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January 21, 2014

Host: Ted Simons

Congressman Schweikert

  |   Video
  • Arizona Republican Representative David Schweikert will talk about the latest issues facing Congress.
  • David Schweikert - Republican Representative, Arizona
Category: Government   |   Keywords: government, arizona, republican, representative, congress,

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Ted Simons: Coming up next on "Arizona Horizon" -- Congressman David Schweikert will be in studio to discuss the latest from capitol hill and we'll hear about an Arizona family that helped shape western agribusiness and water policy. Those stories next on "Arizona Horizon."

Narrator: "Arizona Horizon" may possible by contributions from the friends of , members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

Ted Simons: Good evening. I'm Ted Simons. Crowd-funding and climate change are two of the issues Congressman David Schweikert will be focused on in coming months. Joining us now is Republican representative David Schweikert of Arizona's th congressional district.

David Schweikert: Always my idea of fun.

Ted Simons: I want to get to crowd-funding and climate change but immigration reform is so important to us here in Arizona and I know things are happening. It seems like will things be happening this year on immigration?

David Schweikert: In many ways that's the binary question. Do we move forward or not? I think there's a collective understanding of current law not working. It's why we have the problems we have. The house has already passed multiple times stem legislation for high-tech, high education type thesis. The decision its moving toward do we redo that and move that subject area by subject area.

Ted Simons: I know piecemeal is pejorative, but it sounds as though the Senate bill, which really does not have any chance of passing in to to as it stands, it sounds, you tell me, as if the speaker of the house says maybe we can look at this on a piecemeal basis.

David Schweikert: What has shocked me is how many folks who visit me are advocates for immigration reform yet they have no idea what's in , some of the problem issues and the mechanics. Let's face it, when you do a bill that's about that thick there's going to be a lot of mechanical errors in it. Because of that, mechanically working through it subject by subject in the AG section stands strong and fairly functional on its own. We already have a history in the house of working on the high-tech pieces, the stem pieces. With some of those you have building blocks to at least do where there's agreement. There are going to be other areas that are much more controversial. You have sort of extremes particularly in the activist community that want everything or nothing. Realty I think they have really hurt the cause that they were ultimately working for by some of the tactics that have taken place this year.

Ted Simons: The path to citizenship. Are you against a path to citizenship?

David Schweikert: It's hard for me to rationalize the path to citizenship when we have so many people around the world lined up and have been going through the proper channels of following the mechanics. In some ways there seems something diss honorable about leaping ahead of them.

Ted Simons: even with the requirements put in place by the Senate bill?

David Schweikert: Even with the requirements particularly some of the mechanics because of the way there are items within 744 that can be gained.

Ted Simons: With that in mind, what about it's okay for some of these folks to stay in the country but no citizenship. Legalization as opposed to citizenship?

David Schweikert: There you start to go through the mechanics and a lot of the work that has to happen. Do you get to stay because you have a sponsorship in your job? Because you have certain talent? Remember, the real fight underlying immigration in Washington and this has been for years is what will the system look like. Will we stay with a familial family sponsorship system? Are we going to move toward what Canada, New Zealand, great Britain has moved to, which is a talent based system, in many ways a points system? The realty this system maximizes economic growth. And we deal with our fundamental issues in this country. How do you pay for Medicare in the future? How do you deal with the baby boom retirement age? Economic growth and the things that stimulate that have to be the focus. immigration falls into that over all debate.

Ted Simons: last point on this, some would see economics as a focus. Others say breaking up families, watching families get hit hard. That's their focus. Can those two points of focus merge?

David Schweikert: It's going to be difficult. You would love to use flowerly language that says we will provide love and respect for the family unit but the definition of familial relationships in today's law is about 67 family members you get to sponsor. Would the activist community and others say it should be the most immediate part of the family? That's where a lot of that side of the debate is. On the other side is what is best for the country. What maximizes our nation's future.

Ted Simons: bottom line you think something might happen this year?

David Schweikert: I think some incremental movement will happen. My guess is it will frustrate activists on both sides.

Ted Simons: well, that probably means something good is going to have if all sides have a problem with it I know this is a big deal for you, the concept of crowd-funding and regulations. First, what is crowd-funding?

