Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

January 7, 2009


Host: Ted Simons

Secretary of State Jan Brewer

  |   Video
  • Arizona Secretary of State Jan Brewer will be elevated to the position of governor once Governor Janet Napolitano is confirmed as U. S. Secretary of Homeland Security. Brewer joins Ted Simons to talk about her transition to the 9th floor.
Guests:
  • Jan Brewer - Governor of Arizona


View Transcript
Ted Simons:
Tonight on "Horizon" -- She is the fifth Secretary of State to take over as governor. Tonight, Secretary of State Jan Brewer on "Horizon" to talk about her upcoming term in office. That's coming up next on "Horizon."

Announcer:
"Horizon" is made possible from contributions from the friends of Eight, members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

Ted Simons:
Hello and welcome to "Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. Jan Brewer, a Republican, was first elected to the Arizona House in 1982. She served in the legislature in both the House and Senate for 14 Years. After that, she was on the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors for six years. In 2002, Brewer was elected as Secretary of State, and is now poised to become the 22nd person to serve as governor of Arizona. Arizona's Secretary of State is next in line to become governor, and Brewer will take over after Governor Janet Napolitano's expected confirmation as Homeland Security Secretary. Joining us now is Arizona Secretary of State, Jan Brewer. Good to have you on program. Thanks for joining us.

Jan Brewer:
Thank you, Ted. I'm honored to be here with you.

Ted Simons:
Thank you. Are you ready for this? I mean this is something.

Jan Brewer:
I am ready. You know, it could have been on different circumstances, it could have been a time maybe when Arizona was flourishing. Unfortunately, we're facing crisis of a magnitude that the people of Arizona has not seen in the history. You know. But I'm ready. I'm preparing myself and I'm looking to go and right the ship.

Ted Simons:
How do you -- from the Secretary of State's office, how do you prepare for succession to the Governor's office?

Jan Brewer:
It's interesting; Arizona doesn't have a Lieutenant Governor. The present governor, Governor Napolitano is of a different political party so we haven't worked that close together. When we knew this was going to happen, I had to surround myself with a great transition team that would help lead me into that learning process and we have received briefing books from the -- from governor Napolitano on the staff and we're reviewing all of them and we're out vetting people to help me on the ninth floor, and with those kind of issues and Directors that might or might not be replacing some of the existing administration. So we're putting our nose to the grindstone and working hard and long hours and very, very diligently.

Ted Simons:
Compare and contrast -- let's take the last two governors, Governor Hall and Governor Napolitano. Compare and contrast what you want to do in office with their administrations

Jan Brewer:
That's hard to compare because the times always change. Having served in the legislature, I know there's good and there are bad times but I think under my circumstances now, I am faced with a financial crisis that we're going to have to deal with. And certainly want to work very closely and listen. And -- to both sides of the aisle and legislature. You know, we together can solve those kind of issues and certainly my goal is to solve The budget crisis and then first And foremost, to come in and bring the economy back the best way that we can and bring new jobs into the state of Arizona. I mean, we need to revitalize in Arizona. So the people of Arizona have a good life. I mean, that's what it's all about, you know.

Ted Simons:
The reason I ask the question, there are some who are concerned and suggest that because of the succession that you would be obligated to continue with some of the ideas of Governor Napolitano since she was voted into office. Your thoughts on that.

Jan Brewer:
When I ran for Secretary of State, I gave full disclosure and I said in Arizona we don't have a lieutenant governor, so when you vote for the Secretary Of state, you're voting for the second highest office in the State. If something happens to the Governor, it's the Secretary of State that moves up and fills that position and it's happened in Arizona, and we're only one of four states that don't have a Lieutenant Governor. I thought people should know that because we're a growing state and people coming from other states don't understand that. But, no, I don't believe I have to follow through with the policies that have set forward. I'm not saying I won't. I'm sure there's some that remain. Some that won't. But we operate in a political arena and I ran as a Republican as Secretary of State and Governor Napolitano as a Democrat. So philosophically we're different.

Ted Simons:
You had talked about the succession in the past and about that scenario in the past and you have pushed for the Lieutenant Governor position in the past.

Jan Brewer:
I have.

Ted Simons:
But you wrote an op-ed piece that frustrates the will of the voters and Arizonans deserve a Governor that continues the same general policies as the Governor-elect. Do you still feel that way?

