issues like immigration reform. Hear what she had to say followed by a discussion about convening a new state legislature in the shadow of the Tucson tragedy. Guests include: political consultant Stan Barnes, Secretary of State Ken Bennett and State Representative Steve Farley.
  • Stan Barnes - political consultant
  • Ken Bennett - Arizona Secretary of State
  • Steve Farley - State Representative
Category: Government   |   Keywords: giffords, election,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: Congresswoman Giffords' most recent appearance on horizon was prior to the November election, when she talked about the need for politicians to work together on contentious issues like immigration reform.

Congresswoman Giffords: The challenge for us and Arizona, is to take a part of the country that's been ignored for a long, long time and you have elected officials that have served in area for decades.The problem did not happen overnight. It's built up over time. I don't care who gets credit, let's just fix the problem. It's not about pointing fingers and make the governor look bad, the president, the legislature, come on guys, let's figure it out.

Ted Simons: This is an unusual day at the state capitol. Lawmakers gathered for the opening of legislative session, but the shootings in Tucson overshadowed the proceedings. Joining us now is Stan Barnes, a former lawmaker who owns the political consulting firm, Copperstate Consulting. Also here is democratic assistant house minority leader Steve Farley of Tucson. And also joining us is secretary of state Ken Bennett. Good to have you all here.

Ted Simons: Describe the scene at the capitol.

Ken Bennett: The mood was mixed. It usually is a time of celebration and getting stuff started, and there was enough of that that you knew it was the opening day of session, but it certainly was void almost completely of the political overtones that often accompany a state-of-the-state speech and opposing caucuses in both the state and house, it was more of a day -- and I thought the governor and the speaker both minority and majority leader it's a perfect job of kind of capturing that middle tone where as one or many of them said, we're not Republicans or Democrats. We're Arizonans today, and we're not going to try to pretend to ignore what happened on Saturday.
Stan Barnes: I was telling someone outside of the chamber; it's probably the most unified opening day I've ever seen in my 22 years of being down there. After all, we're all together in our grief over this situation. I thought it was a great moment when words were said by the minority leader, Chad Campbell in the house and the majority leader came over to him and they embraced and you don't see that on opening day in the state legislature, it was a great symbolism for the unified feeling there today.

Ted Simons: Steve, did you see that as well?

Steve Farley: There was a lot of hugging across boundaries, across the aisle. I had to wipe the stuff off from the result of that earlier today. But that was part of the intention, I think from everybody's part and having lived through these horrible events in Tucson. I was absolutely determined to come up here and change the way we do politics. Our need to come together in a different way. That's what I've committed myself to do and I saw it. The speaker and the governor will be partners in that quest to change the climate.

Ted Simons: What was your impression on the governor's speech today.

Ken Bennett: I thought it was probably her best speech I've heard her give. I think she -- it was from the heart and she struck the right tone and I thought she did a great job of keeping things -- keeping Arizonans focused on what we should have been focused on and not doing anything on the political side but just calling everyone to use the events of Saturday to come together and build a better Arizona, and, you know, it's -- it's -- I don't think anyone can pretend we're not going to have our disagreements in how we do that, but it was total unity and standing as the leader of Arizona, today we are going to come together and work on making Arizona better and maybe that's one of the few positive things that can come out of such a horrific tragedy.

Ted Simons: Stan, as far as the state of the state, the address itself, what usually happens? How are these things usually addressed and how did that differ today?

Stan Barnes: It was entirely different. Today's speech was given at the same time as the state of the state. But it was not a state of the state address. It was a speech that only a person that represents us can say. The governor of Arizona expressed grief on behalf of all of Arizona. She was playing out her part as the chief executive of the state and said nothing about policy and about her words to the legislature about bills, send me or don't send me, or we're going do this on the budget or other key issues. None of that. The expectation is that that ceremony is going to be passed this year and while there's a need for the governor to give direction to the legislature, as the former senate president can tell you, the current representative can tell you, Mr. Farley, legislators hear that for two minutes and set it aside anyway. There's an expectation that the governor is going to in writing send her words to the leadership of both chambers.