David Schweikert: Okay, equity crowd-funding is sort of a simple, almost egalitarian idea of you want to set up your cupcake shop. You make great cupcakes. How do you raise capital for it? In today's environment walking into your local community bank may be difficult, but how about the idea of finding an intermediary, here's my business plan, here's my idea. I need $100,000. I need $200,000. You're able to raise it through the internet in small increments. There's a series of restrictions on what those investments can be and dollar amounts of the investments of the individual. The idea has two very powerful things. One, it creates a proof of concept. The community, people that know this product, know this subject area, can take little bits of risk and invest. The second thing is it makes the ability for you to be an entrepreneur much more available to the person who starts the business in their basement or their garage or kitchen.

Ted Simons: Yet it sounds as though the Feds are saying there's also potential for fraud there. Maybe I'm saying I'm making cupcakes but I'm hanging out at the local resort. Maybe you as an investor aren't as sharp as you think you are and are not diversified enough to protect yourself. Should those regulations be considered?

David Schweikert: One of the beauties and concepts of crowd sourcing of information and raising money, which equity crowd-funding is, you have lots of participants. You can say here's people writing about this. This is a bad inV.. This is brilliant. Information is the ultimate sunshine as a regulator. We already know the security exchange commission controls regulatory environment often catches the bad guys after the bad acts have happened. Our great hope for those of us working on what will the next generation of capital funding look like, how do we use information to keep investors safe.

Ted Simons: what you're pushing for is less in terms of regulation, in tterms of reporting.

David Schweikert: there's a rule proposed you have until February 3rd to make comments on it and our great concern is if you raise over certain amounts of money as a start-up business, the cost of doing audited financials, the cost of hiring lawyers, cost of compliance, the actual cost of your money starts to get in the , 20-30%. At that point you would be almost better off going on your credit card and taking the miles.

Ted Simons: Is there a way to protect against fraud, to protect investors without going that far?

David Schweikert: I believe there is. I'm going to give the SEC credit because they seem to be listening to our concerns. The trick is finding a balance. Here's my business plan, here's the information, here's some of our betting, but also how you create the chain of liability is the site that hosts your offering. Are they liable if you make a mistake? So there's a number of those things. This should be more than just you raising money. It also -- how about a particular ethnic or business community or specialty industry also wanted to help start-ups. They should also be able to use these platforms. The idea is a new generation of how we raise money, how businesses get started.

Ted Simons: before you go now, I know you're the new chair of the house sciences committee subcommittee on environment. Talk about that, quickly, if you could. Again, sounds like the climate change initiative is something you are looking at and are concerned about.

David Schweikert: One of my reasons I believe I have been given the subcommittee chairmanship is I must have annoyed someone. This is a fact-based oversight committee. If EPA is going to do a rule set they need to share their data with everyone. Whether it be on the right, the left, academic, if someone in their basement has a good computer and wants to see the raw data set and build a model. Part of the goal I have here is not to approach it from an ideological standpoint but a very methodical, factual standpoint. Not to get sort of quantity on it but how to you make rules for the public yet keep the data, the science behind the rules, secret? That's actually a lot of what we have to investigate.

Ted Simons: Navajo generating station obviously is a major factor up there as well. Thoughts on that and especially the idea that the EPA plan, I'm pretty sure you're against the plan, yet there seems to be an alternative with CAP, SRP-- environmental groups involved in an alternative plan shutting down one of the plants. Talk to us about that is that not compromise in its truest form?

David Schweikert: That was less of a compromise in the mechanics with the EPA, more of a compromise because Nevada power backed out of their participation, California is walking away. So we're going to have a certain amount of idle capacity. In many ways it was why don't we trade this off. It wasn't a compromise on the PM type calculations. We can't find the facts based in the scientific study. Much of our goal in the subcommittee is to just make sure whether it be Department of Energy, EPA, those, if you're going to create regulatory schemes, let's just make sure that the chain of research is accurate, everywhere from a monitoring site to internal sampling sets. As a lawyer you have a chain of title on a piece of real estate, you also have chains of data. How it is stressed and what happens within that.