Jan Brewer:
I think the premise still stands. In Arizona, yeah, it sort of does, but the people of Arizona have chosen to handle it in that manner and it's not like it hasn't happened. They know as we go back and forth through these transitions that's going to happen. I introduced legislation eight or nine times during my 14 years to really get out and talk about Lieutenant Governor. I got it to the ballot one time. It was overwhelmly defeated by the people of Arizona and here it's happened again and it was [inaudible]. I truly believe that Arizona needs a lieutenant governor.

Ted Simons:
Again, the reason I'm going down this path, because we have Democrats that show up on the program and Democrats, especially, but there's some who liked the current governor who are concerned when you get into Office, what she was trying to build up, you'll tear down. Your response.

Jan Brewer:
I'm sorry they feel that way because I have a long reputation of working across the aisle with everybody and trying to solve problems. Everybody that gets elected as a public official runs to make Arizona a better place to live and everybody wants the best for the state. And I think that if you reach out across the aisle, you embrace everybody and together -- and that's what I Intend to do -- together, to work, to solve the problems. And we're not always going to agree. I don't always agree with my Republican colleagues but I believe I have a reputation of embracing people and reaching across the aisle. I've met with Democratic leadership and Republican leadership and we'll work together on all the issues everybody is concerned about.

Ted Simons:
And that goes to another concern in that some saw a Democrat in the governor's chair as something of a balancing act to Republican legislature and now they're saying the G.O.P. Legislative leadership might run the show now that you're in the Governor's chair.

Jan Brewer:
I don't think that's true. I think that my background of having served in the legislature and served in leadership, I understand that you do -- you have to work with everyone. You have to just -- you just reach out and embrace those people and their issues. You know, I think everybody knows what the issues are. Everybody understands the problems they want to solve. And they just go about it maybe in a different way. So we come together. You know, and we have an open office. I'm going to be accessible and I hope that they feel that when all is done and finished that we have served the people of Arizona fairly and squarely.

Ted Simons:
We just had the State Treasurer on the program and first of all, do you buy what he's saying and secondly, what do we do?

Jan Brewer:
I do, I do believe that Treasurer Martin has got good data and he's not crying Chicken Little. I think that we are going to run out of money and it's unbelievable. I don't have any idea how that happened. I don't think we've ever had to go and borrow money from a bank In order to fulfill our responsibilities and obligations and we'll continue to monitor that and watch that and it's interesting because I know that everybody is looking toward the new presidential administration for money to come in to kind of supplement what we need to solve some issues as a lot of states are. And so, you know, I think Treasurer Martin is right on target.

Ted Simons:
The governor's office says he's emphasizing a worst case scenario and what he is saying is not true or will not work out, line out.

Jan Brewer:
Well, you know, we all are reading the same -- same data, all reading and getting the same kinds of information and I think that that's hopeful on their behalf that they think that it's going to turn around that quick. We're facing a $1.2 billion, maybe $1.4 billion deficit for 2009 and then moving into 2010 where it could be $2 billion -- Another $2 billion. That's a lot of money. No matter how quickly the economy turns around, that money won't be there to satisfy our responsible debts we have to pay.

Ted Simons:
How did we get there?

Jan Brewer:
I keep asking myself. Off the cuff, we all presumed it happened because so many things are mandated that we've got to provide certain services. I think they took projections of revenue that were much higher than reasonable and started spending the money and the revenue just simply didn't come in and here we are.

Ted Simons:
The governor says on this program that when they got to office there was such a catch-up factor that it demanded getting more funding in for programs that were under-funded or completely neglected. Valid point?

Jan Brewer:
Well, you know, I -- I -- [laughter] they were very generous these last six years in office. They started a lot of new programs. They had a huge wish list and they satisfied their wishes. And because of that, I believe we are now in debt. You know, you just can't do everything for everybody every minute of the day. Because then you end up in this kind of situation we're in and when you start doling out that money and basing it on high projection of revenue, and it comes in a - .3 or something, it doesn't work out and so I think It was very, very wishful thinking on their behalf and we Are left now with a bad situation that we're going to have to resolve, but we can do it. I believe that by -- my transition team and new staff that's going on the ninth floor with me, with much diligence we can go in there and right the ship and it is our responsibility and we will. And it won't happen in a year and probably not in two years, but by three years, we can be pretty clear sailing.

