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January 11, 2012

Host: Ted Simons

Arizona Congressional District 9 Candidate

  |   Video
  • A discussion with former State Senator Kyrsten Sinema who recently resigned that post to run for Arizona’s new Congressional District 9.
  • Kyrsten Sinema - former State Senator
Category: Government   |   Keywords: Congressional District 9, candidate,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: Former Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema recently quit the legislature to run for Arizona's new ninth congressional district. Today the Maricopa county board of supervisors named former state lawmaker David Lujan to fill out the rest of Sinema’s term. Here to talk about her decision to run for Congress is Kyrsten Sinema. Good to see you again and thanks for joining us.

Kyrsten Sinema: Good to be back.

Ted Simons: Why are you running?

Kyrsten Sinema: Well, I think that the real reason is that Washington just doesn't get it. Meanwhile, here in Arizona, people are losing their homes, jobs are scarce, and folks are seeing this happen, and worry if they are next. Congress is not doing anything to help it. In the midst of the biggest jobs crisis in my life's history, they didn't pass a jobs bill last year. I think that people are just angry, and upset that Washington is not doing anything to help them.

Ted Simons: What can Washington do to help them? Especially in this divided environment? What can you, what can you realistically do back there?

Kyrsten Sinema: The first thing that can be done is to end that division. I have a record of doing that in my seven years in the state legislature. I even wrote a book about it, about how to work with people across party lines and get things done, so that is step one, but step two is to find common sense, practical solutions to the problems we face, and investing in education, technology, and helping create jobs, and that's what needs to happen. Not the partisan bickering and fighting we are seeing now.

Ted Simons: What will you offer, though, that other democrats play not be able to offer and Republicans, who are not quite sure what's going to happen there, but this is a lively district. There is going to be good competition. What can you offer? What's different about you?

Kyrsten Sinema: I think that the first thing I offer is my experience. Not only have I served for seven years in this state fighting for Arizona families, but my own history as someone who has lived through tough times, helped me to understand and relate to the tough times that Arizonans are going through right now. The second thing is my ability, my, as the Arizona Republic calls it, remarkable ability to reach across the aisle and work with democrats and Republicans to solve problems.

Ted Simons: And any qualms about running for a seat, winning the seat, and then resigning from that seat? Not filling out that seat not finishing out the term? Because you have been criticized in some quarters for that. How do you respond?

Kyrsten Sinema: It was a difficult decision to leave the state Senate. I've been serving the residents of district 15 for seven years, and I mean, these people are part of my family. Very difficult to, to resign that seat. But I believe that if you are going to do something, you have to go 100% and give it all your heart and work. And I didn't feel like it would be fair to the residents of district 15 if I was both serving them and trying to run for another office at the same time. The honorable thing to do is to allow someone who can fill that need full time, and I think that person is David Lujan.

Ted Simons: Well, he's got the gig. And you mentioned Washington doesn't get it. Creating jobs. Helping families keep their homes. You also mentioned education and how Congress can help education. In a different way, I want to ask, how can Congress do all of these things? Because a lot of people right now say that there is too much of Congress trying to do some of these thing, and that's the problem. What do you say?

Kyrsten Sinema: Well, last year's Congress was the most ineffective Congress of my lifetime. And the truth is, that we do know that Congress can solve these problems because they have done it in the past. And this particular Congress has chosen to fight over petty issues instead of solve problems. And that could be solved if we simply got problem solvers into Congress. If people like myself on both sides of the aisle are serving in Congress, I feel pretty confident that we can solve these problems and move forward.

Ted Simons: The Republicans have come out saying that all you are going to be is a rubber stamp for President Barack Obama and any ideas the administration might have? How do you respond?

Kyrsten Sinema: Those who know me know I'm not a rubber stamp for anyone ever. The truth is that I have an independent nature, and you could see that through my history over the last seven years. I want to do what's right for Arizonans, and if that means joining with the Republicans to solve those problems, I will do it. If it means joining the democrats, I will do that, too.

Ted Simons: You agree with the Obama administration, plans for health care reform, the ideas for health care reform? You took part in that discussion. And I would imagine you think of the stimulus, was a wise thing, correct?