Ted Simons: In the alternative group says we can cut emissions by 33% are they working out of thin air? Facts that are unstable?

David Schweikert: In some ways you're making my argument. All data that's being used to create public policy I believe belongs to the public. It should be scrutinized, it should be treated fairly. And ultimately the final decision, the final outcome to that tells us is what it is. Right now we actually have a situation where, and the EPA -- look, the science committee has had to do subpoenas on the EPA to actually make public, to hand over data that they are making decisions that will cost the country billions and billions and billions of dollars. That data belongs to the public.

Ted Simons: good to see you. Thanks for joining us.

David Schweikert: It's been fun.

Historian/Author Jack August

  |   Video
  • Arizona historian and author Jack August will discuss his latest work, “The Norton Trilogy," the story of three generations of Arizona's Norton family and their impact on western water supplies and policies.
  • Jack August - Arizona Historian and Author
Category: Education   |   Keywords: education, book, arizona, author, historian, western, water, supplies, policies, family,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: The Norton trilogy is a new book that chronicles the lives and achievements of an Arizona family that helped define western agribusiness and water policy. Arizona historian Jack August is here to tell us more about his book and the legacy left by three generations of John R. Nortons. It's good to have you back.

Jack August: nice to see you.

Ted Simons: I want to get to the Nortons, all three of them in a second, but it seems this is as much a book about Arizona and west as about a family.

Jack August: it really is. In many ways the Nortons are kind of a metaphor of the growth of Arizona, the southwest, and in many ways a national story of the settlement and growth and development of the American west.

Ted Simons: who is John Ruddell Norton, I?

Jack August: He was a mule skinner. A hard worker. An equine specialist, but he became W.R. Murphy's right hand man. Anyone that knows the old history of Phoenix knows that Murphy, the Murphy bridle path is named after him. He helped develop the early kind of corporate water development before the newlands reclamation act of was passed. He helped, for example, John Norton was a Foreman on the Arizona canal, 40 -mile long canal that was a game changer. Completed in 1884-1885. He was also one of the three people that discovered the location of what is now Roosevelt dam. We call it the Tonto reservoir site, back in 1989.

Ted Simons: And he was there to see that dam dedicated.

Jack August: Yes, he was there when Theodore Roosevelt rode up and they fired the shots and gave those wonderful speeches.

Ted Simons: rough and tumble guy, innovative sort of fella. John Ruddell Norton, Jr., who was he?

Jack August: He was the son born in 1901, grew up when Phoenix union, they would float their inner tubes from Phoenix down to the home. His father died in 1923, and I think he was then a sophomore of the University of Arizona. He had to take over the desk really so he went through one bankruptcy, then in 1923 went through a second. He had a rough time. But through grit and a little bit of luck he became part of the produce gang, the , period, which irrigated agriculture in both the west and east valleys, became prominent.

Ted Simons: Indeed. Very big in produce. So much -- I think it's fascinating to see that success coming during the depression, during pretty rough times.

Jack August: boy, very lucky, in fact he moved out to Cashion, Arizona, and ran a grocery store to feed his young child, John Norton III, born in . What a time to be born. He happens to be with us still.

Ted Simons: indeed. John Norton, Jr., went into cattle as well.

Jack August: Yes. He went into cattle when things got better, World War II fixed a lot of things for produce grow growers and you have the likes of John Norton, kemper Marley, Martoris, those names will be familiar to people during that part of the century.

Ted Simons: how was Junior different from senior?

Jack August: Senior was kind of a busy body. He got involved in politics. He was from Kentucky originally. A states rights Democrat tried to rival Carl Hayden back in the day. Then John Norton, Jr., wasn't as politically active but active enough, still a Democrat but had a little F.D.R. fatigue. He becomes head of the Democrats for Wilkie in 1940 . The shift is on.

Ted Simons: Which brings us to John Norton, III, who was a Stanford educated rodeo rider?