Ted Simons:
Can the ship be righted with the help of something like infrastructure spending around the state?

Jan Brewer:
That probably can help.

Ted Simons:
That's not necessarily off the table?

Jan Brewer:
No. And you know, I've said it and I'll say it again tonight. As I move into the position to govern the state of Arizona, everything is going to be on the table. We're going to analyze it. Tom Manos, my new chief of staff of budget and finance is fantastic. He's got a sharp pencil and we will go in there and look at every me and every t and find a way and work with the Legislature to cut or to produce, or whatever it is we need to do, to make this right.

Ted Simons:
Were you surprised at the reactions? Because the last time you said something like that and referenced taxes.

Jan Brewer:
Yeah.

Ted Simons:
There was quite the reaction that you would even think about such a thing.

Jan Brewer:
I was. That's not necessarily what I had said. That was the headline. What I said was everything was on the table. And rightly so. It doesn't mean I'm going to immediately raise taxes but I think everything ought to be on the table and we need to look at it diligently and if anybody looks at my history, they know I'm a fiscal conservative and I don't want to raise taxes. That's the last thing I want to do. There are other ways. You can't just pick and choose. You have to have everything there, bring it together and look at what can be reformed and what can be done better. Programs, there are programs that can be funded that are not working or really active. Every little dime is going to be turned over.

Ted Simons:
Is there a concern -- the idea of cuts in services, There's a line of reasoning, and some concern there, that in bad times, tough economic times, and I think we can agree we're in tough times here, that would be the last time to cut social services especially when people need them the most. Is that a valid argument?

Jan Brewer:
It is. [laughter] It is, because we know when times get bad, people need those Services. So when things are really bad --

Ted Simons:
But how do you --

Jan Brewer:
That's why you surround yourself and diligently work hard to try and find out exactly what that good balance is. And again, it will not be Governor Brewer, if you will, making a lot of flat decisions. I want to work with the Legislature. They're our policymakers and the by the constitution, charged with the responsibility of appropriating the dollars for the things needed. So you work with the leadership of the Democrats, and work with the leadership of the Republicans. They take it to their bodies and hopefully with working with me, that we'll be able to come up with a solution and get at least things on the move.

Ted Simons:
If what becomes on the move actually moves backward, let's say take the '06 budget, moving everything back to that level, can the prison system, can access, those sorts of things survive those kinds of cutbacks?

Jan Brewer:
I think the prison system and Access is probably not going to be harmed in major ways. We're not able do that. At this point in time, I can't stand here and tell you what we're going to do, because we're still working and still in transition. You know, but having been in the Legislature, I do understand there are certain things and services that have to be provided for and a lot of that is mandated. People want public safety. They want public safety. That's something that you and I can't do for ourselves.

Ted Simons:
Right, but it's something that we pay a certain amount for but if we can't afford it, what do we do?

Jan Brewer:
We're going to look at it and work for a solution. Work really hard for a solution.

Ted Simons:
The -- we had an education roundtable on "Horizon" a couple of nights ago and there were a lot of concerns for cuts. Let's start with the property tax. Is that something that you see as important to make permanent, the suspension of that tax, or is that a revenue source that needs to be on the table and considered?

Jan Brewer:
I'm not prepared at this time to make some proclamation that it's good or bad. Certainly, less taxes are better, but the bottom line is that at this point in time, in my transition, we just have to get everything together. We have to work at everything very tightly. It's just too early in the transition, but we'll be looking at everything.

Ted Simons:
And that includes things like all-day kindergarten and higher education and these things as well? Are you prepared for the bricks and bats that are going to head your way?

Jan Brewer:
I'm prepared. And we'll try and bring every -- You know, Ted, and I've met with a lot of people, the business community and education community and social services and people involved realize what we're about to embark upon. They know things are really bad out there and people have offered and you know I don't believe to go in and chop, chop, chop, chop. I think the people delivering those services on a daily basis ought to be able to come forward and tell us what it is that would best serve the people of Arizona with the less impact upon the subjects that they are serving. And I think if we can get that kind of working relationship and everybody is on the same page as far as solving these problems, we're going to be successful. And it's not going to be easy. It's going to be really, really hard. It's going to take us all working together and that's what I keep asking people. Help. And everybody's been very generous. Very generous.

