Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

November 5, 2008


Host: Ted Simons

Governor Napolitano

  |   Video
  • The day after Election Day, Governor Janet Napolitano discusses the results and what they mean for Arizona.
Guests:
  • Janet Napolitano - Arizona Governor
Category: Governor Visit

View Transcript
Ted Simons
>> Tonight on Horizon, it was a bad night for John McCain, and a good night for Barack Obama. Governor Janet Napolitano, who was named to Obama's transition team today, will be here to talk about the election on the national and state levels. That's all coming up next on Horizon.

Announcer
>> Horizon is made possible by contributions from the friends of eight, members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

Ted Simons
>> Welcome to Horizon. I’m Ted Simons. Yesterday was definitely a historic election. We had the first African-American to be elected to the White House. In Arizona, history repeated itself as another Arizonan, John McCain, failed to make it to the white house. In Congress, Democrats gained ground, but they lost some territory in the Arizona legislature.

Ted Simons
>> The presidential race the big story at the Biltmore last night. David Majure reports.

Announcer
>> We're going to keep you up-to-date. We're going to have fun.

David Majure
>> McCain-Palin election night party started on a positive note. With the local entertainment playing to an international audience.

Fanny Facsar
>> A public television station like PBS.

David Majure
>> Reporters from all over the world crowded the Arizona built more's Frank Lloyd Wright ballroom to cough cover this historic election.

Fanny Fascar
>> Part of this excitement is of course Barack Obama and the chance that a black person can become actually a president and how will the United States change. Foreign policy, concerning domestic policies.

Announcer
>> Oklahoma and Tennessee for John McCain.

David Majure
>> McCain supporters came dressed for success.

Supporter
>> This is made out of plastic yard bags and duct tape.

David Majure
>> And early returns offered a reason for optimism.

Supporter
>> I feel good.


Hank Williams Jr.
>> McCain-Palin coming over tonight.

David Majure
>> Hank Williams Jr. Kept the crowd fired up. But by the time Arizona senator Jon Kyl took the stage.

Jon Kyl
>> This is a tough race. This has always been a tough race.

David Majure
>> Senator Barack Obama was taking control of the election.

John McCain
>> I don't know what more we could have done to try to win this election. I’ll leave that to others to determine. Every candidate makes mistakes, and I’m sure I made my share of them. But I won't spend a moment of the future regretting what might have been. This campaign was and will remain the great honor of my life.

Rep. Jeff Flake
>> He performed better than Republicans as a brand by far.

David Majure
>> Arizona Congressman Jeff Flake says it's time for Republicans to rebuild.

Rep. Jeff Flake
>> Frankly, it's just sometimes easier to get yourselves together get back to first principles when you've been beaten so badly. But we're facing some pretty steep majorities on the other side so that will be difficult. I think the Democrats will overreach, and that will be our opportunity to explain where we're different. And if we really are chastened and repentant of some of the things we've done in terms of spending in particular, then we'll be all right.

Ted Simons
>> Arizona Democrats whooped it up last night at the Wyndham hotel in downtown phoenix. And they had plenty to celebrate with Obama's win. But on the state level, Arizona, arguably, grew more consecutive. Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez reports.

Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez
>> As the hours passed and states began reporting their results, Arizona Democrats, after celebration headquarters in downtown phoenix, felt victory would soon be theirs.

Rep. Phil Lopes
>> Is this night ours? [cheers]

Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez
>> Throughout the night, Democrats were glue today two large screens hoping those key states would bring in the numbers they had been hoping for. And they did. Results were coming in from Virginia, Iowa, and then there was next. [cheers] As results of local races were reported, the celebration continued. Paul Newman and Sandra Kennedy, two of the Democratic candidates on the so called solar team, won seats on the Arizona corporation commission. The last time a Democrat served on the corporation commission was in 1999.
But it did not happen. Local Democrats lost two seats in the house and one in the senate. That means Republicans are still in control of the Arizona legislature. Democrats also lost their bid for the Maricopa County Attorney post. But that did not stop Tim Nelson, the Democratic candidate, from feeling victorious.