Jack August: Yes. His mother went to Stanford. His father, he had a choice. He wanted to major in agriculture. At the time Stanford didn't have an AG degree, so he came back to the U of A, studied agricultural economics, very good student. Business. Animal husbandry. John knew that industry back and forth, so he went into that field. He was a rodeo rider, captain of the U. of A. rodeo team. The picture of John roping a calf in 1950 .

Ted Simons: isn't that something? Again, focused on modern farming and crop diversity. They were all very much a product of their times. Technology was really starting to ramp up.

Jack August: it really did. John soon -- John Norton, III, realized that Arizona and central Arizona, he was farming and all those guys that the wells were going dry, so many Arizonans went to the other side of the river where the perfected rights, the Colorado river were preeminent. Palo Verde irrigation district. After serving a stint in the Korean war he returned realized he couldn't make a living as a rodeo rider and with all the cattle interests newspaper northern Arizona that the father had grown, John, Jr., he decided to take a chance in Blythe and spent years from1955 to 72 ' developing that area as his base point, but he grew that business to northern California, Southern California, west Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado. He became probably the biggest agribusiness Titan in the American southwest.

Ted Simons: with that kind of resume also served in the Reagan administration.

Jack August: Yes. He became head of a group of organizations like the western growers of America, United fruit and vegetable growers. He made some innovative changes and actually changed some of the laws and he became very influential nationally and by the time of Reagan's second administration in 1974 he asked John Norton to serve as deputy Secretary of Agriculture. It was back in the day when we had a mixed delegation of Senator Goldwater, Senator Deconcini, everyone rallied around him. Democrats were in control of the Senate and he went through a difficult or unusual set of hearings to be confirmed but ultimately was confirmed.

Ted Simons: Again, he's still with us. How does he differ from Junior, differ from senior?

Jack August: Well, he shares with the senior he shares his political engagement, though he never ran for elective office. He served and given the fact that they were very, very good business people, both Junior and the third, John now supports candidates like perhaps the person who preceded me, congressman Schweikert, the Goldwater Institute. He's a supporter of that organization. At the same time he has been very philanthropic with the University of Arizona, the Phoenix art museum, a variety of health care initiatives, St. Joseph's hospital and others.

Ted Simons: why isn't the Norton name better known? I would think the name would ring a bell. Why isn't it better known?

Jack August: I think one of the reasons is that none of them in Arizona none of them ran for -- they ran for elective office with John, senior, but he won once,in the 1896 election for County supervisor. After that that was the ends of his political career. He was poking around but because they did not attain elective office, they served kind of behind the scenes, and supported other political and economic agendas.

Ted Simons: That obviously makes for a good subject if there's an important family out there that has not had this kind of attention for an author, this is a gold mine. Why did you decide to write the book?

Jack August: Well, one, some people approached me about it. It was an untold story and that's one of the things that historians and nonfiction writers, even fiction writers do is that they find the story that has not been told and this was really a compelling one, over three generations, starting from the ground up. John R. Norton, senior, had nothing. He helped grade the atlantic-Pacific railroad from Kingman to Albuquerque, then later on helped develop grand avenue. That was another W. J. Murphy scheme and he was one of the foremen back at the turn of the 20th century to open up the western area of Maricopa County to produce development.

Ted Simons: So with this in mind, did anything change as you were researching this family and as you were doing your writing, did you have one image here and wind up with one there?

Jack August: Yes, it really changed. It was really very, very surprising. Also, you had the theme of growth, economic development, resolved this. Was a very hostile environment and all three John Nortons struggled in their own separate, distinctive ways to forge a living here in the American southwest. So by the time John Norton III is mid career, back in the day when there was much more political civility, you have John Norton advising then governor Bruce Babbitt or Senator Dennis Deconcini, getting along well with Congressman Morris Udall. They shared a good sense of humor those two. So that's one of the takeaways as things changed and grew.

Ted Simons: when reading the book one takeaway was this is not a family allergic to hard work.

Jack August: No. No. hours days. As a kid one time John Norton III told me his dad even though they had a ranch he worked summers from age 14, learned how to herd cattle. His dad never let him go to the Prescott rodeo days because it was too much fun, perhaps.

Ted Simons: Great work on this. Congratulations on the book. Thank you so much for joining us.

Jack August: Thank you.