Kyrsten Sinema: Right, and the health care plan is not perfect by any means, but I go head-to-head to tell anyone about what the benefits are offered, so those individuals who want to repeal the law, I would ask them, what do you tell them, moms and dads of kids with autism who have health coverage today and not before. So I think what we have to realize is that while laws aren't perfect, it's our job to perfect those laws over time.

Ted Simons: So, ok, how do you respond to those who say that, that Obama's policy, the President's policies have crushed the middle class. That it's a complete failure. The debt is rising. And we're not a heck of a lot better, certainly not where we should be at this point after the great recession. What would you say?

Kyrsten Sinema: I would say it's very true that middle class families are being crushed and can't make it. And I would put the blame for that squarely on the shoulders of Congress. They had an opportunity to pass a jobs bill in 2011, and instead, they nearly, nearly brought us to the brink of default several times. Instead of working together, putting aside party ideology and solving problems.

Ted Simons: The idea of the stimulus, was that a good idea? Was it not enough stimulus? Was it too much stimulus? What did you think?

Kyrsten Sinema: I think we have to differentiate between the Wall Street bailout and the bank bailout, and the stimulus. So, I think that most of us would agree that these bailouts are bad because the bailouts allowed, you know, those who are already rich to get richer and did not do anything to help the middle class families. Stimulus, however, made a difference here in Arizona. For instance, we saved several billion of cuts to public education because of the stimulus dollars. So, we have to make sure that we understand those are two separate things.

Ted Simons: But, as far as the separate, not the bailout but the stimulus is concerned, wise policy?

Kyrsten Sinema: Absolutely. If we had not done that, Arizona's education system would have surveyed $3 billion more in cuts. Bad enough that we had $2 billion of cuts.

Ted Simons: Last question, Republican, national committee came out and said your record is too extreme for this particular congressional district. How do you respond?

Kyrsten Sinema: Well, I am happy to put my record up against anybody's record in this district. I've been a strong advocate for families, and for supporting middle class individuals in this district. And I will continue to do that as we run this campaign.

Ted Simons: It's good to see you. And thank you very much for joining us. We appreciate it.

Kyrsten Sinema: My pleasure.

Arizona Technology and Innovation: Innovation Awards

  |   Video
  • Meet some of the 2011 honorees from the annual Governor’s Celebration of Innovation awards ceremony sponsored by the Arizona Technology Council.
  • Birgit Musheno - Innovation Teacher of the Year
  • Aakash Jain - Future Innovator
  • Rajet Vatsa - Future Innovator
Category: Technology   |   Keywords: innovation awards, Arizona Technology Council,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: Tonight horizon's focus on technology and innovation looks at the Governor's celebration of innovation awards recognizing the best of the best in high school science and engineering fairs. Award winners were announced by the Arizona technology council. We'll hear from the teacher of the year and a couple of future innovators, but first here's a look at two of the winning projects.

Aakash Jain: My project sought to understand the properties of garlic, the growth inventory effects that garlic has on the proliferation of e-coli, and in addition, I wanted to understand garlic treatment individual relationship, if any, with levofalxacin, and so I was looking for innovation of growth, and I tested three forms of garlic, which were cooking powder, powder obtained from capsules taken as supplements, and fresh garlic respectively. And with my positive control- levofloxacin, which is a common antibiotic used to treat severe bacterial infections. I wanted to understand three things -- the individual anti-bacterial properties of these three garlic treatments. I tested garlics one, two, and three at two varying concentrations, and in doing so, I was able to establish what's called a minimum inhibitory concentration. Second, I also wanted to understand its role in synergy. The sum is greater than the parts in their anti-bacterial activities. And thirdly, I wanted to look at drug resistance. Because my experiments showed that resistance is more likely to occur with garlic versus some other antibiotics, I think it made my research much more applicable and practical. And something that I think that I have gained from doing experiments like these is an appreciation of research. If I do become a medical doctor, I would like to still be able to do clinical and pure research in fields such as these, micro biology, biology. It's all very fascinating.