Tim Nelson
>> -- by my elation over the election of President Barack Obama.

Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez
>> Although there were losses for the Democrats in Arizona, all of them say the Democratic party came out on top because their presidential candidate, Barack Obama, won the biggest race of them all, the bid for the presidency.

Ted Simons
>> Just today it was announced that Governor Janet Napolitano was named to Barack Obama's transition team. Joining us now is Governor Napolitano. Thank you for joining us. Good to see you again.

Janet Napolitano
>> Thank you.

Ted Simons
>> Big night last night.

Janet Napolitano
>> It was. Exciting, interesting, dramatic, all the things that go with elections.

Ted Simons
>> Before we get more into what happened last night, transition team. You were named to the team. What does that mean? What will it do?

Janet Napolitano
>> The team will be supervising the transition. Obviously there are a variety of things that need to be reviewed, looked at. And it will be done in conjunction with the white house to make sure there's a seamless a transition as possible from one administration to the next.

Ted Simons
>> How often do you think you're going to meet, and where?

Janet Napolitano
>> Well, we've already had some meetings. And it will vary. I think we'll be doing a lot by phone and video conference, among other things. Senator Obama will spend the transition in Chicago.

Ted Simons
>> Okay. Is this one of the deals where your advice is needed to go through stacks and stacks of telephone-book-sized documents?

Janet Napolitano
>> Well, I won't be doing that so much as looking I think at some broader issues and making sure in particular that governors' interests and people who have been working for governors around the country these last eight years are taken fully into consideration.

Ted Simons
>> Has the Obama team, such as it is, or anyone from the Obama camp, are they starting to contact you about a possible cabinet post?

Janet Napolitano
>> You know, I've just decided we're not -- I’m just not answering those questions. Because Senator Obama now should be given some space in order to make his own appointments.

Ted Simons
>> Would you like to see some kind of timetable just in general as far as these decisions are concerned?

Janet Napolitano
>> It's interesting when you look historically at how different transitions have occurred. By and large, it's usually into December before you see the first wave of appointments. Senator Obama may want to accelerate that for some appointments just because of the circumstances in which our country is in: the failing economy, the wars and so forth. You know, knowing Senator Obama and knowing his style, he will want to proceed with all deliberate speed.

Ted Simons
>> As far as you're concerned, the makeup of the state legislature, I know that Democrats were hoping to get maybe a toe hold on the House there, some kind of control. It doesn't look like that's going to happen. Does that play into your decision should there be a decision to go back to Washington?

Janet Napolitano
>> Well, again, I don't like to speculate. And I’ll work with whatever legislature we have. And I’ll work with Democrats, I’ll work with Republicans as long as they're willing to work with me and come to the table and meet me halfway. And I've had a Republican legislature both houses six years now. So it's not exactly a new dynamic. We were hoping that we would get one of the Houses, particularly the House of Representatives. This time it didn't happen. And so be it. We're pretty much left where we were last fall.

Ted Simons
>> Last question. I understand your reticence to talk about this. And you've steadfastly refused to speculate on these sorts of things. But you can understand why so many people, especially Democrats but a lot of Republicans as well, are very interested in what you're going to do.

Janet Napolitano
>> Well, I can appreciate that and understand it. But I think people also understand that at this point in time, Senator Obama needs the space in order to make some of these decisions for himself. And so I will work on the transition and work on getting ready for the next legislative session.

Ted Simons
>> As far as the results, what surprised you most last night?

Janet Napolitano
>> Nationally, it came in about where I thought it would come in. I thought it was a very thorough east to west, north to south win by senator Obama and by Democrats generally. Locally, I was very pleased with the corporation commission. I think now, with the vote counts that came in today, I think we actually took all three of those spots on the corporation commission with the so-called solar team. And in past years that was just considered a lay down spot for any Republican who wanted that office. So for the corporation commission to go Democratic statewide, I think portends good things for 2010.