Ted Simons: Is that a requirement. You have to deliver it, whether it's a speech or hand-deliver it?

Stan Barnes: Yes, like the president of the United States, there's no requirement that you stand up and make a big speech. But there's a mandate on the state of the state and she can do that in many ways, given her perfect pitch ear on the nature of what we've got going on. She'll probably write it and send it in.

Ted Simons: Hearing from Ken over here, no one is going to fool themselves here. There's going to be divisiveness, contentious issues. Is there thought when both sides go back and forth, things will tone down a little bit? Obviously, now it feels that way. Do we really think it's going to last?

Steve Farley: I really think it is. But I cannot control what other people do. I can only control myself and I made a commitment. Which I shared with the governor that I will not engage in hurtful or hateful conversation of any kind. That's over. We can't do that anymore. And I hope that others do the same. And I have faith that we will. What I found interesting, majority leadership Tobin gave remarks on the floor as well. But he did remind us, we must not let this killer silence other debate either. Debate is part of democracy as well. We have strong differences among us, there's no question about that, but if we can air those strong differences in terms that are honest disagreements about policy, instead of demonization. Then we will achieve something powerful. That I think we can spread to the rest of the country as well.
Ted Simons: You've been there, how does leadership do this?

Ken Bennett: You do it by example. And but that may be is too simple. I think you do it by building relationships. I've been convinced in the years I've been involved that influence comes from relationships and it's building the friendly relationships that we heard amongst Ken and Linda and their friend, Gabby, not their colleague, they may have started as colleague, one it's the example, the leaders, the governor, the president, the speaker, the leaders of the caucuses. Committee chairs, there's lots of formality in the legislature, lots of opportunity to say we're not going to take testimony or you've had enough and I think it's going to take everybody, starting at the top and I think we saw that from the very top today, setting a different tone and leading by example, that we're going to have those disagreements, couldn't agree more with Steve, we're going -- we've got such tough issues, but we can do it without being disagreeable and I think that's what Gabby stood for. That's the way she was a legislator. You -- you never wanted her to oppose your position because that's all she would do. She would oppose your position from a well-thought out, well studied, she never attacked you. She was a sweet and kind -- but -- but the way she did things had tremendous influence and it's what I think has made her effective as a legislator and as a representative going back to her people and wanting to hear them.

Stan Barnes: You know, 22 years ago, I was a freshman on the floor of the house and an know your viewers are saying you're not old enough. I was 27 years old. And I was taught as I came into the process, not knowing what I'd done as a brand new member, that there's an honoring of each other in this body. Because each is a representative of a cadre of Arizonans in all parts of Arizona and I remember being awed by the old fathers of the day. The veterans of the legislature how they would fight like hell on the floor and go out and have a beer together and laugh. And I -- that shocked me. And I loved it. At the same time. And I remember thinking, what a cool thing about our government that ideas matter, that people and friendships are separate and sometimes they help each other come together. Things -- almost from the point -- and it's happened nationally, as well as to Arizona, in the late '80s, things have been in a big sweep the other way and the honoring of one another has melted down and it seems to me, you might have heard from Mr. Farley and the speaker, the governor, this might be a moment to reflect on that and reset how we deal with each other at the state capitol.
Steve Farley: And a fortuitous moment to do so, because this is one the biggest freshman classes we've ever had. And there are a tremendous number of people like you were. Not having any idea how it place works and if they're shown by leadership, this is how we treat each other, that will last for many years to come.

Steve Barnes: There are laws -- laws? Rules in the house against impugning one another. It's in our rules not to stand up and say he's wrong on the bill because someone is paying him -- a conflict of interest. Those things are not allowed on the floor. And we try to live to those, but beyond that, there's -- there's a civility that the place demands because it's the best form of government. And I love what I'm hearing today on the opening day of our -- as the speaker says, our centennial legislature. Things might reset and there might be a new awakening of helping one another.