Rajet Vasta: I constructed a reactor that allows you to cultivate algae, so I figured why don't I test four species of desert algae that grow in the local area, second, see if we can produce biofuel and oil from those sources. And I designed the reactors, to cultivate the algae and produce biofuel. I made the photo reactor out of 24 water bottles. Each of those has a certain amount of algae in them. And then I broke the test into a Carbon Dioxide test and a nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium test. There is a Carbon Dioxide tank attached, and it cycles Carbon Dioxide throughout the reactor, which allows the algae to take in the nutrients synthesize it, and grow from there. I ran the test three times, and it was a process of two weeks. So the first week was allowing the algae to sit and get adapted to the environment. And then I cycled in the Carbon Dioxide and other nutrients in there for the next week, and after two weeks, to actually extract the biofuel, I microwaved the algae so I could heat up and excite the cells, and then I used the French press just as you extract the essential oils from coffee beans, I decided I could extract the oils from algae. And with half a minute of warming it, I was able to extract 20 microliters of oil from each of the algae species. I just tested it at 24 water bottles, and 90 microliters of algae total, which is not a lot, with the yield I got was four times as much as I started in just two weeks. I really want to become a neurosurgeon or a cardiac surgeon, and then I would like to provide free medical care to rural communities around the world.

Ted Simons: And here now to talk about their awards are Birgit Musheno, an honor's biology and biotechnology teacher at Desert Vista High School in Phoenix. Aakash Jain, and Rajet Vatsa, both students, faculty, Brophy Prep, in Phoenix. My goodness. Thanks for joining us.

Birgit Musheno: Thank you.

Ted Simons: I want to start with you. Were you surprised by this honor?

Birgit Musheno: I was surprised. It was a very pleasant surprise. Yes.

Ted Simons: And as far as being teacher of the year, what do you try to instill into students? And how do you get those minds to wrap themselves around? It's a heavy concept.

Birgit Musheno: It is a heavy concept. I think really, it's just that I feel passionate about it. I think it's fascinating and interesting, so I try to convey that to my students. And show them the real world applications of the science that we learn, and the ability to solve problems using the science.

Ted Simons: And Aakash Jain, as far as this project and this Avenue, why did you go this direction? Something you've been thinking about for a while?

Aakash Jain: Yeah. I had strong interest in microbiology, and I wanted to investigate and do a project on that. But, specifically, I wanted to look at, at the traditional herbs and spices that, that have been shown to have anti-microbial properties, or at least in myth they have, and so I wanted to understand the scientific evidence, behind that, and so, that's why I chose to, to do this project.

Ted Simons: And Rajet Vatsa, what about you? Were you interested in biofuels all along? Or vehicles, or what got you going here?

Rajet Vatsa: Well, the thing that got me going was I was watching this Exxon Mobil commercial, on how they were using blue green algae as sources of biofuel, and reading how the fossil fuels we use are about to deplete, so to find an alternative source of energy, so, my biology teacher in ninth grade got me going and looking towards algae, and I went to Casa Grande and grabbed a few species, four species actually and began to test different nutrient sources to test the biofuel liquid output.

Ted Simons: My goodness. Sophomore at Brophy correct, a sophomore at Brophy?
Aakash Jain: Yes.
Rajet Vatsa: Correct.

Ted Simons: Ok, do your classmates have any idea what you are doing?

Rajet Vatsa: Um, well, I would say a lot of my classmates are as intelligent if not more intelligent than me. Brophy is a fantastic school, so they have a lot of like minded individuals, and it's, I mean, the classroom environment gives me an ability to challenge myself, work harder, and see what I can perform.

Ted Simons: And same with you, do, I mean, it's one thing to say you are working on an experiment and you are doing and that with spices and trying to figure out medicinal qualities, but do they get what you are doing?

Aakash Jain: No, I agree with Rajet, Brophy provides a great atmosphere, and environment for this kind of stuff. The teachers are phenomenal. And inspiring and encouraging students, faculty, and my fellow classmates, as well. It's a great, a great environment.

Ted Simons: And it helps having a good home environment. Parents enjoy this stuff. This recognition came with proud parents.

Aakash Jain: Yeah, definitely. Definitely.

Ted Simons: And same thing Rajet, this kind of thing is encouraged?

Rajet Vatsa: My parents give me support through everything I do, and this is a big surprise and pleasure for all of us.