Ted Simons
>>Let's stay on that. How does that dynamic change on the corporation commission, what has been done that will change? And what would you like to see changed?

Janet Napolitano
>> You know, I don't know. I know that I was very afraid that we would get a corporation commission that would try to reverse all the progress made on requiring the use of renewable energy sources. Arizona needs to be at the forefront of this. We need to be pushing a solar and other renewable energy agenda. So much of that is under the jurisdiction of the corporation commission. As they always reminded me last year whenever I tried to reference renewable energy, now I think they'll have the commissioners really to be if anything more aggressive here.

Ted Simons
>> Back to the national, the presidential election here, what does an Obama presidency mean to Arizona?

Janet Napolitano
>> Well, I think number one, I think he'll be a good partner with states. He understands that states have budgets that are in downfall. He understands the importance of Medicaid funding and infrastructure investment, that that helps keep people from becoming uninsured during a downturn and infrastructure investment creates jobs in a downturn. And part of that comes from his own experience in the Illinois State Legislature. So I think we'll have a good partner there.

Ted Simons
>> As far as -- obviously you're a Democrat. You want to see Democrats in control of as much as possible. In control of the White House and in control of the Senate, in control of the House. Are there some concerns there that certain groups are going to be a little more headstrong than others and maybe what we see in Obama we're not going to get as far as a national policy is concerned? Are you concerned with one party running all three?

Janet Napolitano
>> Well, I think the issues are so huge right now that the key focus needs to be the economy. What do we need to do to get things stabilized so that we can begin to rebuild. And that's going to require stimulus at the state level, it may require more bailouts at the industrial level. For example, I think that car manufacturers are going to be coming in. And that's going to take members of both parties. This can't just be Democrats. Democrats and Republicans both have to go to Washington, D.C. with the attitude now we've got some big problems and we all need to address them.

Ted Simons
>> You did a lot of campaigning for the president-elect. You were out there a lot of different places. What was the most important issue that you either heard from people regarding or that you saw yourself?



Janet Napolitano
>> Well, I think the two things that I addressed most frequently on the trail were the economy -- which really particularly after the middle of September, the end of September was such a dominant issue, it just swallowed up everything -- and then people wanted to know more about Senator Obama. Because even after 18-month of campaigning, for some he still was somewhat of an enigma. So to be able to lay out his policies and what are the things that he wanted to bring to the White House was an important function.

Ted Simons
>> Something that I've heard a lot today in news reports, especially from those -- actually only from those who voted for Senator McCain -- they're scared. In a variety of ways they say they're scared, they're worried. They don't trust Obama. All these sorts of things. What can you say to them to reassure them that an Obama presidency is not going to be something that's going to tear this country apart?

Janet Napolitano
>> Well, I’m sorry that they're saying that. Because even when that was mentioned at a Republican rally, Senator McCain said there's no need to be scared of Barack Obama. He's a fine man. We differ on policies, but he's a fine man and will be a fine leader. So they can take it from Senator McCain himself. Think of some of the other people that have spoken out in favor of Barack Obama the last few weeks. Colin Powell, Warren Buffett to name but two. Those are folks who have, you know, they have no skin in the game in the sense of having to go out and endorse a presidential candidate. But they did because of their overall evaluation of his intellect and his judgment.

Ted Simons
>> Where do you think that fear comes from?

Janet Napolitano
>> I don't know. I suspect, you know, there was so much by way of kind of the underground media, the blogs and the this is and the that is. The significant number of people who for example still think Obama is a Muslim when he couldn't be more clear that he's a Christian. So there was a lot of misinformation out there. And that's going to make a fascinating study after this election is said and done. Because there was all this media coverage. The question is how much real information actually was imparted to voters.

Ted Simons
>> Last question on Obama. The pressure really is on now. Expectations are high. The country is in trouble. It's time to deliver.