Ted Simons: The logistics as far Representatives Giffords seat -- I don't know how familiar everyone here -- it's a question I've been asked numerous times. What happens now, if she's out of commission for a while. Assuming she will be. What happens to the seat?

Ken Bennett: Our office has done some research. Initially we thought it was a declaration of a vacancy by the speaker of the house, but as it turns out, there's only one instance in the history of a country where a house of representative in congress seat has been declared vacant. In 1981, I think a representative had just been reelected in Maryland and had a heart attack two days before the election. And slipped into a coma and never recovered. And it was the following February -- mid to late February so, it had to be four-ish months later, that the U.S. -- the house of representatives, voted to declare that seat vacant. And then they have -- it triggers a special election type process. But it's -- I don't expect there will be any declaration of vacancy as long as Gabby is fighting and it appears right now that that's what is happening and as the doctors have said, so far, there's nothing of a negative connotation and we just hope and pray that she will continue to recover and I don't -- I don't expect there will be a vacancy declared. If it were to be declared, it begins a process of about six months that culminates in a special election.

Ted Simons: Not an appointment?

Ken Bennett: Not an appointment.

Ken Bennett: Interesting, in a U.S. senator, it's a vacancy appointed by the governor until the next election, but in the house of representatives, special election about six months later.
Ted Simons: Interesting stuff. We have a few minutes left. Three or four minutes. I want to get each one of you to talk about this, we are, Arizona, we're all Arizonans here. And we have gone through tough times, perceptually around the country. The perception of Arizona, regardless of where you stand, I don't think anyone can say a lot of folks are holds parades for us right now. What are you hearing regarding the image of Arizona. And what can be done - This used to be the most friendly, openness, come out and join us, boy, howdy, what's going on here?

Steve Farley: I've talked to my share of reporters in recent days and hours, and a lot of people are asking that question: What's wrong with Arizona? And the way I talk to them, is at any time that there's -- it isn't that there's anything in particular, it's just that we're not having the stories told about the people who are not doing that stuff out there on the edge. And the stuff who is doing the extreme -- the extreme legislation in my view, that's gotten a lot of public attention from around the country. What we're -- we need to focus on is that -- that incredible community spirit we have in Arizona, where we do come together. And -- and as a community, we're able to move forward past difficult things and this is a tremendous opportunity to do that right now. Because of how hard this has been. We are not all that that we're being portrayed in the media. There's no question about that.

Ted Simons: Stan?

Stan Barnes: I agree with Representative Farley. We're not all that. I think we've had a bad draw, a couple of stories and commentaries by media that generally is based on the east coast of the United States and has a different view of Arizona, much like people in Australia looks at Perth. We are growing up as a state. We're going to have nine congressman in the next round. Nearly seven million people. We're not small old Arizona anymore. We're getting to be big and big draws attention and has diversity and causes a variety of things to happen, as part of our growing up phase. Part of my theory.

Ted Simons: Are we simply just growing up? Not little old Arizona anymore?

Ken Bennett: I think there's an element of that, but I don't think the real Arizona, which is really the real Arizonans, are any -- anything like what we've unfortunately been portrayed as over the past year or two, for a variety of circumstances kind of become the focal point or the microcosm. Gabby in her few minutes a while ago talked about we have culminated in things that have been going on for decades and trying to get things solved that many have not and we're going to get that done if we follow the guidance talked about tonight.

Ted Simons: Gentlemen, it was a pleasure having you on. It's a difficult evening but a good conversation.

Steve Farley: Thanks for telling this story.
Ted Simons: You betcha.