Ted Simons: And at Desert Vista High School, do you find the same thing, if you just get to a certain level, get that interest going, and everything kind of follows?

Birgit Musheno: Yeah, and one of the really cool things, we, one of the things that I did that helped to earn me this award was to develop a biotechnology program at the school. And we have a lot of interest in math and science in our community. A lot of the parents work at, at companies like Intel, and so, that community interest and, and it was really the students that wanted the program. So, I would offer one class and they wanted another, so, it's really nice to see that the interest is coming from the students themselves rather than something from the top down that we do.

Ted Simons: And I don't know how many years have you been teaching?

Birgit Musheno: I’ve been teaching since 1997.

Ted Simons: Ok. Are you seeing a difference in students as the years progress, or have -- this has always been the situation as it stands now?

Birgit Musheno: I feel like more students are interested in science and math. But we have had strong interests in our community. But I have never had so many kids signing up for competitions in science, and taking so many classes.

Ted Simons: Yeah. And the competition helps, doesn't it? It gives it a little extra push, I would imagine?

Aakash Jain: Yeah, definitely. I think the best parted is meeting other students with similar interests and learning about their projects and what they have been doing. And I attended ISEF competition in Los Angeles, California, and that was an incredible experience, so yeah, I definitely agree.

Ted Simons: Picked your college out? You are still a sophomore. You have time. Any ideas?

Aakash Jain: Not really. It's pretty wide open.

Ted Simons: Anything goes. How about you, any ideas for college so far?

Rajet Vatsa: No, same as Aakash. Just looking at everything. Waiting for options as they arise.

Ted Simons: Well, it sounds great, and great stuff. Congratulations to all. My goodness. It's a very, very impressive, and continue good work.

Aakash Jain: Thank you very much.

Rajet Vatsa: Thank you.
Birgit Musheno: Thank you.

Legislative Update

  |   Video
  • The Arizona Capitol Times provides a mid-week update on news from the Arizona State Legislature.
  • Luige Del Puerto - Arizona Capitol Times
Category: Legislature   |   Keywords: legislature, update,

View Transcript

Ted Simons: Good evening and welcome to "Arizona Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. The author of Arizona's Senate Bill 1070 is endorsing Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney. In a press release Romney said he is proud to have the support of Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. Romney also is looking forward to helping states like Arizona in the fight against illegal immigration. State Senator Ron Gould announced he is running for Congress in Arizona's fourth congressional district. Gould will face Penal County Sheriff Paul Babeu and Congressman Paul Gosar in a district that covers mostly rural areas in central and western Arizona. The Arizona legislature session started this week. Every Wednesday during the 2 session, we will partner with the Arizona Capitol times to bring you the latest on the legislative front, and joining us now from the Arizona Capitol times is Luige del Puerto. Thanks for joining us.

Luige del Puerto: Thanks for having me.

Ted Simons: Alright, we're off and we’re running. The Governor's speech got things started. What did she say and what did she not say?

Luige del Puerto: The governor really set a tone, a sort of a triumphant tone and didn't really talk much about policy. We'll find out most of that this Friday when she lays out her budget plan. She did talk about, about Arizona celebrating its 100 years. It was a huge theme in her speech. And she did mention one thing that she wants to do. She wants to buy back the state's Senate and house buildings, including the executive power, which we have to help us raise the funds during the worst fiscal crisis.

Ted Simons: And obviously, whether she talks about that, you are talking about extra money. The budget surplus, that's the bigy at the capitol, correct?

Luige del Puerto: The big issue still is going to be what to do with the budget, and more specifically, what to do with this extra money, of course, that people don't call it extra money. We have Senate President Steve Pierce saying that's money already spent. The fact is, we will get money above what we budgeted for this year.

Ted Simons: What are the ideas out there?

Luige del Puerto: Well, the big ones would be pay off the debt, which would include buying back the state buildings, and another would be setting it aside for, for fiscal year 2014, which by that time, we will not be getting revenues from a temporary sales tax. That sales tax expires in about two years.

Ted Simons: We got new leadership down there. Talk to us about who is now leading the house and Senate, and how they differ from previous leaders.