Janet Napolitano
>> It is. And I think he's very aware of that. And I think you could tell that from his remarks last night. He didn't come out and whoopee do, we won, do that sort of a speech. He came out in all seriousness and recognized the contribution that Senator McCain has made, recognized that there were people out there who didn't vote for him and then said, look, I’m going to need your help. These are big problems. And it's going to take awhile to get things fixed.

Ted Simons
>> Arizona's Congressional delegation now 5-3 in favor of Democrats. What does that mean for Arizona?


Janet Napolitano
>> Oh, what a transition. I remember when I was elected attorney years ago we only had six members of Congress then. It was five Republicans and one Democrat. Only a few years ago we were I think 2-6 and 4-4, now 5 Democrats, three Republicans. I think that actually more than the state legislature shows the political trend of the state.

Ted Simons
>> Which is?

Janet Napolitano
>> Which is more moderate and more Democratic overall.

Ted Simons
>> Is that demographics? Is that ideology? A little bit of both?

Janet Napolitano
>> I think a little bit of both. And I think the difference between the two sets, say why are the Congressional districts moving Democratic and the state legislature seemed mired in kind of the Republican right. And I think part of that is just the size of the districts and the types of elections that those are. These legislative districts by and large are decided in the primaries.

Ted Simons
>> Are you surprised, though, that there was not a better push by Democrats especially in the House, state House?

Janet Napolitano
>> You know, there is a great push. I don't know what more the Democrats could have done to get -- recruit candidates, get them out there, have a well-funded campaigns. But in the end when you look at kind of the makeup of the 30 legislative districts, becoming more and more clear that these things are decided in primaries. And then there were two other factors: one of course is McCain carried the state by the 9 points. And that had some effect, I think, further down the ballot. And I think the gay marriage initiative, 102, which had many millions of dollars in support of it, I think that had some effect on turnout and the votes at the legislative level too.

Ted Simons
>> I was going to say could you see that on some of the votes? I want to get to propositions right now. Could you see that maybe an effect on some of the other races as well be that Congressional, corporation commission, whatever? Was that that big of a draw?

Janet Napolitano
>> I think it may have affected, for example, may have had some impact on the county attorney's race, it may have had some impact on some of the other races. But county attorney and the state leg districts were the ones most visible last night.

Ted Simons
>> The propositions. I know you came out against the medical choice and I believe the pay day -- I think you spoke out against the pay day loans.

Janet Napolitano
>> I did. That went down.
\
Ted Simons
>> Why did you focus on those two?

Janet Napolitano
>> And majority rules, the 105 I also was against.

Ted Simons
>> Which also lost.

Janet Napolitano
>> Yes. And medical choice was losing, although it's close enough that I’m not sure that anyone has conceded yet. Medical choice I thought -- I disagree with the principle of it. But even if I'd agreed with it, it was badly drafted. So it would have had a bad impact -- could have had a bad impact on access and cost Arizona taxpayers up to $1 billion a year. Majority rules was mislabeled. It would have said that anyone who didn't show up at the polls could count as a no vote, which really vitiate the initiative process. And then the pay day loans, millions of dollars put into a campaign to make it look like it was consumer friendly. But the whole campaign was paid for by the industry. I think fascinating and important that Arizona voters saw through that.

Ted Simons
>> Does the initiative process need to be changed? We talked in the past regarding the signature gathering process and how that seemed deeply flawed this go around. Does the whole ball of wax need to take a second look?

Janet Napolitano
>>I think there are several issues that come to mind. The signature gathering we have talked about. Titling. The notion that for example the 105 was named majority rules because the proponents got to pick the title. And in fact you end up campaigning against a wrong title. That needs to be looked at as well.

Ted Simons
>> Okay. We've got to get to the budget. And the latest information on the budget. It just seems like the deficit keeps growing. Tax collections still down, revenues still off as far as you can tell.

Janet Napolitano
>> Right.

Ted Simons
>> What's being done?

