Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

September 23, 2010


Host: Ted Simons

Prop 111: Lieutenant Governor


  • A constitutional amendment that would rename the office of secretary of state as the office of attorney general and prescribe a new process for electing the Lt. Governor. Tom Simplot, representing Government for Arizona‚Äôs 2nd Century will speak in favor of the proposition; Joe Sigg of the Arizona Farm Bureau speaks in opposition.
Guests:
  • Tom Simplot - Government for Arizona 2nd Century
  • Joe Sigg - Arizona Farm Bureau
Category: Vote 2010

View Transcript
Ted Simons:
Tonight we continue "Horizon's" vote 2010 coverage with a look at proposition 111, which would rename the secretary of state's office to lieutenant governor and require candidates for the office to run on a single ticket with gubernatorial candidates of the same party. Here to talk about the measure is Phoenix city councilman Tom Simplot, representing the group Government for Arizona's Second Century. He is for the measure. Speaking against prop 111 is Joe Siggs of the Arizona Farm Bureau. Good to have you both here.

Joe Siggs:
Thank you.

Ted Simons:
Start with you, why is this necessary? Why does it make sense?

Tom Simplot:
For those who follow the process, they know this started with justice Sandra day O'Connor and the O'Connor project. That made Arizona better without making it bigger and this was one of the more popular notions and ideas. Primarily that Arizona is one of only five states throughout the country without a lieutenant governor position. The believer is that prop 111 will bring transparency to the voters so they know when they vote for that second in line, they will understand what the succession line is.

Ted Simons:
Does this make Arizona government better?

Joe Siggs:
I agree with Tom, that if -- the time has come and we agree with the idea of having a lieutenant governor. It's this particular vehicle and the language of prop 111 is that we have an issue with.

Ted Simons:
What's the issue?

Joe Siggs:
Three, primarily. One, you're forcing people to run as a team who might not necessarily be a team. It may be a team that's pitching horseshoes and handgrenades and we think that deserves a second thought. Number two, one of our issues is it would be that this changes the secretary of state, lieutenant governor,that is the chief elections officer. The lieutenant governor is subserving to the governor and now you have a governor looking over the shoulder, if you will, of the chief elections officer and it's a question of keeping separation of powers. The third issue we have is the language of prop 111 enshrines in the constitution, a discussion of mechanics of primary and party. And it's very specific. Independence -- independents have neither primary nor party and as we read proposition 111, this would exclude independents from running for those offices.

Ted Simons:
Last concern first. The problem of independents, trying to find a ticket to run on?

Tom Simplot:
Absolutely from our perspective, a non-starter and the reason is this. This language is actually based on language found in Utah when they converted their office to lieutenant governor. The constitution is silent when it comes to independents running. This proposition focuses on article 5 section 1 of the constitution which talks about how you're elected to the office. Prop 111 talks about if you choose to run on a party ticket, you shall run as a ticket with the gubernatorial candidate after the election. It's silent when this comes to those who want to run as independent candidates. So it's up to the legislature to define that.

Ted Simons:
So basically what you're saying is right now, it's a work in progress?

Tom Simplot:
Not a work in progress. It really, from our perspective, simply follows the historic trend or historic policy of how we've operated here in Arizona. For example, in the Arizona constitution today, there are only two duties delegated to the secretary of state, and it's exactly what prop 111 would do as well.

Ted Simons:
That response, is that good enough for you?

Joe Siggs:
Obviously not. I think your term, work in progress, is a good way to put this. I think this needs to be thought out better. Again, we're all in favor of the idea of having a lieutenant governor, but when we're putting language in the constitution that proscribes this "shall," deals with the issue of party and deals with the issue of primaries of which independents have none, I don't see that the legislature can fix that issue. As I see it, if this where to pass it, would take another vote to allow for that process of independents to be included. So we -- we think that that's a real problem.

Ted Simons:
Your second concerns with that the elections chief would be aligned with the executive. I understand that aspect and I want to get your response to that, but the idea of it seems the underlying idea is to have someone who is at least familiar with the governor's platform so if it's -- there's a transition, it's not a shakeup.

Joe Siggs:
Sure, but there are other molds. We don't need to make the lieutenant governor the chief elections officer.

Ted Simons:
What do you think about that.

Tom Simplot:
Arizona in its short history has five secretaries of state elevate to the governor's position. Two of those changed parties mid stream, which is a huge shakeup philosophically.

Ted Simons:
Does it make sense to have the chief elections officer that closely aligned with the executive?

Tom Simplot:
Well, I guess we have to look at what we have today and that's an elected -- a partisan elected official, a secretary of state who oversees many of the elections and I'll point out that our county elections sisters are also elected. It's not whether they're elected or partisan, it's whether they're qualified and doing the job write.

Ted Simons:
Should there be a lieutenant governor's office which acts pretty much like the vice president does in Washington?


Tom Simplot:
Well, it was the decision of the O'Connor project through this process this would be the most efficient and fair and transparent way to make it happen and that was how it evolved.

Ted Simons:
Efficient, fair and transparent?

Joe Siggs:
Perhaps. But I think we need to also consider this idea of separation of powers. Because these people do run whether they're election officer, secretary of state, they are partisan, and in most cases, but they are running for that office and have a responsibility and a fiduciary interest in taking charge of that office. In this case, now you have a lieutenant governor who has a subserves and to the governor and I think we've diluted that process. So having a lieutenant governor is a more transparent way to go and we agree, but we think here's other models that would work better.

Tom Simplot:
Can I point out an issue? The governor and lieutenant governor may or may not be closely aligned. That will fall out during the primary process because you don't run as a ticket in the primary process, it's dependent on which candidates come out of the primary.

Ted Simons:
I know it was tried once before to have the primary included and that was voted down soundly. But would it make better since if the idea of transparent and continuity are the goal.

Tom Simplot:
I think the goal of the O'Connor project was to bring as much transparency and efficiency to this process in order to encourage people to run -- let me rephrase that. There was never an incentive or a purpose or a reason to discourage people to run. This still encourages people to run for those offices in a primary. If you're expected to run on a ticket in a primary, that may limit or discourage people from running for the office.

Ted Simons:
We have a system that a lot of people aren't happy for. And you'd like to see it changed. This is one way to change it. Is it better to leave the system the way it is or give this a try?

Joe Siggs:
Well, I think it's better to have a more well-thought out process. It makes a comment about -- for the "The Arizona Republic," in his three decades, this is the worst thought-out proposition that he's encountered. I think it deserves honorable mention, not the worst one, but if we're going to make the change, think it through and make the change, because I think we can get everyone on the same page that way.

Ted Simons:
We've got to stop it there. Thanks for joining us.

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