Ted Simons:
You're not even in the Governor's chair yet.

Jan Brewer:
No, I'm not.

Ted Simons:
From where you sit compared to supervisors in the Legislature, can you already see the difference in that view as compared to those other vistas?

Jan Brewer:
Exactly, it's much different. When I first ran for the Legislature, I was elected by a district, one of 30 in the state of Arizona and so I was responsible to represent those people more or less in my district, because we get elected by those people and you're one of them. So you're more prone to listen to the people in your area. When you move to the Board of Supervisors I was one of Maricopa County and it was a larger area and you respond to those people. And as secretary of state, even, you know, and then it's a statewide race. Then you look a little broader at everything. It's not just what is good for Downtown Glendale. Is it good for people in Santa Cruz? And now as governor, everybody realizes, as you govern, it's not something that one or two people -- it's what is good for the whole state as a whole. People want to get you in a corner and what's good for one county might not be for another. You got to balance all of that out. It's got to be good for the whole state. It gives you a whole new perspective and it's important. And going back to Maricopa County, when I was elected to Maricopa County, one of the reasons I ran is that Maricopa County had been declared by "Governing Magazine" the worst county in the country as far as fiscal responsibility and management. And when I left, Maricopa County was awarded the award for the Best-Run County in the county and it was tough times. They were getting ready to borrow money to make payroll in Maricopa County. And we turned it around. And Tom Manos now is my chief of policy on budget and finance, so I've got a great team.

Ted Simons:
And kind of brought up the idea of looking at things from the governor's office as opposed to some other vantage points because the current governor has been accused of using executive orders too often. Is that a concern of yours or you can see that's a tool in the toolbox?

Jan Brewer:
I think executive orders are there for a lot of reasons but certainly you have to be very cautious how you utilize executive orders. Certain things I believe very strongly ought to go to the Legislature, the policymaking body of the state of Arizona. That's what they were elected to do and to arbitrarily come out and say one person is going to set policy for the whole state is quite powerful to say the least and I don't deny that it's a good tool to be able to have, but I certainly -- it cannot be abused.

Ted Simons:
We can't let you go without some ideas on the problem of Immigration. Illegal here in Arizona. Without getting too deeply into it. The employer's sanctions law. Is that a good law? We haven't had a single Prosecution yet.

Jan Brewer:
I don't know if it was intended for that. It's been reported back that it's had some effect and there's been less arrests and it hasn't really harmed the business community as far as losing employees. It's a terrible issue and something that needs to be Resolved but we need to lock down the borders and figure out how we're going to deem with illegal immigration. It is against the law.

Ted Simons:
Are you excited? I ask this question because we had the new legislative leadership in and I asked them and they didn't act excited. They acted concerned. I would be concerned, but I think I'd be excited too. Are you excited?

Jan Brewer:
People have asked me that and it's like, I'm looking forward to it. I don't know if that's that same Sense of excitement. Because I know what we're about to face and the problems we have to solve. I think there would have been a bit more excitement if I would have been elected by the populace of the state of Arizona and we had a lot of money and we could solve problems and make good policy. So it -- you know, but I'm happy. Excitement -- you know, bad times, it's a bad time for the people of Arizona. And I just hope that they know and that they trust that we'll go in there and work as hard as I know how and I'm not afraid of hard work to help to solve the problems in the state.

Ted Simons:
Last question: do you think the line of succession should be changed?

Jan Brewer:
I think that Arizona ought to debate in the legislature, whether they should send that to the people of Arizona to determine whether they need a Lieutenant Governor and determine how they want it set up. It's different in all states. I think it's something that should be debated.

Ted Simons:
That last defeat doesn't mean the argument is over?

Jan Brewer:
I don't think so.

Ted Simons:
Well, thank you so much for being here. We hope to have you back quite often.

Jan Brewer:
Thank you for that invitation and I look forward to it.

Ted Simons:
Thank you very much. Coming up on "Horizon" -- We talk to our current governor and future Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano about her six years at the helm of Arizona and her plans for her new job. That's Thursday at 7:00 on "Horizon." That's it for now. Thank you so much for joining us. I'm Ted Simons. Have a great evening.

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