Luige del Puerto: Well, let’s start with the senate. We know have a rancher, a bona fide cowboy, if you will, in Steve Pierce, and he's a very conservative lawmaker but also pragmatic. The senate majority leader, Andy Biggs, a lawmaker from the east valley. And on the house side we have speaker Andy Tobin, from the northern part of Arizona. And incidentally, he's from the same district as Steve Pierce, and then the majority leader is, of course, Steve Port.

Ted Simons: So rural interests will get more attention, I would think, down there with these two guys in leadership?

Luige del Puerto: I guess the way it works is that they will not be left out as much as they have been in the past.

Ted Simons: Ok. And as far as leadership working with this Governor. 29 vetoes last session? A record? Are we expecting to see that much today in terms of veto action this time?

Luige del Puerto: And it's not just a veto, after the vetoes, they wrangled over the unemployment spending and benefits. They did not agree on, on what to do with the IRC. And so, you know, the last year was quite a, quite rocky for the Governor and the legislature. And interestingly, and the Governor's speech, there was a lot of positive feedback from, from the, from the Republican lawmakers. Including one who praised the speech and said it was the best one he's ever heard, and the vetoes, I guess we'll fine it out.

Ted Simons: What is the impact? It's obvious we've been running into an election year, what is that impact on, on legislation that might be introduced after all, some folks want to introduce things to make sure that their name is associated with it whether it comes to election time, and impact of elections on the length of the session, and impact of folks looking to be elected to another position. How does that play in down there?

Luige del Puerto: Typically, if it's an election year, like this year, it will be a much harder session. There will be pressure. Sometime later in March, and maybe even April, but that's, you know, folks are pushing it. And there are -- lawmakers right now who are running for Congress, and they will want to get home, go back to the district and start campaigning, so I think that we will see the typical bills that, that get introduced every year, but there will be more emphasis in them, and we'll probably see some controversial bills. I am not sure if they are going to go anywhere, but it's always good for someone to, to go back to their district and say, I introduced this measure, and I fought, I fought the big fight.

Ted Simons: You fought the good fight there. And we're seeing that another birther bill is going to be introduced? Karlfield?

Luige del Puerto: Birther bill, we expect some immigration measures, as well. Ron Gould is thinking of introducing another gun bill. We'll see those typical controversial bills, if you will, but whether they will get out, I think, is a big question, of course. The Governor also vetoed the birther bill, so, it's easy.

Ted Simons: And as far as democrats, obviously, they are very much in the minority down there. And what can they do? I know that they want excess money spent on education. I know that they are looking-at-an idea for the budget surplus, maybe to help small businesses and, and to rework the tax code in these, and these things, close loopholes. We have heard that before. Is any of that going to get traction down there?

Luige del Puerto: Well, it really depends on the Republicans. It depends on, on specifically the Senate and house leadership, and how they want to deal with it. If they open the door and say, we'll talk tour guys. We might -- well, I'm assuming we will not see the two sitting down, as caucuses, and looking at the budge, but we might, at least in the Senate side, he has an open door policy, and the democrat can come in, and I guess the best way for democrats is we'll still be able to work with Republicans and get their, their ideas pushed that way.

Ted Simons: Ok. Overall mood at the Capitol. From, from the opening day, the Governor's speech, to what you are seeing today, it has to be a little lighter because, because there can't be much more in the way of cutting.

Luige del Puerto: Well, I should say, this year, well, most likely will be less painful than the previous three or four years. And this is a year where, where we're going to have a bit of extra money. The fight will be not on her whether she fund transplant services, for example, or pull out funding for the mentally ill. It will be over, on her where to put the money, and, and whether to set it aside for the fiscal clip, we just talked about, so it will be, will be less painful.

Ted Simons: Less painful, but again, the Governor is saying, she doesn't want to see restoration of funds. Two things that have been cut.

Luige del Puerto: And, and she's not only the person who said that. We have Republican lawmakers who have said that we don't want to increase spending. We did see the Senate leaders, recently, basically, say that, that we are open to, to restoring the split in the retirement contribution, and it used to be that they increased the contribution rates, and they said well, it's restored through the 50-50 split. So, already, we are seeing them, at least open to some sort of restoration.

Ted Simons: Interesting. Good stuff Luige, and thanks for joining us.

Luige del Puerto: Thank you.