Governor Jan Brewer

  |   Video
  • On the opening day of the 50th Arizona Legislature, the Governor acknowledges the Tucson shootings by postponing her State of the State Address and replacing it with a speech reflective of the tragedy.
Category: Government   |   Keywords: governor, brewer,

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Governor Jan Brewer: Good afternoon, speaker Adams and senator Pearce and honorable senators and representatives of the centennial legislature, chief Justice Berch and justices of the Supreme Court, constitutional officers and tribal leaders and honored guests and my fellow Arizonans. I had intended to deliver a state-of-the-state address to you today, remarks that outline an exciting and solid plan for job creation, education and tax reform. And I will deliver that plan to you. But not now. Not today. Tragedy and terror sometime comes from the shadows and steal our joy and take away our peace. That happened on Saturday when a gunman took away people we love, innocent people, and outstanding public servants like United States District Judge John M. Roll. Judge Roll had just come from the light of a Catholic mass, and confronted the darkness of a madman. The gunman gravely wounded others. People we love and respect, like Gabby Giffords, my good friend. This past weekend's events have caused me -- caused all of us -- to reflect on many things, including how we respond to those terrible events. First, our response to this tragedy must be led by prayer and comfort for the victims and their families. So, please join me in a moment of silence as we pray for all of those we've lost, for the injured and for those who are suffering. [silence] Thank you. With our faith and our courage tightly in place, we will step forward from this chamber dedicated to do the lord's work, continuing our service to the public. One year ago, from this very place, I told you I would serve beside you, proud to serve the people of Arizona. I said then that public service is acting not in self-interest, but on behalf of others. And I asked people to join me in the field. Gabby Giffords did join me in the field. And we worked together. Knowing that when our public service ended, we would be judged less by what we achieved than what we overcame. In addition to Judge Roll, Arizona also lost Dorothy Morris, Dorwan Stoddard, Phyllis Schneck and Gabriel Zimmerman. Let me take a moment to recognize the acts of extraordinary Arizonans who responded with professionalism and saved lives -- law enforcement, emergency responders, the Tucson medical community and the staff at the University Medical Center. Daniel Hernandez, a University of Arizona junior, showed no fear in the face of gunfire. His quick action in going to Gabby Giffords' aid likely saved her life. Daniel is here today and I'm going to ask him to stand and receive the thanks of a very grateful state. Daniel? [Applause] [Applause] It was a sunny Saturday at the supermarket in northwest Tucson. It was a picture of what our country is all about: Public servants doing their duty, citizens, old and young, coming to hear, coming to participate in the beauty of our government in action. We lost someone else on Saturday -- 9-year-old Christina Green, who was just elected to her student council. She was hoping to be a positive part of the future of America. And she has become just that. She loved baseball. She was the only girl on her little league baseball team and she loved to wear red, white and blue. I should tell you, Christina was born on September 11th, 2001. She thought of her birthday as a day of hope. A time to find goodness in America. And as her mother said, her light shines on all of us today. Saturday's events were not just an attack on those individuals we loved and lost, but an assault on our constitutional republic, on our democracy. On all we treasure and all hold dear as citizens and public servants. Arizona is in pain, yes. Our grief is profound. We are yet in the first hours of our sorrow, but we have not been brought down. We will never be brought down. [Applause] In fact, we've been lifted up by America's thoughts and prayers, and we're deeply grateful for them. Arizona, like all of America, has been through difficult times before. But those times have united us and made us stronger, more enduring. Let those of us who serve our state and country do so in a way that honors those that we have lost. Our meetings on sunny days will not end. Like the words from Isaiah, I believe Arizona will rise on wings like eagles. We will run and not get weary. We will walk and not grow weak. So, I ask for your help and your continued prayers as we step from here and guide this great state with courage and devotion. May God bless all the victims and their families and those suffering from Saturday's tragedy. May God bless those who serve us in the cause of freedom and justice. May He bless you and your families and the great state of Arizona. And may God always bless and protect the United States of America. Thank you [Applause]