Janet Napolitano
>> Well, I will meet with legislative leadership tomorrow. JLBC SPB, have at least gone on one piece of paper everything they agreed on. They have a few differences. So we can begin on working on a fix for the '09 budget in preparation for '10. And then that discussion obviously will concern procedure and whether there's interest in the legislature coming back now before the holidays or whether they would rather hold off on it. We're going to have to have a special session. So the only issue is, is it now early or is it in January.

Ted Simons
>> Is it something you'd rather see early?


Janet Napolitano
>> Yeah. I’m going to listen to the leadership first. They've had their own leadership meetings today. We'll see what happens. But I can argue it either way.

Ted Simons
>> CPS, k-12 education, veterans benefits, health, these sorts of things, are they still off the table as far as you're concerned?

Janet Napolitano
>> By and large. K-12 classroom spending, so very important. And I think if our state can get through this very, very serious budget shortfall and protect k-12 spending and certain areas like veterans and C.P.S., that's going to be a significant achievement.

Ted Simons
>> Are there plans -- the $50,000 freeze, is that still on as far as contracts are concerned?

Janet Napolitano
>> That is on.

Ted Simons
>> And that's on until further notice?

Janet Napolitano
>> Until further notice.

Ted Simons
>> Cuts, agency cuts, spending cuts?

Janet Napolitano
>> M-hmm.

Ted Simons
>> Those on the table?

Janet Napolitano
>> Well, not only that, but we have been holding back on agency spending so that we don't end up in march or may, you know, all of a sudden now saying, now we have an agreement you've got to cut this much. Obviously we've been restricting spending from the beginning of the fiscal year so that when it comes time for the legislature to meet their hands won't be tied.

Ted Simons
>> There's been talk of tobacco tax, tobacco settlement money I should is a say, is that a possibility?

Janet Napolitano
>> It is. Not one of our better ones. I think a better one is to take the unallocated portion of new lottery revenues and securitize part of that. So there are some of those things on. There's a whole host of options I’m pilling to take up with the legislature. We've got to do a combination of things. We're going to have to do more cuts, we're going to have to do more fund sweeps, we're going to have to deplete the rainy day fund and then we're going have to use other options that we wouldn't unless there were serious circumstances. We have serious circumstances.
Ted Simons
>> Federal money, a stimulus package. Where is that now and how much could Arizona benefit?

Janet Napolitano
>> Hard to say, in part because the Congress is now in flux. And it may be that the Congressional leadership wants to hold off on a big stimulus package until Obama is in office. Because right now president bush is saying, no big stimulus package unless you also give me the Columbia free trade agreement. A lot of the Democrats don't want that. So there's a lot of that going on back in Washington, D.C. but I anticipate, given the size of state shortfalls and how widespread it is and how state budgets really cover the basics of government, education, prisons, health care, that there will be a significant stimulus. And it could be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Ted Simons
>> And again with an Obama president circumstances that is something you think he might take a closer or better look at than the past administration?

Janet Napolitano
>> Well, the past administration and of course senator McCain said he wanted to freeze all federal spending. So that went against that he would actually do another large stimulus, particularly one that was geared to working with states so that states can work with people.

Ted Simons
>> Okay. Last question: lasting image, lasting momentary you'll take from last night.

Janet Napolitano
>> So many. And over the last weeks and months, campaign around Arizona and around the country. You know, I think the pictures of the lines and lines all over the country of people waiting to vote, and just seeing that interest, that sense of public investment by so many people in this election. That was a dynamic that I haven't experienced in my adult lifetime. And it was wonderful to see.

Ted Simons
>> All right. Governor, thank you so much for joining us.

Janet Napolitano
>> You bet.

Ted Simons
>> Tomorrow on Horizon we continue to take a look at election results. Some races still too close to call. We'll hear from political analysts from both sides of the aisle. That's Thursday at 7:00 on Horizon. That is it for now. I’m Ted Simons. Thank you so much for joining us. You have a great evening.

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