Sedona AZ (August 17, 2012) - Republicans Bob Thorpe, Brenda Barton and Chester Crandell are vying for elected offices in Arizona Legislative District 6 but did not attend candidate forums at the Verde Valley Guidance Clinic or the League of Women Voters of the Verde Valley.
Chester Crandell’s Democratic opponent, Tom Chabin, wanted to know why.
“My dear friend, Chester Crandell, where the hell are you?” Chabin asked. “You should be here.”
Legislative District 6 is the newly realigned district that includes most of the Verde Valley-Sedona area, Flagstaff, Payson and Snowflake. Chabin faces Crandell in the Legislative District 6 state senate race.
At the Verde Valley forums, Democratic candidates weighed-in on an issue for voters, Medicaid. Arizona must decide this year whether it will accept $1.6 billion from the federal government to expand health care coverage for about 300,000 low-income residents who are currently uninsured.
Democrat Chabin said Arizona spends more than any other state on locking up criminals, $376 for every man, woman and child who lives here. He also says that many in prison are convicted on charges related to their abuse of drugs and alcohol so expanding Medicaid would get those convicts into treatment before they commit a crime, reducing the crime rate, and lowering the cost of prisons in Arizona.
Democrats Angela LeFevre and Doug Ballard, running against Republicans Bob Thorpe and Brenda Barton for the Arizona House of Representatives in District 6, also support the expansion of Medicaid using federal dollars.
“It’s the ethical thing to do, it’s the right thing to do,” LeFevre said. “It’s also the economical thing to do. When in crisis, uninsured people with mental and behavioral health problems end up in the emergency room, where treatment costs more. When doctors treat uninsured people in the emergency room, the hospital bill often goes unpaid. Hospitals make up the loss by increasing what they charge for services. That increase is passed on to health insurance companies, and ultimately, to the consumer, who is forced to pay higher insurance premiums.”
Ballard argued the expansion of Medicaid represents a necessary investment in the state’s infrastructure.
“Investment in healthcare, like investment in education, is necessary if Arizona expects to attract more jobs to the state,” said Ballard. ”When a company looks at relocating to another state, it looks at roads, bridges, schools and the healthcare system.”
And the issue of candidates not attending the Verde Valley league forum or the Guidance Clinic gathering?
Who attends forums and events and who does not may be a reasonable question with reasonable answers that differ from ”You should be here!”
Candidates representing various parties across the state cite conflicts with scheduling, party-centric organizers and audiences, polling numbers, distances and related expenses, and having already campaigned in the area or soon to be campaigning in an area as equally valid reasons for not attending forums and events.
A former Democratic campaign manager put it bluntly when asked about candidates not attending political forums and events, “It’s the reality of campaigning. A handful of attendees at an event or forum, often representatives of the very candidates appearing on the dais and or the die-hard party faithfuls, are never worth the time. Those people always vote and won’t vote for anybody else because their mind’s made up. If it doesn’t add to a candidate’s vote count, it’s theatre, not politics, and to get elected you need to remember what box you want sold, the orchestra or the ballot.”
Each of the above candidates has a web site outlining their political viewpoints and positions on issues: www.thorpeaz.com (Robert “Bob” Thorpe), www.electcrandell.com (Chester Crandell), www.barton4az.com (Brenda Barton), www.tomchabin.com (Tom Chabin), www.angela4arizona.us (Angela LeFevre), www.ballard4az.com (Doug Ballard).
Be an educated voter.